So it's week 3 of the cure so it's time to 'clear the path'. For me this means a big declutter of my study area. I did this a little while ago when I was on a massive decluttering bender but it's definitely time to do it again. The clutter is creeping back in!
Decluttering is seriously underrated. A good cull of unused/unloved stuff literally feels like a weight is lifted on your shoulders. The result is instantly gratifying - more space!
A 'cull' (as I like to call it) is not necessarily easy to perform though. It can be quite confronting and raise a whole range of emotions. For me personally I was confronted by my own poor choices and financial wastefulness. Interestingly though the more I dealt with the emotions that surfaced the more sure I felt that I won't be repeating these mistakes. And I'm pleased to say that so far I haven't!
It can also be very hard to part with items that no longer add to your life but you feel you are sentimentally attached to.
The Apartment Therapy Eight Step Home Cure book suggests that you designate an area of your house to be an 'Outbox' which is a "halfway house for your clutter, where things go while their fate is being decided". Here are the Apartment Therapy rules for the Outbox:
- Anything can go in the Outbox
- The Outbox is allowed to be messy
- Everything must stay in the outbox for at least one week
- After that you have several choices:
- Take anything back out
- Leave anything you're undecided about for one more week
- Dispose of the rest by moving it to the garbage, recycling bin or a giveaway pile
I think this is a very useful tool but as someone who often talks herself out of getting rid of some things I do think it can be helpful to get things you're certain you don't need out of the house very quickly!
Here are some other tips for decluttering (as discussed in the now famous Vogue Forum decluttering thread!)
- For things you've convinced yourself you 'might need one day' - put the items in a box and seal it. If you genuinely need something remove it from the box. If after a designated time period (a month perhaps?) you haven't required anything from the box then dispose of the box immediately (e.g. donate to charity)
- For drawers that constantly fill up - take everything out of the drawer. As you need something replace it into the drawer. Things you haven't replaced after a designated time period dispose of immediately.
- Ask a friend to help. It's good to have the advice of someone who is neutral to the situation (i.e. doesn't have the same sentimental attachments)
- If you're going to sell something on a forum or eBay then list the item without delay! Don't let it sit around the house only to find itself back in 'regular circulation'. Also, have a backup plan for things that don't sell - are you going to offer them to friends or family? Donate them to charity? I must admit this is a trap I have fallen into a few times!
- There's the age old decluttering mantra 'If in doubt, throw it out!'
- Faux Fuchsia has 3 great decluttering questions she asks herself in relation to clothes and more:
Do I love this?
Does this flatter me?
Is this the image I want to project?
Need some reading material to further inspire you?
Makeunder My Life blog. The philosophy of this blogger is that life can be improved through "addition by subtraction" In her words: "...every Friday I get rid of something that I don’t need, use, or love anymore (I call this my “end of the week exfoliation“). I do this because I would like to have nice possessions, but I don’t have the money to afford lots of nice things. By getting rid of the items I don’t covet anymore, my ratio of nice to not-nice stuff increases, and I end up closer to my goal." Interesting huh?
Check out Miss Minimalist's blog, especially her post on spring decluttering
Book It's All Too Much! by Peter Walsh who has become somewhat of a legend since Oprah discovered him and added him to her bevy of gurus. It's a pretty interesting, quick read and there are plenty of strategies. The resounding message from the book (which I agree with) is don't buy storage solutions - get rid of the excess stuff you're trying to find a storage solution for!
Still no progress?
If you're still struggling getting started tackling the clutter then watch yourself some Hoarders. It's genuinely scary stuff. Nothing makes me want to declutter more than the thought I could end up in that kind of mess!
Got any tips? Comment below and share them!