Friday, 4 February 2011

All change

A nice clean, shiny look to my much-neglected blog. When I started this blog, I had no idea what I was doing, or why, and my lack of direction really showed! But I've been thinking (and it didn't hurt. Yay!) about how I want to use this blog and what I want to put in it. And I've decided on concentrating on decluttering and organising as my theme. I'm not an expert, but I can do it, and I'm quite good at it.

Now the blog has a new name, but the same old blog address, and I've included my favourite quote of all time concerning clutter and possessions - You can't have everything. Where would you put it? (Steven Wright).

There are lots of lovely blogs out there that are like organisational porn! The gorgeous images on IHeart Organising are enough to make anyone want to at least tidy up a bit, and shove the kids' toys in a cupboard!

But my own philosophy is that before I buy shiny new boxes and baskets for all our stuff, I need to get rid of the dross. Otherwise I still have too much stuff, it just looks neat. Neat and organised are not the same thing. I need to sort and declutter my instructions and guarantees before I neatly file them. What is the use of a beautiful file of instruction leaflets if it includes details of a toaster that died three years ago, and the guarantee for the trampoline when your youngest is off to university?

Over the years I have formulated some of my own guidelines for dealing with clutter and 'stuff', so I am going to share them here.

Baby shoes. Aww!

* There is room for sentiment. I am not a ruthless chucker-outer who lives in a big empty white space. I still have my elder son's first ever little shoes. They are small, and impossibly cute, and I can't get rid of them.

* Despite what I said above about sentiment (contradicting myself already!), this doesn't mean that absolutely everything that comes into the house has to be kept. As the quote says, 'you can't have everything'. I see decluttering as making space - yes for new stuff, obviously, but also for new experiences and new ideas. Keep small mementos of the past, but not everything, so you're constantly reminded of it - you live in the here and now, give it room!

* Start small. Particularly if it's overwhelming. A drawer, a shelf. When you've done it, sit back and look at it. And if you feel up to it, do another drawer. Or shelf.

* It'll look worse before it looks better. This is particularly true of decluttering wardrobes and cupboards. The only way to do it is to get it all out. Yes, all of it. Then sort it all out into piles - to sell, to keep, to donate, to throw away. Clean out the cupboard, and only put back what you're keeping. Admire. Then turn around and there are the other three piles, looking at you! Dealing with them is part of it - bag up the stuff for the charity shop. Allocate a space to keep all the things you want to list on Ebay, Gumtree or Freecycle. Ditch the rubbish.

* I like to recycle as much as possible. Selling or donating is great for this. Bras can be sent to the Bra Appeal, and high street opticians often collect glasses for Vision Aid Overseas.

* Know that decluttering is like painting the Forth Bridge. You have to keep doing it. Every day more and more stuff arrives in our houses. And we live in a time of abundance. I heard a statistic the other day that we now have 30% more possessions than a generation ago! I don't think our houses are any bigger, so we need to keep control, or we'll drown in stuff!

* I always find things that I can't identify. Particularly when the boys were small - little random pieces of plastic that looked useless but could be something vital belonging to a toy. I found a few more the other day, and the only toys my boys have now are electronic. I look on it as part of the fun - and then I put whatever unidentifiable little object it is in a pot and if I don't need it a few months later, out it goes!

That's it for now - I'm planning to do more posts on my decluttering dilemmas and how I resolved them.

Happy decluttering!

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