When I finally moved my son’s bulky toddler bed out from a two and a half year long co sleeping setup, the instant I saw my bedroom returned to its originally designed state something hit me. Well, to be honest a terrible gut-wrenching pang hit me that I could no longer watch/hear my son sleeping right by me, but there was also an emerging buzz that everything could now be put in its place… I could now declutter!
The sight of my newly cleared bedroom harked the return of my frenzied declutter bug (it had scuttled off right when my son was born; perhaps it didn’t like the smell of dirty nappies and sour breastmilk, anyhow I digress). I’d always liked ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’, even when I was a kid, but this awakening had me like a woman possessed. There was not one square meter left of my house that wasn’t purged of something, or lots of things, and organised down to its very core. If you too are in need of A Kickstart to Decluttering, here’s how I began:
Declutter Just One Area at a Time
I didn’t whizz through whole rooms in a general surface sweep kinda way, because it wasn’t a top show tidy-up that I was after, nope not at all. This wasn’t just about creating some clear surfaces, or finding better toy storage. I wanted to systematically work through detail by detail with one mantra in mind: Simplify to Run Smoothly.
In every area, big or small, I’d start by questioning: “What could I do here that would make our lives just a bit easier?” I’ll take you through the specifics on each area of the house in my upcoming series of articles on decluttering and home organisation. If you’re all hyped to get started on making this type of change in your own life right now, read my quick guide Mastering Home Organisation: 3 Steps To Creating Task Zones.
Donate, Sell, Offer
I created multiple sacks full of items ready for donation to charity, family and friends. Donating can help you let go of things more easily, as it creates a feel-good factor over the uncertainty; why keep unused items lying around your home when other people could be benefitting from them? A bit of good karma is great for everyone.
At this point I want to say that we should never consume on the idea that items can be passed on when we’re done with them. Due to cheap materials and our world of excess, much of what is taken to charity shops ends up in landfill. We must all become mindful of what we bring into our lives in the first place, choosing quality and longevity over fads and fast fashion.
With that in mind, try to donate your belongings to individuals or specific organisations wherever possible. Websites like freecycle are a great way to pass items on to people who actually want and need them, rather than just bouncing off another stepping stone en route to the dump. You can also offer stuff for free on facebook marketplace if you just want to move them on. I’ve done this with furniture that needed a little fixing up; it wouldn’t have sold easily in its condition, but multiple people were excited about upcycling it.
Speaking of things not best placed at the charity shop, I also made myself a pile of things to sell that could not be donated (electrical spares etc) and I put a strict deadline on that sell pile. The ‘strict’ deadline came and went, twice, so I offered these up to a more eBay active family member to profit from. This way I regained space quickly without causing landfill, and I’m happy that someone else got to make a few quid.
The entire decluttering process was hugely cathartic. Since then I’m constantly on the look out for areas of the home that can be purged and improved with better organisation.
You don’t have to take on a whole house at once as I did–trust me I understand how overwhelming that sounds if it’s not in your natural make up. Start in just one room, or one area of a room, or one shelf. Once you see the outcome, and live the benefits of a decluttered zone, you’ll soon want to repeat the process again and again but you can take it at your own pace.
The trick of creating a more minimalist home is simply to start from where you are. Don’t worry about how much you have in front of you, just deal with the now. You’ll probably come across some items from old times that transport you momentarily to your past, or a relatives past. These can be the road blocks that make us want to give up decluttering, or even not to start at all. If sentimental items are what’s preventing you from living a simpler life, read my guide Sentimental Decluttering, Let It Go
By decluttering our house, our lives and routines are decluttered too. The house feels as though it can breathe again. Tasks become simpler. There’s no more hunting around when everything is where it needs to be and nothing obstructs the path.