Decluttering as a way of life
Decluttering has been part of my life for as long as I remember.
My friends tell me my home always feels calm and clear.
When I was a school-teacher, my assistants always said the same thing.
It’s true that I can’t stand mess, and I’m good at tidying up as I go along.
But, when life gets busy, I tend to pile things into cupboards and drawers so there’s an external sense of order.
After a while it gets to a point when things start to overflow, or I can’t find things easily, and that’s when I know that I need to declutter.
If I’ve let it get really bad, I can feel quite overwhelmed just at the prospect of starting.
But, I try to embrace the process and also to clean as I go along. That way I can see and feel the difference quite quickly, and that inspires me to do more.
I also remind myself how I’ll feel when I’m done.
Reasons I love to de-clutter
- It’s easier to get dressed in the morning when I have fewer clothes to choose from.
- It’s more enjoyable to cook when my kitchen cupboards are orderly.
- I feel lighter when I let go of things I feel guilty about.
- It clears my mind.
- I can find things more easily.
- I re-discover all the things I really want to keep because they bring me joy.
The best two de-cluttering books I’ve read
I’ve read so many books on de-cluttering, I’ve lost count.
Some are better than others though, and my two favourites are:
- Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston
This is a classic book with chapters on the philosophy behind space-clearing, as well as practical ways to do it. Karen explains how clutter blocks the flow of energy, which is why it’s important not to try to hide clutter. She says one of the worst places to hide clutter is under the bed.
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo
This book has modernised de-cluttering. Marie gives a specific order in which to do it, based on her extensive experience as a consultant. She also talks about the importance of your relationship with your belongings, and giving objects space and time to ‘rest’ when they are not in use.
I’m on an on-going process to simplify my life, and the quote I always come back to is from William Morris:
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
This is a challenge I try to live by.
I’m often asked for advice on de-cluttering.
Some people find it easier than others, that’s for sure.
My top tip is to start small, and I like the advice from Marie Kondo, which is to start with clothes and then go onto books.
Some people find it really hard to let go of clothes or books though, and if that’s you, then don’t start there, pick something that feels a bit easier.
Maybe just a drawer or a cupboard.
The easy way to de-clutter
- Choose a space to de-clutter.
- Empty it entirely.
- Pile everything up (in a different room, if possible)
- Pick up each thing, one by one, and move it to one of three piles: Keep, Go, Fix.
- There is no ‘maybe pile’. (If you really can’t decide, then keep it.)
- Process all the items.
- Clean the space.
- Put things back.
How to take de-cluttering a step further
One other tip I have is to learn about the ‘Bagua’ or the ‘energy map’ of your home. One good place to read up about this is at karenkingston.com.
If you have a particular area of your life where you feel stuck, this can be very helpful.
Decluttering can also be a step on your journey to a clearer, brighter version of yourself.