In today’s world of consumerism, it can be difficult to say no to ‘stuff.’ It clutters up our living spaces, leaves us weighed down, uninspired, or eats into our time as we move it from room to room.
One of the most important benefits of decluttering is getting rid of the emotional baggage that stuff causes.
Guilt that you haven’t worn that new dress yet, stress that you can’t find the damn thing, or confusion about whether it even suits you… we can all do without this drama.
When you focus on quality, not quantity, and learn to appreciate what you have, less can become more and you’ll soon feel a whole lot better.
Try following the 10 tips below, and de-clutter your life including your home and your mind.
1. Shop only with a list.
You don’t need that bargain top you just walked past in Kmart. Put it back. Stick to the plan. You’ll probably hate it next week anyway.
2. Say ‘no’ from the outset to well-meaning friends and family.
If your mum wants to give you her “interesting” magazines, it’s much easier to say no before they’re taking up space on your coffee table.
3. Grab a box and pop in any items of clothes you haven’t worn in the past six months.
If you haven’t touched the box in another six months, then ship it off to the op shop. Bye bye!
4. Use different levels in your cupboards.
There’s nothing worse than a shelf full of stuff when you can’t see what’s lurking at the back. Why not pop in a rack and next time you make dinner, you might use that packet of split peas you bought last year.
5. Identify two problem areas of clutter in your household and work to fix them.
In my house, we have an issue with too much children’s artwork. My solution? I put the art into one box, and then – once a month – I ask the children to choose their favorites. These get filed in my “special” picture file, then the rest gets thrown away. Voila
6. Go paper free.
Sign up for electronic bills and pop a junk mail sticker on your letterbox. It’s liberating.
7. Christmas and birthdays for children often produce more toys than they can play with.
Ask for experiences instead — tickets or yearly passes.
8. Use the 4-box method.
Gather three boxes and a large bin bag for rubbish. Label the boxes, ‘Put away’, ‘Give away/sell,’ and ‘Storage.’ Once you filled the boxes, take 10 minutes to empty contents to their rightful places. The items you’ve decided to give away should be stored in the boot of the car for drop off. You can use this method to clear one drawer, or if you’re feeling particularly gung-ho, apply it to your whole house.
9. Use op-shops or sites like Gumtree and Freecycle to re-home unwanted household items.
It’s good karma to recycle. Plus, it’s good for the environment too.
10. As for that family heirloom, sitting in a drawer collecting dust?
Sell it! Wheeeee!
11. Alternatively, if you don’t feel comfortable upsetting the family apple cart, then re-purpose it.
Sand down and re-paint that old dresser; turn silverware into drawer handles; attach old brooches onto hair clips. Even an old wedding dress can be turned into something useful like a quilt. Well, only if you can sew.
Less stuff to deal with is always beneficial to the mind. And maybe now you can concentrate on the more important things in life.