My last blog covered the topic of starting to get to grips with the clutter that may have accumulated over some time in your home. The process of decluttering doesn’t need to be a stressful one but it does require some discipline.
Today I’d like to look at the bit that most of us find difficult when it comes to deciding what should stay and what should go. Letting go of the things we no longer need to keep. How do we decide what should stay and what should go? After all, we don’t generally come from a place of buying and storing things we think we don’t need. Often the items that create the clutter are indeed things we have because we need or want to keep them around.
Whilst this is all true there is also a matter of flow. As a general rule as new things enter our homes other things should be leaving. Broken toys, clothing we no longer wear, paperwork we no longer need to keep. The problem comes when things keep entering our homes but nothing leaves. Sometimes its because we don’t have the time. Other times it’s simply and unwillingness to let go of things that no longer serve us. This is the stage where things begin to pile up around us and we may start to feel overwhelmed by our surroundings.
So what’s the answer? Well, we have to be decisive about what will stay and what has to go. There are a couple of ways to do this. The first way is to look at that value of items versus its purpose. Is the item valuable in monetary or sentimental terms? If it is of high value in either of these areas does the item serve a purpose? Children’s artwork is obviously of high sentimental value but is there a purpose in keeping them all? Perhaps you have a few favourites, which can be framed or put on the fridge.
Those that you don’t keep can be put in the recycling or if you really must keep more than a few, invest in a storage box to keep the best ones.
Those designer shoes you’ve had a for a few years are obviously valuable but if you are unlikely to wear them because you no longer wear heels or they are no longer in fashion, do they really serve you taking up valuable wardrobe space? Perhaps the money you would get from selling them would be of more use at this time.
The second acid test is the 6-12 month rule I previously mentioned. Stylists use this a rule of thumb when it comes to helping clients decide which clothes to keep and which should go the charity shop. It’s said that roughly only 30% of clothing in our wardrobes are actually worn on a regular basis. Quite a shocking fact when you realise that 70% of your clothing isn’t even considered when lamenting we have nothing to wear!
Bearing this in mind, the 6-12 month rule is a good one for deciding what to keep. Generally if an item hasn’t been used in the past 6-12 months, there is a god chance it won’t be used for another 6-12 months, in which case it needs to go. Case in point, the designer shoes. With footwear and clothing being seasonal and following trends, unless items are timeless classics, the likelihood of them being worn after a period of 12 months is slim. This would be a good place to start with a clear out.
If you make the decision that something has to stay, the rule is that is has to have a home. If it doesn’t have a home it becomes clutter.
Remember, understanding and believing that decluttering doesn’t have to be a huge task is half the battle. As with anything in life, it’s a journey. You can start small and go from there. Perhaps you could start with a drawer or your wardrobe this weekend. Maybe you could start sorting the paperwork you’ve accumulated over the past few weeks.
There’s no need to feel daunted. You can take it one step at a time until these changes in your lifestyle become habit and you are completely clutter free.
Start your journey today – achieve confidence, balance and joy.
For a comprehensive, interactive step-by-step guide to de-cluttering, visit my online shop where you can purchase my popular and highly effective self-study guide, De-cluttering: Clear Your Space, Clear Your Mind. This essential guide combines effective techniques, tips and tasks that will help you take control of your clutter both in your home and mind.
It will help you prepare to de-clutter, clear out the old, dispose of unwanted items and organise your ideal space and also help you to establish effective systems and best practices to help you maintain a clutter-free home.
Within the guide, each room of your home has its own help section, examples and notepad so you can capture your de-cluttering tasks in on handy workbook. This all-in-one self-study guide enables you to prepare for, create and maintain a peaceful, calm environment in which you and your whole family can relax and enjoy quality time together.