It’s that time of year again. The days are getting longer, the weather is warming…hopefully…and we start to think about spring cleaning our homes.
But what if we only had to spring clean once and no more? What if all we had to do was give our surfaces, desktops and counters a wipe over once a week? What if we don’t have to rotate our autumn/winter, spring/summer wardrobes?
Before we can do this we need to remove any surplus, anything that doesn’t add value to our lives. Clothes we haven’t worn and still have the tags on, trinkets we bought on a whim because they were pretty or our favourite colour, gifts we received that have been shoved in drawers or wardrobes and left untouched.
There are many methods for decluttering and organising your items, your home and your life. Here is a round-up of some of them.
The KonMarie Method
For me, the original and the most famous, Marie Kondo’s “Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” (it even got parodied on The Simpsons, for heaven’s sake!). I read an excerpt in a magazine and downloaded the ebook. Her basic principle for deciding whether to keep something is simple: “Does it spark joy?”
Vague, yes, but you know when you hold something in your hand whether you love it enough to allow it to play a further role in your life. Her book also overcomes the barriers we have and excuses for holding onto unwanted gifts and sentimental items. The expression of gift-giving is in the actual giving of the gift. Are those old sentimental items still part of who we want to be today?
It’s drastic, it’s time consuming, sometimes when you are sat in the middle of a bomb-site of clothes, books, DVDs or mementos you wonder why you bothered in the first place; but once all the excess is gone, your floor is clear, you can sit on the settee without moving cushions, remotes and toys first, it will be worth it! Discard first, organise later.
The 100 Thing Challenge
Started by Dave Bruno in an attempt to see if he could live with less than 100 items. Although his list does not include shared family furniture or individual books, it is a good place to start. Certain things can be grouped together like books or hobby gear.
When I first did this I had 100 items but there were still a lot of other things still in the house that I didn’t include. As time passes, I have crossed off a lot of pieces of clothing that I no longer have or love. Now I have plenty spaces for other key wardrobe pieces that I really do need (like a warm pair of thick black tights!).
Courtney Carver’s Project 333
Courtney began her blog bemorewithless.com after being diagnosed with MS. By decluttering not just her possessions but her social and business appointments, she has been able to manage her diagnosis and lead a healthy, happy lifestyle.
Her wardrobe consists of 33 items that are rotated every three months, hence the Project 333. Steve Jobs and Barack Obama both had small wardrobes to remove the decision making process, and she found that by only keeping her most favourite and versatile pieces of clothing she always had something to wear that she felt good and looked good wearing.
Things like underwear and pyjamas do not count in the 33 items and nor do workout wear or work uniform as long as they are only worn for their purpose. You yourself do not have to choose 33 items, it could be 35, 37 or 29 depending on your wardrobe!
If I had to…
- Move across the country tomorrow for the job opportunity of a lifetime…
- Travel across Europe for three months with only a backpack *that I can actually carry!*…
- Rent and live in a box room in someone’s house for a year…
what would I take with me?
One of Everything
One wardrobe - can I fit all my clothing into one wardrobe?
One chest of drawers - do I really need as many sets of pyjamas as I have daytime clothes?
One bookcase - what are my favourite books? What other items do I love enough to display?
One plate - which one do I use every day?
One bowl - one that serves both as a cereal bowl and pasta bowl.
One cup - my favourite colour, the one with the funny cats or the inspirational quote one?
Hobbies - can I get rid of all the excess gadgets and toys for photography, knitting, hiking, drawing, cooking etc and reduce it back to its basic components? A camera, a hook and yarn, comfy shoes, paper and pencil, pot, pan and a knife.
Clearly this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to tidying, decluttering and minimising your possessions. Some may think it limiting, but it is not about having sparse furniture or decorations, it is about only keeping what you truly love and need. Others may feel happier when surrounded by all their stuff and that’s fine.
What if we throw something out and then need it later? Unless you live in the Arctic tundra or the Australian outback, can you get hold of another one within 20 minutes or 20 miles of your home?
Do not fall into the trap of heading to IKEA or Dunelm Mill and stocking up on lots of boxes to organise your things until you have first removed anything you no longer want to keep. Discard first, then organise with the boxes and dividers that you already own.
If you need to buy more stuff to organise your stuff, you probably have too much stuff!
What tips do you have for decluttering your home and your life? Comment below, I always love picking up new ideas!
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