Last weekend we had the BIGGEST clear out EVER. I can’t stress enough how big this decluttering life session was. It was all hands on deck and it took the entire weekend. Not a cupboard was left closed, not a shelf left unscrutinised, not a dream left undiscovered, not a leaf left unturned.
The kids hated every minute of it, of course. They ranged from spending three hours going through all their toys to produce a single Barbie doll for charity to piling everything into their cupboard and announcing that “it fits, it stays.” I definitely have three hoarders on my hands.
I’m not a hoarder, but I have a lot of stuff. I think when you are a creative-type, you just naturally have a lot of stuff. It’s on your shelves, it’s on your mind. Over the years I’ve collected a pile of things that I use for projects and gatherings and dabbling. It just doesn’t make sense to get rid of it because I know I’ll use it again. I recycle everything into different projects and very rarely need to buy new pieces of anything. That’s just the way I like it.
Clutter scratches at my mind. I’m not a minimalist by any stretch of the imagination (see above), but without clear horizontal surfaces, I go a little crazy (Bart would probably tell you, a lot crazy). Luckily I’m a very neat and organised kind of person — or at the very least, I’m good at faking that I am. However many times I’ve wondered if I’m simply spending time organising clutter.
Every time I feel like life is getting out-of-control and I’m cranky and twitchy, my natural instinct is to throw shit out. You basically know when it’s time for a good clean out when you start to refer to your things as shit.
So last weekend, it went – to charity, to friends or out to the kerb to await the big council truck.
There’s something really confronting about seeing all of a household’s off-cuts presented on the front lawn for the neighbours’ viewing pleasure (and random white utes who seem to trawl the streets looking for stuff). I love a kerbside find myself, so I totally get it, but I felt terribly guilty that there was such a big, big pile of landfill waiting out there, rather than anything even remotely worth collecting. It had been at least a couple of years since our last big clear out, and much of it was broken stuff (like our cheap Adirondack chairs that seemed to melt in the rain) and, ironically, our own kerbside pick-ups that we really didn’t need, but still. It went against my three important rules for stuff.
3 important rules for stuff
- Don’t buy clutter in the first place
- Have a daily routine for keeping on top of it
- Recycle as much as you can
If you’re feeling cranky and twitchy yourself right now, I’ve found five great articles about clutter and getting rid of it that might help you get your own sunshine back. I can’t stress enough that a cluttered home results in a cluttered mind. I’ve felt free as a bird all week in my pristine home, surrounded by stuff I love, use and can’t be without.
5 thoughts on: Decluttering
- Zen Habits: The Minimalist’s Guide to Fighting (and Beating) Clutter Entropy
- The Art of Simple: The Powerful Difference Between Organising and Decluttering
- Unclutterer: Strategies For Seeing Clutter
- Zen Habits: Love Life, Not Stuff
- Slow Your Home: D is for Decluttering: A-Z of Simple Living
You’ll note a complete absence of any Kon Mari references. I read the book and I just thought it was taking itself far too seriously. See thought 4 above.
Can you live with clutter? Do you want to?