Support, guidance & advice for todays primary carers
Is your home, your car and even your wallet filled with too much stuff? Do you ever ask yourself how on earth you acquired so many things? Well, here are ideas for you to reclaim your space and start to live an easier life.
Simply explained, clutter is anything we have that does not bring us joy or does not add value to our lives. By decluttering, we free ourselves of things that don’t matter to those that do.
According to Donna Smallin, author of Clear the Clutter, the clutter in your physical surroundings also has the ability to clutter your mind and spirit.
“Clutter can distract you, weigh you down, and invite chaos into your life. Clutter causes stress, and clutter is one of the main barriers to productivity. Clutter is anything that does not support a better you, even if it’s organized.”
Ways to Tackle the Tasks on Your Own
1. Establish realistic timelines and goals.
As the old saying goes: “Plan your work and work your plan”. To feel a sense of accomplishment and progress quickly, try decluttering for 15 minutes each morning for seven consecutive days.
Evaluate and, if you can, keep this pace or increase the time spent to 30 minutes a day. Experts suggest that the key to making progress is tied to making decisions about your priorities.
If you keep yourself focused on your chosen key tasks, you’ll get the job done faster and more efficiently and begin to relish your work, becoming increasingly Donate or Recycle more successful.
2. Tackle one area or one room at a time.
“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” This same mindset should be used when attempting to declutter. It took time to acquire these items, so it will likely take time to sort, properly reorganize, and toss.
Decide what area or room will have your full attention until you are happy with the final result. Start small, perhaps with a drawer or a shelf. If you work on too many areas at the same time, your sense of purpose and success will be much lessened.
3. Purge duplicates.
Have you ever asked yourself why you have three potato peelers, ten spatulas and way too many flower vases?
Perhaps it is because you could not find them easily or you simply forgot where you put them. As you sort through a room, make a pile of similar items.
Then decide which ones you like the best and donate the rest to charities.
4. Create a sorting system that suits you.
Some people like the system of creating five categories:
1. Put Away
Using this method, you can more easily decide which items are useful, useless or meaningful. Others like the sorting system that puts all similar objects together. Think about a pile of frying pans, all your pairs of pants or all the red tops.
Once the items are all grouped together, you can see clearly which are in the best shape, which is worn out, worth saving or simply not important to you any more.
The real key to developing a strategy is to think about what will help you move forward and what will work for you and your lifestyle.
5. Free up surfaces.
Furniture surfaces and countertops are catch-all magnets. Keeping them clear and clean is a big step forward. Ideally, they should house items you use every day: cutting board, toaster, kettle or TV remote.
By removing as much as possible from these surfaces, you show yourself (and the world) that everything is in order and has a rightful place in your home.
Think about what will help you move forward
Start small, perhaps with a drawer or shelf.
What to Do to Make More Space
1. Make your storage spaces beautiful and very practical.
Gone are the days when we stored our items in cardboard boxes and rusty tins. Now there is a wide variety of storage containers that are not only pretty but practical. Some complement décor or offer see-through storage bins with labels.
Others are made of cloth, plastic and woven materials. You can choose to look for similar items and pack them all together.
For example, cleaning products, winter coats and sports equipment can be put into easy-to-find zones. Seeing items together can also stop you from buying more of the same thing.
Looking at each space with a creative eye is wise. How could hooks, door-mounted shoe racks or hanging jewellery bags be used for a variety of purposes?
If you think outside of the box, your storage solutions can be functional, fun and more fabulous than you expected.
2. Ask for fresh eyes.
Letting go of items can be hard, so ask for help from family or trusted friends. What do they see? What is their first impression of your home and your rambling life?
When decluttering becomes overwhelming, or you are pressed by a deadline, think about hiring a professional organizer or downsizing expert.
Guaranteed, if you can afford it, working with a professional will be less painful than tackling everything on your own.
3. Become a frequent tosser, often.
Clutter often happens without us noticing it and without our approval. Suddenly things often get messy again. Accept that decluttering will never end, and it will always be a constant battle to keep clutter to a minimum.
Know that even after you have organized a room or area, it will get cluttered again. Pick bad weather days to tackle small areas as “mini-decluttering” opportunities.
4. Are they family heirlooms or not?
What can you do with those special keepsakes or family heirlooms that have been given to you but don’t really fit your style and plans right now? How do you decide what to not keep—guilt free!
• How does the item make you feel? Do you expect to feel the same one year from now?
• Does it make you smile, give you a sense of connection or bring you valued peace?
• Do you have the space to store it?
• Would a family member, friend or charity want it or be able to use it?
• Would it be worth selling to help solve one of your financial issues?
• Would the person who gave it to you be pleased that it will find a purpose in a new home?
If you decide to keep an item, find creative and fun ways to display it or store it properly. Try showcasing old war medals or a travel destination spoon collection in a wall-mounted memory box.
Digitally store and share old photos. Wedding dresses and religious outfits such as baptism dresses should be dry cleaned and stored in either moth balls or cedar chests.
No matter what you decide to do, these special items usually require extra thought and consideration as you decide if you’re still willing to dust, clean and sort them year after year.
Donate good stuff you don’t want to needy charities.
5. It sometimes takes two.
Decluttering can be lonely, boring and slow going. Inject fun by taking before and after pictures and sharing them on social media. For further motivation, find a buddy who is doing the same thing in their own home.
Decide whether morning, afternoons or evenings are best for each of you and Zoom while you work. Share sorting tips and then celebrate online when the day’s job is done. Remember, try to have a little fun on your clutter-clearing journey.
Be patient with yourself and others during the process, and keep your eye on the end goal – a bit more space and a whole lot more freedom. Not only is decluttering liberating in so many ways, it gives you back control and permission to explore, create new memories and enjoy new life experiences. ACG
Getting rid of things that are no longer of value honours who we are today by reflecting our current interests, habits and lifestyles. It also:
• Brings us a sense of accomplishment and control.
• Gives us space for things we value.
• Saves us the stress, time and frustration of looking for things.
• Allows us to see what we already have so we don’t waste money buying more of the same.
• Confirms which items can bring us joy and are worth for us to keep.
• Makes our homes safer and healthier places to live.
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