Look online or ask around and you’ll find there’s no shortage of ways to declutter and make space. Whether you follow the advice of gurus like Japanese tidying expert and bestselling author, Marie ‘Konmari’ Kondo, or listen to your sister when she tells you to chuck out that top that you haven’t worn for five years… it doesn’t matter. The key is not to force things. Let’s face it: thanking your oldest pair of jeans for their service and letting them go with love, isn’t for everyone! But keeping it simple – that’s something we can all do. Try this:
- Stack it
- Chuck it
- Save it
- Organise it
Systematically work your way through the rooms in your house. Group together what belongs together. You don’t literally have to stack things, although it would work for example when you get to your wardrobe. Fold and stack the sweaters you wear most, and set aside the ones you don’t. Whether you pass them onto someone in need or sell them, they shouldn’t be taking up space.
If it’s broken, outdated or unused, get rid of it. This doesn’t mean consigning it to the rubbish pile because that’s one of the big reasons to scale down – cutting down on waste. But it does mean removing it from your space. This is often the most rewarding step of the process because it gives you the opportunity to help others while helping yourself.
Take unused toys to a children’s home. Or sort out your garage and kitchen and donate to an organisation like Boys Town or Girls Town, where youngsters are taught skills to help them find jobs. You won’t have to go far to find a person in need.
Digitise and save or back up on external hard-drives or in the Cloud. CDs, DVDs, old photographs… they’re all candidates.
Now that you’ve done the hard yards, you get to do the fun stuff. This is the best part! Once you’ve sorted out what will stay and what will go, you can set about organising – or reorganising – your living space. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels to be able to breathe… instead of feeling as if you’re being suffocated by clutter and weighed down by possessions. Apart from working systematically, the most important thing is that this should not be a one-off exercise. Do it a few times a year and you’ll never again reach a point where you feel as if your possessions and your living space are unmanageable.