You would have all heard the phrase ‘spring clean’ before. But why should you wait until spring each year to give your house a good clean and de-clutter? And by ‘de-clutter’ I don’t mean lifting up your junk and dusting underneath it, I mean sell and store things of value and/or use and ditch the rest. A cluttered house is a sign of a cluttered mind so it’s no wonder you may find it difficult to focus when need be or even just relax and unwind when the space around you is cluttered and vice versa. It’s hard to keep a space clean when your mind is all over the place.
With between 60,000 and 70,000 thoughts a day it’s no surprise we get a little frazzled and leave things lying around, we can hardly keep up anymore. Our busy schedules include 9 hours of work each day plus travel time, walking the dogs, picking up the kids, exercising, studying and preparing dinner which leaves little time for de-cluttering. In addition, we are always finding a need for something new, we have less room and so the clutter begins to bog us down.
So you want to de-clutter, but where do you start? Some of you may have years of hoarding built up to the point you are storing things in your microwave (don’t laugh, it happens)! There are small steps you can take to get on track to an uncluttered house AND mind:
1. Make a conscious effort to put things away at the end of each day:
I often find myself wishing that a little fairy will come and hang my clothes for me, but alas the clothes-hanging fairy never shows. Your things do not magically get put away, no matter how much you will it to with your mind! You may find that if something is left out, you’ll feel inclined to keep adding to it. If the space is clear, you will feel less inclined to leave your bag on the bench or shoes on the floor. As time goes by (approximately 21 days), you will form a habit of picking up after yourself.
2. Allocate a few hours each fortnight or month to go through one room at a time
Either toss, store, use or sell/giveaway items (refer below for tips below for each room*).
3. SELL SELL SELL!
If you have the time, hold a garage sale or list items on Ebay or a similar local classifieds website/publication. Not only do you de-clutter, but you can also make some money… yay!
4. Make a list of things you NEED and only purchase from this list
Don’t get too silly with this though, it can be easy to keep adding to the list unnecessarily. Keep a ‘wish’ list and a ‘buy’ list. The difference between them is the wish list is for “wants” and the buy list is for “needs”. You will find the wish list changes often, meaning making a purchase will bring useless impulse buys into your home adding to the clutter and wasting money.
5. Swap rooms around
I have a very small living space nowadays but when I lived in a big 5×2, I did this as often as practical and not only does it give the house a fresh new feel, but it forces us to go through our things while moving.
6. Invest in a diary
Each morning I find myself making a daily ‘to-do list’ on my computer and place items into my google calendar as need be. Get yourself a small diary or use google calendar and each time you have a thought of what you need to do that day, write it down. If you can see the task, you tend to commit and take action. Plus it’s satisfying to be able to tick it off once complete.
7. Get a journal and use it DAILY!
If you have cluttered thoughts, get them out of your head and onto some paper. Your writing doesn’t need to make sense, but once those thoughts are out of your head you can just be with what’s in front of you each moment rather than being caught up in your head and creating fog.
8. See a counsellor
A cluttered house can mean there’s more going on inside – some unresolved issues that need to be let go. If you find you are hoarding and holding onto things physically or emotionally, go and talk to someone about it.
ROOM BY ROOM DE-CLUTTERING TIPS
9. For each item you buy, throw away an old one:
I seem to collect shoes, bags, dresses, etc. I noticed that I was buying so many coat hangers for all my new clothes. I was pushing the dress I didn’t like and the jacket that I wore once all those years ago, to the back of my wardrobe to make room for all my new pretty things. If you want a new piece of clothing then ditch an old item. That way you should never need to buy a new coat hanger!
10. Twelve month rule:
If you haven’t worn it in the last year, chances are it’s either out of fashion and/or you will never wear it again. Ditch, donate or sell!
11. What’s under the bed?:
Keep the space under your bed clean at all times. Feng Shui teachings suggest that you will attract happy relationships when you remove toxic chi from under your bed. Just think of the toxic energy created from clinging to items you sleep within a few inches from if you store old toys, old photos, tax papers and general unwanted JUNK under your bed. If you must store things under the bed due to space constraints, only store things with a neutral energy such as pillows, blankets etc.
