I am inspired to write this post as it is one of my current focuses and it is giving me much joy and satisfaction. Please note: I am no expert.
I wouldn't say I've previously been a hoarder, although I still have clothes and books, and items of jewellery that I had when I was in High School, some of which I have never worn, or read.
'But maybe one day I will', says my brain on a regular basis and it goes right back into the box, draw, bookshelf or wardrobe it's been in since it arrived in my life.
Stress, I have decided, is created largely by clutter. Physical, emotional and mental clutter. Mindfulness helps to put emotional and mental clutter into perspective but physical clutter needs a different kind of mindful approach, and one that can involve ruthlessness, bravery and a little bit of time. It does not, I realise more and more, need to take a lot of time.
I was fortunate in that I moved house a couple of years back and I decided that I would store most of my gear in the garage and just have the bare minimum in the house to begin with. I wanted to take some time to decide what to keep and what to give away, sell or store. Unfortunately I wasn't organized or patient enough to use this gem of a moment in time in the wisest way. In other words, much of the stuff from the garage ended up in the house.
So, for the past year I have been down-sizing, de-cluttering and minimalising. I feel like I now have a modus operandi that works really well. I have started using a diary and every week I have made space for an hour to down-size, to make space. Not only do I decide on the time each week when I will do this but I also write exactly what area of my life I am down-sizing. Recently I did my wardrobe and I refused to make it arduous so what I did was this. I took everything out of the wardrobe and drawers. I put all the summer gear away, in a large storage cupboard but I could have used rubbish bags. I figure I can focus on that gear closer to Spring. From the winter gear, I put all the stuff I love and wear regularly into the wardrobes and drawers and put the rest in rubbish bags labelled "undecided". Now - I will either decide to be ruthless and just give it to charity... or I will invite a friend or two over to decide what to keep and what to give away. For now the bags are in the garage.
I have alread de-cluttered the garage. I literally gave away most of it. I was ruthless. I gave away baby gear. More babies? Probably not and I can't hang on to that idea anyway. It is not on my current radar. I put kitchen stuff, books and other gear on the street for people to take away and I sold the buggy, old bikes and took heaps of stuff to charity.
The bathroom. I took everything out and made a 'chuck' pile, a 'give away' pile and a keep pile. I was ruthless. I chucked old stuff and I gave away moisturisers I don't wear etc. Don't be afraid. Less is more and are you really going to use it? If you really are going to use it, start now. Or get rid of it!
My stationary cabinet was a mission, and to be fair I have a box of pens and stuff in the garage but the bare minimum in the house. I have down-sized kitchen stuff a few times and I think it needs another go. And I have a box of gear I occasionally use in the garage but the bare minimum in the house.
I am so much happier having less. It clears my mind. I can find things more easily. The house remains tidier, and cleaner. But the most important thing is that I am focusing on buying less stuff. I don't want more possessions, unless they are really going to add value to my life. Felix doesn't need more toys. I have given so much of his stuff away, with his agreement and help. INVOLVE YOUR KIDS. I love that I am teaching Felix about not needing much stuff, and about the pleasure of giving things away.
I believe that not only do we live happier lives with less stuff, but we also make space for more value to enter our lives.
If in doubt ask yourself these three questions:
1) Will I/do I use it?
2) Does it add value to my life?
3)Where is the best place for it to go? (and the answer to this might be "elsewhere")
I look forward to your insights on this topic as I am still learning and it is an area of my life I want to keep mastering.
Take care and take the clutter out of your lives and out of your heads.
NB. Since writing this post I have read The Life-changing magic of tidying by Marie Kondo. I highly recommend it. Marie makes a living out of helping people de-clutter and tidy. Her stance is simple. Start now. Do your entire house at once, category by category. Start by disgarding big time. Take each item one by one, and if it SPARKS JOY keep it, if it doesn't get rid of it. She is ruthless. Surrounding yourself with things that you love and being tidy and minimal makes space for more joy and abundance to enter your life. I love it.