Wednesday, 6 February 2013

lose the clutter - part two

Source - Old Chum

Intrigued by my waffling from last week about how I've got too much stuff? Want to see if it gets any worse this week?

Read on ...

The William Morris quote, above, is wise but I think it's also open to interpretation. And how you interpret it will affect how you live. Many of my possessions don't make me happy, even as they remind me of happy times, or allow me to read and reread, and reread again. Much of my clutter is tied up with the past and the future. I hold onto this miniature cat figure to remind me of the holiday I had with my parents when I was seven. I hold onto that book because I may read it again, if I get time, and that jumper because I can make a felted cushion out of it one day, and give it as a gift.

But what about now? Now is where I live - it's where we all live - and it's constantly buffeted from side to side by memories of the past, and dreams of the future.

Decluttering is a little like reclaiming your present. Like saying you love your memories but you want to make new ones. Saying you love your dreams but you can only make them by living today, now, in the present.

I'm not saying I'm going to get rid of all my stuff. I'm not. Some memories are too precious, some items mean just too much. But I believe I'll be happier if I'm less weighed down by things, whatever my reason for having them.

If, like me, too much stuff is getting you down (however much you may love it), then check out some of these links. I genuinely hope they help - the weight of too much stuff is a heavy one.

First up, some eye candy for purposes of inspiration. Check out this and this, and look here and here (click on the individual images to enlarge), and here too.

Handy hints (and eye candy)  

This sounds scarier than it is - it's called zero clutter. But it's about creating a tiny clutter-free zone and slowly expanding it. And it's by Leo Babauta from Zen Habits, who knows what he's talking about.

The rules of throwing things away.

It is easy to get overwhelmed. Even this list can be overwhelming if you've a stack of magazines that need to be read or have pages pulled out out (or just thrown away. I know, I know). If you feel like that, then just read this quote. It's short, but it's good, and reiterates the importance of throwing things away, not just stacking them up so they look neat. Ahem ...

The last entry of a year long declutter project. Wow. The blog hasn't been written in since the project ended, well over a year ago ...

Organise what you do keep with tiny bits of paper!

Too much paper (not including the bits from the previous link ...) ? Check this out. It may take time though, depending on how many documents you've got. And how many piles of pages pulled from magazines. And it's worth considering that some documents might be worth keeping in a hard copy version.

Where to put the things you no longer want - a recycling guide - This site is Australian but wherever you are, you can get some good ideas here if you want to pass on items that still have life left in them

Some hints on decluttering, and some links too. All very sensible and calm. Nice.

"Start from wherever you are and with whatever you've got." Another way to banish the overwhelm - applies to more than decluttering too.
If you're inclined to physical clutter, then it's also likely you'll have a massive amount of digital clutter. I do. Endless photos, endless documents, truly endless bookmarks (post to follow soon on bookmarking!)... It used to feel that digital things didn't get in the way because they didn't take up physical space. But they take up head space, thinking space ...and space on your hard drive (or even in your bit of the cloud - it's all space). So check out this post on digital detoxing, and then these posts too if you fancy a bit more guidance and inspiration and hints.

Some simple ideas I've gained from all this?

Be careful what you buy or fetch home with you. If you find things hard to dispose of, then consider very carefully before you potentially give yourself something else that may cause angst and difficulties and turn into clutter.

Start small. Every thing you throw away/give to charity/recycle will help.

Set yourself targets. For example - chose one item of clothing a week. Every Sunday. If it's beyond use, throw it in the bin. If you can turn it into something else, then give yourself a week to do so in. Hang it up to remind you. If nothing has happened in that week, then chances are it never will. Add it to the pile of clothes that you won't wear again, and you won't upcycle. Put them in a bag, and put them by the front door, or in the boot of your car. Take them to a charity shop, a recycling depot, or anywhere that will allow them to be used again.

Don't worry about what to do with things you no longer want too much. Yes, it's easy to get hung up on passing things on to a good home, to make sure nothing is wasted. It's important and a good thing to do. But if,  for your sanity, you have to get rid of something by binning it, then do so. Sometimes (only sometimes!), you are allowed to put yourself before the rest of the planet.

I would love to hear your own experiences of clutter and possessions. Do you have too much? Do you easily throw things away? Any hints you can pass on? Please leave a comment!


  1. I recently did a big declutter- or, as I call it, a purge, of both physical and digital. I don't own much in general but things (and I've always loved that quote you shared by William Morris) do increase my stress level. So less is definitely more. It's why I don't buy much. And I agree it is a little like reclaiming your present and even more so your future. The best piece of advice I have gotten on decluttering, which I used recently, is when you look at something decide if it represents or fits in with who you want to be. I love that concept because it's about moving forward.

  2. I so agree with that - so much of my clutter is me being tied to the past. And the more stuck in the past you are, the less you are in the now and the future. Thank you for passing that advice on, and for the link to your post - I'm bookmarking that :)


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