Look around your home now. No matter where you are sitting, just take a look.
Now try and find 1 item that you forgot was there, is broken or you haven’t used in a long time.
Go on. Take a glance.
Did you find one?
I bet you did and i bet it didn’t take you long to find it!
If you did, you are not alone. The majority of UK households have an excess of ‘stuff’ that has accumulated over the years, causing the owners to feel overwhelmed with the storage, cleaning and general upkeep in their homes.
Most people continue to live like this as they don’t know where to start or feel as though they don’t have the time.
Trust me when i say by doing little and often, your time and your sanity will return! I felt the same but made small steps towards a new life.
Here are some practical tips on the approach and mindset to have to begin your journey of living with less.
1. Don’t run before you can walk!
Take it slow.
Decluttering your whole home seems a very daunting task. This is why you need to break it down into manageable chunks, not only to manage your time but to allow yourself to adjust to the change. Start with the cupboard under the stairs or even the cutlery drawer!
Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist recommends starting with your car, which is exactly where I began. The relief of driving around without toys, empty raisin packets and sports cups rattling around was great! Even though the impact is small, the benefit gets your motivation sparked to move on to the next task.
In the early stages I would recommend to stay away from anything difficult, such as heirlooms, childhood memories, photos etc.
Start slow, start easy.
2. Don’t double up!
When I sorted through my cutlery drawer I found 9 pairs of scissors.
I will repeat – 9 pairs of scissors!
Who needs that many?? I am sure not even a seamstress or avid crafter has as many in their possession!
Trust me there is no need to have duplicates of most things. As a mother to two young kids, I like to have duplicates when it comes to bedding for example, as you always need a backup up in the event of a bed wetting incident, but in the majority of cases I removed them.
Pick the best of the bunch and get rid of the others. This is another easy place to start!
3. Use the 5 pile strategy
When you begin sorting, use a pile system:
I love this item! It has purpose and/or gives me joy. Get back where you came from!
I no longer use this item or it no longer fits its purpose but it is still in good condition. I will donate this to goodwill or someone who will put it to good use.
I no longer use this item or it no longer fits its purpose but it is still in good condition and is worth some money! I will sell this item on Gumtree/Ebay or local selling pages on Facebook and put my money towards something more worthwhile.
I no longer use this item or it no longer fits its purpose and it is not in good condition. I will throw this into the bin or recycle it.
Now where is the fifth I hear you ask?
Well, depending on the day, you can either be quite ruthless and eliminate lots of items or you can feel incredibly attached to things. My first piece of advice is to not declutter on the days you are feeling the latter…..
When you start reminiscing and creating stories in your mind abut the day you bought the half ripped roll of wrapping paper for your nieces christening – you know you need to put it down and start again!
What I would advise is that if you start to feel dubious about getting rid of something or you have pangs of guilt about putting it in your ‘throw’ pile – put it into a reserve pile.
You can then store these items in a box that you can come back to and re-evaluate. You will find that 9/10 times you will have forgotten you had even put it in the box and you will wonder why you did! This makes it much easier to part with things as you realise how unimportant it actually was. Therefore, the last one is….
I am confused – I want to keep it but I don’t know why! Let’s keep this in a box and come back to it in 30 days to see if i actually do want to keep it or not.
4. Set yourself exciting goals
As it can be so daunting, set yourself targets that you can look forward to.
Such as once you have sorted through your wardrobe, you are going to have a nice warm soak in a bubble bath with some candles and a glass of wine!
Now that floats my boat, but pick something that you see as a reward for yourself. You may even just set yourself a time limit and say that in 30 minutes time/or by the end of weekend you will have finished clearing out the bathroom cabinet.
Find out what works for you and do it.
5. Notice the benefit
Everytime you have a clear out, no matter how small it is, notice the benefit you get from it. Just take a moment and think about what it has done for you.
Does it make you feel a little less burdened? More organised? Peaceful? Finally free?
Soak that up and feel the positivity of it, as this is what will fuel you forward.
Now get going! I suspect there are some raisins to clear out of your car foot wells!
Simple Joy was founded by Hayley Forster, a Wellness & Lifestyle Coach. Hayley is an advocate of intentional living, with a passion in helping others simplify their lives in order to find their ideal lifestyle full of contentment, creativity and authenticity!