Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Decluttering... home and mind

Actually, for me, decluttering the home makes my brain feel a lot less cluttered too. Not that you would always know it to look at my desk, but I can get overwhelmed with objects. If there's too much stuff around, my brain gets agitated.

My desk can be a veritable sea of stuff sometimes, but I seem fairly blind to that! But too much stuff in the rest of the house unsettles me. It's why when people ask me what I want for Christmas or birthday, I usually say "nothing - please give a donation to charity instead". I have more things than I need and there are too many people in the world who don't have enough. In fact, Christmas in general makes me feel ill - so many people buying so much stuff that the recipients rarely want or need. The waste appals me. Please, just give the money to charity.

Last weekend, I had a major clear out of clothes. I'm trying very hard to reduce the amount of plastic we buy (see my post here about the plastic in tea-bags) and the thought of the thousands of microfibres being washed out of any non-biodegradable clothing fills me with horror. So, I cleared out clothes which had polyester in and sent them for recycling. I also cleared out non-synthetic clothes I didn't need and gave those to charity.

Of course, it's not perfect - I don't know if the recycling centre will do anything sensible with the clothes that will ultimately reduce the plastic pollution, but options are fairly limited here.

I still need to declutter the house, though beyond a mass of stationery, there's not much to be tackled, to be honest. The stationery - well, that's another matter but it will get tackled at some point.

With clear spaces and clean lines, my head will be calmer. But, like almost everyone I know, actually making a start on decluttering can be a major step in itself for me. If you're like that, try one of my tips on how to tackle it:

1. Just do a bit! Seriously, most people can't contemplate decluttering for a whole day, or even an hour, so just grab a bag or a box and clear stuff for 10 minutes.

2. Do just one drawer of clothes. Take them out, check each item still deserves drawer space, re-fold and put back in the ones that deserve space. Recycle or donate (or sell) anything you don't love, doesn't fit or you haven't worn in more than a year. Just doing one drawer makes it a small enough task that it's not completely off-putting.

3. In the same vein, if you're decluttering your clothes, do one type of clothing at a time - sweaters/t-shirts/dresses/trousers/skirts etc. For me, getting rid of almost all of the pairs of tights I'd accumulated when I was working (and wore dresses and skirts on a near-daily basis, as opposed to now, when I don't) cleared a heap of space.

4. Try to remove one item from a room each time you pass through it - something that you need to throw away, or that can be given away (or sold). Pick one room a day and see how much you can clear in tiny chunks like this.

5. If you have items that you want to keep but which need attention (shirt with a missing button; shoes that need cleaning etc), don't leave them. Mend/clean/fix them that day, otherwise they'll never get done!

6. Buy less stuff! Because the more stuff you have, the more clutter there will be and a year down the line you'll be staring at an overcrowded room with despair, wondering where to start. If you think you want to buy something (non-essential) don't buy it immediately. Put it on a list and see if you still want it in a fortnight. Or a month. Chances are you won't.

What top decluttering tips do you have? And do you feel calmer in a clear house too?

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