My January 2012 intention was to cleanse and de-clutter my life. When I talk about ‘life’ in this context, I mean the spiritual, social, mental and the physical aspects of my home and life.
Here are a few of my tips so far .. gleaned from my experiences and friends.
- Make a plan. Set a day each week when you will do something towards your de-clutter process. I made time on each weekend for sorting and cleaning out some of the old and redundant.
- Stay focused. Start with one area at a time until that is completed, then move on to another. This could be just one drawer in one room of the house. It could also be an area that you know you have not paid any attention to for a long time. The cupboard in the laundry or under the sink. For me it was just one box (of stuff from under the bed) at a time.
- Try the Yes? No? Maybe? approach. This can be especially useful when sorting out clothing. Everything belongs in one of the three categories. (a) Yes I do wear this, will keep this and will wear this again. (b) No, I can’t remember when I wore this last, I do not need this and won’t wear this again. (c) Maybe I will keep this, not sure if I will wear it again, I still like this and I have fond memories of wearing this in the past. After you have sorted all the clothing in three piles, put the ‘yes’ items back into the wardrobe. The ‘no’ items go out to Charity. Whereas the ‘maybe’ items go into a large plastic bag or box that you put away for a six weeks, (or a season). If you need anything from the maybe bag you know where to find them. If you don’t need them in the next six weeks, it is much easier to send them all off to Charity or Trash. I took the ‘No’ items to Charity on that weekend.
- Be gentle with yourself. Some of us gather more clutter than others so whether you are a hoarder of many years or have just collected a few things you now realised you don’t need there is no helpful reason to punish yourself for collecting clutter. I decided to be my best friend during the process and praise when progress was achieved.
- Act now. When you have decided you don’t need something (clothing, appliance, furniture or an old belief) remove it from your life then and there. If it is a physical item, it can be as simple as placing the item in the trash. However, if it is a social or spiritual aspect you might need to do something symbolic that helps you to say goodbye to that belief / experience. I lit a candle on one occasion. On another day I opened most of the windows and said out aloud; “Goodbye to stuff and nonsense” (not sure what the neighbours thought).
- Bella’s idea. Get together with some friends and have a ‘swap day’. Take along your old clothes and put them in a pile so everyone can help themselves. Nothing is wasted and any items left over are given to charity. “When something has special value to you, it’s nice to give new life to it through someone you know – somehow it makes it easier to let go”.
- Be creative. Find a way to use or put on display the things you have that you love. Don’t hide the beautiful away for another day, make today a beautiful day right now.
- Something in /something out. Each time now I bring something new and useful into my life and home I imagine what negative unhelpful clutter I am letting go out the other door.
- Sort as you go. How many times do we ‘handle’ our paperwork? I find that paperwork can pile up very quickly if not dealt with appropriately, it then just adds to the clutter in my life. When mail comes in I used to open and read then set it aside to deal with at a later stage. Receipts, bills, catalogues and general advertising material then gathered like dust without any order and important papers and letters have been lost in that process in the past. I find this is relevant for electronic as well as paper mail. I am now more strategic about when I ‘read’ my mail so that I can action it immediately and file appropriately for ease of access later.
- Keep positive. Think about what you consider to be bright and beautiful. When removing something from my life in the last month I was also thinking of what positive aspect I was making room for.
The de-cluttering process continues for me and each weekend I work on clearing and cleaning an area of my house. In the process hopefully there is a rippling effect on my emotional well-being and I create a clearer mind. I now stop to think when I buy (or plan to buy) something new or being something new into the house and consider what I am willing to let go of / say goodbye to. In addition do I really ‘need’ this new and extra thing more than what I already have?
Be strategic about what you are prepared to take with you as you move towards a clearer more holistically healthy life experience and attitude.
“You can’t make footprints in the sands of time if you’re sitting on your butt. And who wants to make buttprints in the sands of time?”
~ Bob Moawad