12. Bedrooms have 2 uses:
Your bedroom should be used for 2 things only… sleep and sex! If possible, remove TVs, mobile phones, computers and any other electronic goods from your room so you are not tempted to use them. Major health benefits come with removing these items from your room as they emit electromagnetic waves and radiation. Not only can these cause long term health problems but in the short term will greatly interfere with sleep patterns.
13. Ditch old products:
Check out ‘The Story of Cosmetics‘ on youtube, and you may ditch various products for many reasons, not just to de-clutter. You use the bathroom every single day so one of the first things you see in the morning and the last thing at night is a huge mass of old, unused, out of date products!
14. Limit showering products:
Do you really need several shampoos, conditioners, body washes, creams and exfoliants in the shower? Having too much choice can create frustration and a hell of a lot more clutter! Simplify and use the bare minimum.
15. Request an electronic bill:
Not only does this help the environment, but it will also put an end to the endless pile of papers in the filing tray.
16. Create a filing system:
If you do continue to receive paper bills, consider creating a simple filing system. Just make sure you communicate the system to your family! It keeps my mind at ease knowing where to go if I ever need a copy of a past bill or my insurance policies. I also place any vouchers/gift certificates I receive in a folder for easy access – rather than having to turn the house upside down when I need them.
17. Pay your bills as soon as you get them:
I love paying the bills as soon as I get them nowadays because once upon a time I would put them straight in the filing tray, thinking they were paid until I receiving a second notice. Oops! This is not really practical as without knowing it, I subconsciously think about whether or not the bill was paid and when the payment is due. It’s definitely not good use of my mind! I highly recommend paying the bill as soon as it arrives. If this is not something you can’t do due to cash-flow, and then think about setting up automatic payments to set your mind at ease.
18. Read a book:
Until recently, I couldn’t go a day without buying a book. I would start reading, get halfway through then see another interesting book and begin reading that one! I used to have about 6 books on the go at a time. I know I am not alone here. I recommend going through your collection, find ones you haven’t read yet and set yourself a goal to read them all before you allow yourself to buy a new one. Then actually finish a book before you allow yourself to start another! While you are there, give some books away to charity that you will never read again.
19. Keep the kitchen bench clean:
Before going to bed each night, make an agreement with yourself you will not go to bed until the kitchen bench is clean. It’s such a welcome relief to walk into a clean kitchen in the morning.
20. Clean out the dreaded Tupperware cupboard:
Go through the Tupperware cupboard as often as practically possible. This is the cupboard we all cringe before opening, knowing the contents may topple out any moment like a game of Jenga. I can guarantee you haven’t used that jelly mould since you bought it 10 years ago, and do you really need 20 lunch containers? Especially ones you don’t have matching lids for?
21. Keep your pantry tidy:
Ever wanted that tin of tomatoes or packet of oats and spent 10 minutes looking for it? Or have you searched endlessly for that jar of honey then driven to the shops to purchase another only to find it upon your return hidden behind something else. Not only is this wasted time, but it’s frustrating and just proves your pantry is cluttered. Spend some time going through the pantry one shelf at a time and check used-by dates on your products. Give away tins/jars still in date to charity if you will not eat it and consider purchasing some glass storage containers with labels for your items.
22. Go natural:
Not only are 99.9% of the chemicals you have under your kitchen sink bad for you, but I bet you have more than 5 bottles under there. Do you even know what 4 of them do? Think about ditching these products (safely) or when you run out replace with microfibre and water or eco-friendly products. You will only need a few at most to do your cleaning. Better yet, consider hiring us to assist you with cleaning and we will bring our own natural products and equipment!
Every time you walk into a space, in particular the kitchen, is the first thing you see mess and clutter? How can this be good for your mind? Clean your fridge and de-magnet! My fridge is a magnet no-go zone. I love walking into the kitchen every day and seeing a fresh clear space, from the bench tops to the fridge top. If you feel the absolute need to stick things on your fridge, then consider putting it on the side and looking at it when you need or want to.
It’s hard to remain in control when you can’t find anything. Once you start de-cluttering your house and your mind you will regain control, re-energise, have clear and concise thoughts and be motivated once again.