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10 Tips To Clear That Clutter

Feeling the benefits: Thoughts from a reader who wants to spread the good news on Clutter and Decluttering

Clutter is something that I am fascinated by. I see it everywhere I go and all I want to do is tidy and sort and declutter mine and other people’s clutter.... BUT pushing something to the back of the wardrobe or under that stairs or banishing it to the attic or the shed is not strictly decluttering.... it is merely tidying something away and not really dealing with it.... prolonging the agony as it were.... postponing the decision making around the particular item..... Do I need it? Do I use it? Is the item taking my time, energy and valuable storage space (physical, mental and emotional storage)? Would I feel better about my clutter situation if I got rid of the item completely?

Some of us are natural declutterers.... some of us have to make a real effort to consciously declutter and some of us seldom or never declutter. I think I fall into the middle category.

It’s tough.... in this world we live in... It’s tough to find the time to declutter and it’s tough to make a decision to throw out something that is not used or worn out and may come in handy at some stage in the future. That said, it is even tougher having a monkey on your back called “Clutter” that you face daily and each time to see it you think..... Holy Cow, I need to get rid of some of this stuff and put some order on it.

We do not need all the things we are surrounded by – that is the bottom line.

What is Clutter?

So you decide something has to be done about the clutter situation.... Ask yourself what exactly is clutter? This is my definition: - Anything we don’t need, want, or use that takes our time, energy or space, and destroys our serenity.

For example it can be clothes that are worn or don’t fit anymore, obsolete papers, kids toys that are no longer used, unopened gifts, unsatisfactory relationships.... the list is endless. Clutter seems to have a life of its own and tends to multiply without any effort.

Sometimes we are selective about our clutter in some areas of home or work, but not in others. Objects may be strewn about or rammed into drawers; neatly stacked or stowed away in the attic or in storage. It is all clutter.... even if it is stacked neatly in boxes. I have my daughter’s cute pink baby clothes in the attic from age 0 to 2 years, neat and tidy and labelled in storage containers. I wonder sometimes if this is taking up valuable physical, mental and emotional storage space in my life. The jury is out on this for now but at some stage in my life I know I need to tackle these cute clutter demons.

The point is, clutter does not have to be a disorganised MESS to be clutter.

How does clutter make us feel?

You may feel overwhelmed and controlled by it. You may have resigned yourself to believing that you are doomed to be one of those people who remain hopelessly disorganised. No matter how a person deals with clutter, it can be a source of pain. In some cases it can mean that we stop inviting friends to visit as the clutter situation has spiralled and it is causing too much anxiety to deal with the clutter and visitors at the same time.

Despite this pain, most of us fear throwing things out. We think we might need it, fix it, or wear it again. We don’t want to be wasteful or ungrateful. Knowing what to keep and what to discard becomes a huge decision and so we end up keeping it all.

Decluttering is not just about eliminating, but about gradually transforming our space so that we surround ourselves only with things that express our purpose. Although we cling to our clutter, what we really yearn for is order, simplicity, serenity, balance in life and harmonious relationships. Decluttering is like therapy without the therapist.... you are your own therapist! It offers many holistic and practical benefits helping us to cut ties with the past, accept the present and create space for the future.

So....you are about to embark on your decluttering project. Here are some tips to help you on your way and to assist you reach your milestones and end target:-

Time for change: - 10 tips

  1. Establish what clutter is to you. One man's trash is another man's treasure. As a rule, everything you own should be in some way life-enhancing.

  2. Be aware of how possessions affect your emotions. Your space is too precious to hold onto anything that makes you feel bad.

  3. Start small where there's little attachment. It's easier to get rid of old newspapers and socks than those sentimental items.

  4. Be systematic and patient. Don't expect to be clutter-free overnight. Stick with it and you'll see progress.

  5. Accept the pain is for future gain. Although decluttering can be challenging you will reap the rewards in many ways.

  6. Make it a family habit. Decluttering works best when everyone is on board, it can also be a fun exercise for the kids and will teach them invaluable life lessons.

  7. Aim for 'happy, not perfect'. A home won’t always be entirely clutter-free.

  8. Do your bit for the environment by reusing and recycling unwanted objects.

  9. Lessen guilt by donating to charity. You can't change the fact that you've spent the money. It's healthy and positive to let someone else enjoy the items.

  10. Listen to your gut and be honest with yourself. If in doubt, throw it out.

And some tips on things to AVOID:-

  • Don't buy storage boxes until you decide what to store in them. Empty storage boxes mean more clutter!

  • Don't plan on decluttering your whole house in one day. It will drive you insane and your house will still be cluttered making you even more disillusioned.

  • Don't fall into the trap of moving clutter from one room to another.

If you find yourself STUCK:-

Ask for help; if the task seems insurmountable, ask a friend or family member to help you get started and come up with a plan – once you are on the road you will be amazed at how productive you will become at decluttering.

And don’t forget that this process can be LUCRATIVE: - items can be sold on eBay, DoneDeal, Adverts.ie, Gumtree etc. Even those items that are not resalable can be recycled on the fantastic Freetradeireland website.

Remember your trash is another’s treasure.

In the past month I have managed to pass on a high chair, a hairdryer, a coffee maker, a desk and lamp and 2 sofas using the Freetradeireland website without very much effort on my part and at no cost to me. All items were picked up from my home by some very eager beavers keen to recycle my trash into their treasure. Honestly, it can be very easy and extremely rewarding when you put your mind to it. Advertise the items, the phone will start ringing almost immediately, arrange collection and sit back and relax safe in the knowledge that these items will be used in another person’s home. Guilt is lessened and extra space is reclaimed to enjoy and appreciate!

And remember not to be too hard on yourself! This can be a fun and rewarding challenge.

Best of luck! And thanks for reading!

#behaviour #habits #mindfulness

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