We live in a modest, 3 bedroom home with a combined lounge and dining room and a tight kitchen. We have plans to renovate to extend the space we have but they are far off yet. With Eco Dad aka Mr Bower Bird constantly bringing home âstuffâ that creates more clutter, our once comfortable home has become more of a hoarders paradise.
I have been doing a lot of research and work lately on simplifying. I was listening to an audio book today called âThe Simple Guide to a Minimalist Lifeâ written byLeo Babauta of www.ZenHabits.net.
It was very interesting and although some of it was a little harsh for me, so soon into this simple life of mine, much of it resonated a lot.
I thought to myself as I was listening and crocheting away 'Letâs start with de-cluttering!'
It is said to start with one, single flat space (like one shelf, inside one cupboard, a piece of floor or a table top) that you wish to de-clutter and focus entirely on that.
Being the Type A over-achiever that I am, one space wasnât enough so I chose an entire room.
I took a moment, whilst sitting on my couch listening to the audio book to work out which room I could easily de-clutter without too much hassle or to many difficult decisions.
For me, it was my kitchen.
Step 2: Clear out and pile up
Start by removing everything from that space and place it into a pile. For me, conducting this session in an entire room I just went cupboard by cupboard pulling everything out and placing it on the floor in the centre of the kitchen.
People make de-cluttering harder than it needs to be â well, as least my husband does!
My decisions are made in under 5 seconds. Thatâs the rule â I have 5 seconds to decide and if I havenât decided, it goes.
If its special to me, I will know straight away. If I need it and use it, Iâll know straight away. If I donât really need it, Iâll hesitate and try to find ways to make believe that I need it. That pause and hesitation is my cue that the item needs to go.
During the process, to keep things moving along quickly, I ask myself two simple questions:
1. Have I used this at all in the past 6 months?
2. Do I really need this item?
If I havenât used it in 6 months but am hesitating I ask myself the second question. For seasonal items like ski equipment, I ask myself that question for 12 months instead of 6 months.
Items that are sentimental but useless have their photograph taken. I store the photographs online in a âPersonalâ folder so that I can refer to them when I need to remember someone or something. It works just the same and there arenât âthingsâ taking up precious space in my home or in my head.
The thing about de-cluttering is that so much stuff just gets throw into the garbage. Its easier than having to distribute things properly. The purpose of this however is not to add to landfill. Its to simplify your home life and help others at the same time.
The purpose of de-cluttering for me, is to remove the wastage from my home, in the items I am not using anymore, enabling them to be used (and thus, no longer wasted) in anotherâs home.
Something sitting in your home gathering dust is BEING WASTED. Take our old coffee machine â it hasnât been used in over 6 months. I donât drink coffee, by husband never used it and its gathered dust that whole time. Bought to be used, it no longer fulfilling that purpose and is slowing rotting on my counter top.
Giving it away to another person who WILL use it means it is no longer wasting away in my home, only to end up as landfill.
So, divide everything into 4 piles:
1. Gifts â Things you can gift or give to other people that they would appreciate
2. Charity â Items that are usable but you can not give away can be given to charities providing opportunity for those businesses to make more money, offer more support to others.
3. Sell / Feecycle / GumTree â Items that are still useful, have some worth and you have the time to sell can be placed on any of these websites to generate a profit. You may also consider a garage sale instead for a little pocket money.
4. Junk â This pile will need to be sorted properly for things that are recyclable (strip out all plastics for example) or things that can be used for crafts or upcycling then handed down the line.
Once you have decided what has to go and what will stay you can then start to put everything back after wiping down your surfaces. Place all items away where they belong and leave spaces in between.
Leaving spaces in between items on a shelf helps ensure you donât fill the entire area again with more clutter but is also more visually appealing to the eye. The white spaces between items relaxes the mind as it doesnât have to scan so furiously trying to find what itâs looking for.
What have you de-cluttered recently? How did it go for you?
Love and clutter-free-loveliness,
The Eco Mum xo
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