Articles

To Clutter or Declutter

“No. Toiletries,” I told my mum, in the build up to Christmas. “I have enough creams, scrubs, lotions and potions to put Boots out of business. I still have stuff from last year that hasn’t been opened!” However, despite my stern tone and the array of other beautiful things I received, I also got a set of three ‘body souffles’. “Mum!” I exclaimed. “What did I say?” to which she replied, “But darling, they’re Spa Sanctuary! I couldn’t resist!”

And so my attempt to declutter my bathroom was very short-lived.

Don’t we all start a New Year wanting to get rid of ‘stuff’? The nonsensical amount of ‘stuff’ we seem to effortlessly accumulate (particularly after Santa has been) and the vast majority of which we don’t use.

Whether it’s the clothes you “might wear again one day” or the gaudy ornament your Grandma gave you four birthdays ago; the books you swear you will read again even though you have a pile of new ones and have never read the same book more than once in your entire life (that’s me).  Then there’s the trinket bowls full of jewellery you never wear, the dinner set you never use, the shoes with the heels that kill you every time but you still refuse to throw out… So. Much. Stuff.

I moved home last year. I had a small, one-bedroom flat and lived alone. When someone suggested I needed a whole small lorry for my things, I laughed. “I won’t fill half of it!” I thought. Wrong. My belongings barely fit inside, and that was only because my boyfriend is a logistical genius worthy of the Krypton Factor.

We’re almost through January and I’m still struggling to really ‘cleanse’ myself of unwanted, unnecessary things that surround me and clutter my home. My problem (and others, I suspect) is that I attach sentimental value to things and feel genuinely sad or guilty to say goodbye to them. However, Japanese tidying guru Marie Kondo applies a very simple philosophy to the art of decluttering and says that you should only keep things that “spark joy”.*

And it makes total sense. We replace the old with the new but we keep both. The old stuff doesn’t excite us any more, yet more often that not, it stays in the cupboard or on the rail.

I’m not quite ready to get rid of everything in my house that doesn’t make me bounce off the walls with happiness, so I’ve decided to start with a more delicate approach and these two ideas which I found on the becomingminimalist.com website:

1. Grab a bin bag and fill it with things you don’t want or need. (They don’t need to go to the bin – you could donate them to charity or stick them on ebay, but make sure they don’t wind up in the back of the wardrobe)

2. Get rid of one item every day for a year. Simple as that. That’s a pretty decent amount of cleansing, right?

Well, I hope that was of some use and at the very least, made you think about your own spare dinner set and whether you really need it in your life. I’m off to read a (new) book.

*Read the full article about Marie Kondo here

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