First of all let me wish you all a very Happy New Year. I hope 2018 brings you all the very best.
At this time of year we often start to think of New Years’ resolutions, things we’d like to achieve or change in the coming 12 months. It’s a great opportunity to set some short-term targets for things we’ve maybe been putting off for a while.
For me, I’d like to de-clutter a bit, gain a bit more focus and try to create a bit more space, both at home and at work. So to help me get started, I’ve been reading up on how to best de-clutter your life, house, work space and create some space to breathe. There are no shortage of articles out there so it seems I’m not alone here. So in no particular order I’ve pulled together my top 5 tips on how to de-clutter your life and create some space – both physically and mentally.
Our top 5 tips to help you de-clutter your life
Tip 1: Identify what clutter is – and what it isn’t
Many think of de-cluttering as simply tidying up. It’s not. Whether you are tidying your bedroom, kitchen, garage, workspace or e-mail inbox, tidying up simply means moving stuff from one place to another. Organising cupboards and drawers while maintaining the status quo. De-cluttering is more than that and involves reduction – getting rid of things. Nothing pleases me more than a beautifully folded set of t-shirts in my wardrobe. I should really have a job in Benetton! But simply creating neatness is not de-cluttering. To make real change, you need to deeply connect with your objects and make conscious choices about what to keep and what to get rid of. One suggestion is that everything we own should support our vision for the life we want. Our homes and offices should be inspirational spaces where we can do our best work – and a clutter free space is more important to creativity than a collection of shoes, stationary or t-shirts.
Tip 2: Shopping ban
This may be especially difficult given the seasonal sales and “bargains” out there at this time of year but a self-imposed shopping ban is a great way to start your new clutter free life. For a set period of time, ban all new purchases aside from essentials. There’s no point reducing your clutter if you’re going to add to it by buying new stuff. So put aside the retail therapy for a few weeks and start to break the shopping habit. If you do feel the need to make a purchase, instead of buying, write the item down and come back to it after your ban is lifted. If you still want or need it, go for it. But there’s a good chance time has reduced your desire for it anyway.
Tip 3: Reduce, Recycle and Reset
Allocate a specific block of time and start to tackle the clutter. Like everything else, if you don’t make time for it, it won’t happen. Whether you’re tackling your home, your office or your garage, take it one room at a time. Make sure you complete each task you start before the next. Don’t half declutter a cabinet, only to move onto the bookcase. If you don’t have time for both in one session, so be it.
The process of sorting through and getting rid of clutter shouldn’t feel like punishment, it should feel refreshing. Take your time and remove the excess so you can appreciate the things you choose to retain. Recycle stuff where possible. Give items away to charity shops or even sell specific items to make a little extra cash. Don’t be too harsh in your first round, as being too extreme might cause you to react negatively and rush out to fill the gap. Your reset involves getting used to less. Keeping stuff “just in case” you need it is often used as a way to justify hoarding. But ask yourself the hard question – how likely am I to actually need this thing?
Tip 4: One in One Out
This suggestion appears over and over again and it’s one I am really going to try and enforce this year. As a bit of a hoarder its going to be a real challenge. This trick for maintaining a decluttered existence is to make sure you don’t allow anything new into your home until something leaves. If you buy something new, something old has to leave. As an example, I counted the t-shirts in my wardrobe this morning and found 57! Now no-one really needs 57 t-shirts, especially as I only wear about 10 of them. So my first task is to reduce that number by 50%, and then apply the one in, one out rule.
Step 5: Have a plan
Giving yourself a structure or plan to follow can often help get through what seems like a big challenge at the start. A popular method is to get rid of one thing on day one, two things on day two, three things on day three and so on, until you get to 30 days. This will get rid of a serious amount of your junk in a month, and will feel do-able and easy, leaving you ready to tackle the reset. Another method is the 10:10:10 plan where you simply find 10 items to throw away, 10 to donate and 10 to move to a new space in your home or office that let’s them be appreciated fully. It’s a quick and effective way to sort through 30 things. Of course you can change the number to suit your own circumstances!! The bigger the better.