Despite having a large house, there never seems to be enough space for you know, stuff. The house is filled with clothes (mine), lego (his), and umpteen books (both of us). (This is not including the numerous hairpins. They multiply on their own). Just general human clutter that is for the most part unnecessary.
Seeking advice from the intertubes, (after finding laptop underneath clothes, lego, books and ubiquitous hairpins) I found this.
Apparently de-cluttering is a good thing – in an uncluttered environment we can all be calmer and more productive or something. Sounded encouraging. So off we went, using the following guide:
1. Start small.
Ok, did this. Decided upon small section of the house to declutter / tidy up. This was the drawer in the back room. Attempted to open it. Couldn’t, as hot water bottle (probably) wedged in. Moved on to next thing, knickers drawer. Chucked cottontails and uncomfortable g-bangers from 2003. Felt quite good.
By starting small, we also started with small time intervals. LAH* spent 15 minutes in the cramped camping items cupboard, before taking a break to watch footy and refill wine glass. He did go back to it though.
2. Make decluttering a quick 15-minute weekly routine – cool will do. It’s only been 3 days.
3. Get in the habit of putting things away, than “doing it later” – started this last night by hanging up jacket in cupboard when I got home. True story.
4. Store away seldom used items, and dispose or donate unused ones – yup, done. After we both solemnly swore not to chuck out each other’s clothes and CDs without express permission, we started a pile. On it we chucked dresses, a suit, shoes and jackets never to be worn again. Old books of no value helped give the pile some texture. Sorted clothes and packed fancy dress items in box, hung my occasional formalwear and categorised handbags. Accepted that the blue suede pumps will not get worn again. Added them to pile. Found a landline handset. We have never had a landline in the house. Chucked it. Donated clothing items. Gifted old mobile phones and innumerable phone chargers to mobile muster at Officeworks.
We grew more and more ruthless. ‘If in doubt, chuck it out!’ we said, moving like snipers through the house. Special bowls and the crystal that we use when non drinking people come over were tucked away and labelled in the cupboard. (Depressingly, my old camera that I took to Dublin in 2008 did not make the ‘label and store’ cut, and is now with Vinnie’s of Heathmont. Mustn’t hold on to old detritus! (wah))
5. Use plenty of containers when storing items – yes and the millions of shoe boxes I have kept came in handy here. Most tellingly was my bedside drawer, filled with multivitimins, inhalers, medications, and tubes of hand cream. Decluttered the fuck out of that using containers and shoeboxes.
6. Teach your kids to be responsible for their mess – we tried that but Bob and George just yawned and rested their heads on their paws.
7. Address the emotional reasons why you collect clutter – this is a WIP.
Outcome: more space, less clutter. It’s the maintenance that will prove the challenge, probably.
Running update: I don’t have one, but we did married last week. It was super.
*Lovely Australian Husband