I would have loved it if the title read ‘walk your way to a clutter free 2019’, but I would be misleading you. De-cluttering requires mental and physical work.
As living beings, we acquire stuff as we move along in life making it easy to accumulate ‘things’ that we do not necessarily need. The secret is to know what to hold on to and what to get rid of.
Clutter has been found to be more than just having too much stuff, it is a personality issue.
There are several clutter personalities. It is possible, and normal, that one person can exhibit more than one of these personas. Good news is that means there can be more than one intervention to help with the decluttering process.
The sentimentalist- This type is emotionally attached to things and have a hard time giving anything away. They keep all gifts from friends and family, travel momentos among others.
The bargain shopper- ‘You cannot believe how much I got it for!’ is their mantra. But they often do not need whatever it is that they bought.
The hoarder- ‘What if I will need it someday and I have given it away?’ Hoarders always have the fear of needing something they gave away, despite them not having used it for years.
The procrastinator – ‘I will clear this clutter later’. But later never comes and the clutter keeps piling.
The perfectionist – It’s all or nothing for the perfectionist. They must always do the very best in any project. So decluttering will wait until they can do it perfectly.
The blocker – ‘Clutter? What clutter?’ They are very good at keeping the public spaces in their homes neat and tidy, but there is that one room or two that is crammed with stuff. They prefer to block it off so they don’t have to see it and deal with it.
Do any of these personalities strike a chord? Well, don’t panic, clutter is here to stay but there are ways to make decluttering feature in your to do list, or if you like, a way of life.
- Write a list of what it is you want to clear. The list should be arranged room by room. This will be your marking scheme through the process. It always feels good to tick boxes on achievements.
- Set aside time. You should not attempt to declutter when you are in a hurry. You’re likely to dump everything back in because time ran out. Decluttering is systematic, you need to be fully engaged and finish a specific task before moving on to another, otherwise, little will get done and the cycle will repeat itself.
- Move room by room, space by space or category by category. This will depend on how much stuff you have and how big the spaces are. For example, in the bed room, there is the closet- here you can work on clothes first then move on to shoes and handbags. You get the drift?
De-cluttering can seem like a very daunting task. Fear not, by breaking it down to small bits, you will be able to make progress.
- Have four boxes. The four boxes will each serve a purpose and should preferably be labelled. Carton one, things to throw away. Carton two, things to keep. Carton three, things to donate. Carton four, things to relook at. The fourth carton is the trickiest, if not careful, the things in this carton are likely to find their way back in the room. This box should have a deadline for when it should be sorted into either to throw away, keep or donate. Dealing with it will require brutal honesty with oneself.
- Have a disposal plan. You may be surprised by the amount of stuff you have to get rid of. It is important to have a disposal plan or you risk all the junk getting back into the corners they were in. Target the day the garbage truck is coming around to dispose the ‘throw away’ box. If you have space, you could burn them.
The ‘to donate’ box needs a new home. There are many charity homes that will consider your things treasure, you can donate to your church, take them to your rural area and people there will appreciate.
The ‘to relook’ at box should have been done by the time disposal plan is in place.
- Establish a clutter free guideline. After decluttering, I can guarantee you will feel like a load has been lifted off your shoulders; you will be able to clean and organise your house faster; you will be able to find things easily. These are some of the benefits of decluttering and it wouldn’t it be nice to maintain these benefits? Having a guideline is a good place to start. Some of the guidelines you can adopt include;
- Making decluttering a frequent activity. Every three months perhaps? It will take much less time and require less effort when done often.
- When you buy something new, get rid of something old.
- Life is not about collecting things. It is about collecting experiences.
- Always remember less is more.