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Decluttering Made Easy
Over the years it can be easy to collect a lot of "stuff" and sooner or later we reach a stage where we realise that having more often means more work. In our often hectic lives, the last thing we want to come home to is cleaning and caring for things that we no longer need. This is the moment you know it's time to simplify and declutter.
Some of the items that contribute most to clutter are:
- Books, CDs, records & DVDs
- Crockery and cutlery
- Baking items
- Figurines and decor
- Photo frames
- Storage containers and Tupperware
The first step to break the ice is to pull it all out (each section at a time), and analyse it. Ask yourself:
- What is it used for?
- How often would you use this item?
- Does it have sentimental value?
-Could you manage without it?
If you don't use it all the time, it has no sentimental value and you don't really need it, then it's time to consider your next options. Options that someone else might use it or it can be used for something else. We want to reduce our contribution to landfill if we can find an alternative.Option 1: Re-gift: clean up the item, mend it if needed and give it to a friend or relative as a gift.
Option 2: Donate: give the item to a charity shop to help those in need.Option 3: Re-use: re-invent the item into something that you can use everyday, for example if it's a pair of, two sizes too small jeans, you could remake them into a strong and sturdy, large grocery bag.
Option 4: Store it: if the items are things like baby toys, these items could be stored away ready for when you have grandchildren or your friends or relatives have children of their own. It could save you money on buying gifts later.Option 5: Sell it: some items can be of great enough value that you could make a bit of extra cash. If you have a few items, you might find you could make quite a nice profit. Consider places such as Ebay, Gumtree or even hosting your own garage sale. Who knows you might earn enough to buy that beautiful storage cupboard you've been needing.
Sometimes there is no choice for items but to go into the trash, however where possible try and recycle to cut down on contributions to landfill. Maybe even set the challenge to only fill one garbage bag per room.Now you have the concept, you are going to needs some boxes, storage containers, garbage and old shopping bags. Designate an area for each option. E.g. garbage bags for items to throw away, plastic containers for storage, boxes for sale items and reusables, and shopping bags for give aways.
Start with one room at a time, it'll seem less daunting and chaotic if you work slowly focusing all your attention on one thing at a time. No matter if you have a large mansion or a small granny flat everything will seem a lot easier if you focus on one step at a time.
Rhonda Hetzel in her marvelous book and guide on how to live simply, "Down to Earth" explains how it is important to, "resistthetemptationtocleanasyougo.Leavethingstidybutsaveyourcleaningandorganisingforanotherday."(Hetzel.Rhonda,2012).This allows all your attention to be focused on the removal of unwanted goods, once that's done you are left with a blank canvas ready to start creating afresh your home to how you want each space to be.
If you find yourself struggling, don't move onto another room, have a break from decluttering. Maybe hang out some washing or do some baking, coming back to it later when your fresh. Moving on will only leave the problem behind and amass to a bigger problem when you come across more roadblocks.
Don't overdo it. Allocate a room per day, if you work full time perhaps allow a weekend per room. This prevents mind blocks and the feeling of being overwhelmed. It also gives you the time to really think every item through before deciding on its fate.
Before you know it you'll have preempted gifts, cash in hand and a soothing feeling of weight being lifted off your shoulders. With all your excess goods taken care of, you can choose how you want your home to be like. Just be mindful when shopping, in future, to consider whether each item you buy you really need or will it just contribute to clutter. This could save you a revisit to the declutter process sooner than necessary. The freedom is your's to start afresh. Happy decluttering!
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