Posted in Declutter, minimalism, Tips & How to's

5 Reasons to Declutter.

This week I have been…

This past week I have braved the “understairs” cupboard – well I say I braved, in fact I made my husband pull stuff out and check for spiders…and I then got him to vanquish said spiders… let’s just call it a joint effort, shall we?  At the time of writing this introduction, we have filled 17 black bin bags, so far… mainly because I was totally ruthless and binned everything, but also because I was trying to get over 20 bags so I would be able to take a photo for my #PPTKOMins. During this epic quest of arachnid dodging and mouldy clothes-bagging, we learned a lot about why decluttering is such a good idea – even if my kitchen currently looks even messier than when we started!

#PPTKOMins (1)

5 reasons to declutter:

 

  1. Decluttering will save you money:While tidying we discovered about 20 loo rolls! I had obviously bought a pack, used one or two, placed it somewhere, lost it and bought a replacement.  If you sell the things you are decluttering, then yes, you can MAKE money, (and I am sure I will do a post on that at some point)  but if you are properly organised then you can SAVE money, by not having to re-buy items you have already purchased but have misplaced in the house somewhere.  Having a place to put things, means you will always know where it is, and where to check if you want to know if you have run out and need to get some new ones (still thinking of loo rolls here…)
  2. Clutter is Stressful:Being surrounded by mess is officially stressful – as in it has been scientifically proven.   Apparently researchers have discovered that there is a link between how stressed you are and how tidy your house is; a cluttered home can make some people feel like they have failed at creating a good environment for their families.  I can certainly attest to being stressed by an untidy house – generally because of not being able to find things (see 1), things falling on me or getting broke by others (see 3), or just the time it takes to find stuff (see 4!)
  3. Danger Danger! Amusing as watching my Mum trip over her cat bowls is, accidents at home are a real concern.  Cluttered walkways are listed as one of the common causes of trips and falls in the home, while the London Fire Brigade devotes a whole page of their website to the perils of clutter and the impacts it can have in the event of a house fire.  (The page also contains a link to the International OCD Foundations Hoarding centre – Its ‘levels of hoarding’ pdf makes for sobering viewing! – I’m probably hovering on a 3/4!) Potential death aside, it is just easier to clean a house that has less clutter, and a cleaner house means: less dust, fewer germs and a reduction in conditions that may attract unwanted furry visitors (I’m talking rats and mice, not Wombles… although they might be helpful if you have a bit of  rubbish lying about, what with their penchant for recycling and such).
  4. Time becomes your friend: Not sure what your house is like on Monday mornings, but before I got a bit more organised they used to be a nightmare here! One of the boys always misplaced a tie, or their shoes, or forgot they had homework and the ensuing shouting and grabbing inevitably set everyone up for a bad day.
    If every item has its place, then tidying becomes quicker and easier, freeing up your time for more important things – I dread to think how much time I have spent looking for my bag or shoes; I have even cancelled bank cards before now, believing them to be lost forever, only to find them later, under a pile of papers (and all the fun that ensues from not having access to your bank account for a couple of days…)
  5. It’s Nice to have Nice things – and share them with people…
    If you have less stuff, you will appreciate what you DO have, more – in theory. This, in turn, will lead to you being a bit more discerning when it comes to selecting new things for your home – or indeed NOT selecting, because you realise you don’t actually need another candle/cushion/ornament and that you don’t really want to waste money on it when you could use it towards a day out with the family, or towards paying off debts ( or towards saving up to go travel the world!).
    Best of all, the new less-stressed and decluttered you will also be able to develop better relationships with your family – especially when you are not shouting at them about losing things, or worrying about money… and the best benefit is that you will be able to have friends over more often, or in my case, be able to have friends over…that’s it, just over to visit.  As it is, I don’t let people in because I worry about the judging! I know real friends don’t judge, but I would prefer to invite them into a tidy and welcoming home, and for there to be somewhere for them to sit without me having to move things.  And that day is coming as my declutter continues!

    Wondering what you should do with your clutter? Check out this post.
    If you want some ideas to get you started on your declutter check out my post here

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Posted in Declutter, minimalism

My Journey into Minimalism – Or how to slowly clear the clutter.

My Journey into minimalism

I am currently researching a book about how us normal average people get into minimalism and decluttering; not the stark white, Instagram worthy,  beautiful studio apartment type of minimalism that immediately comes to mind when you think of the word. What I mean is the kind of minimalism that an average house-wife and mum could realistically maintain without looking like she is depriving the family too much. And wow, the first few months have been painful!

You can’t shine plastic sinks…

I started using the methods of Marla Cilley via emails and tips from an online resource called ‘FlyLady.net.‘  It started slowly, and I did struggle with lots of her concepts- like wearing shoes indoors, and having a sparkling sink…my sink is plastic…and brown, it does not shine! It all got a bit too much for me – as did the incessant emails.  It even, at one point, made me not want to write the book at all, but then you’re not a writer if you actually avoid the boring and difficult bits, so press on I did.  As a treat to myself for surviving the weeks of being told to “wear your shoes and tidy your sink”, I decided to reread ‘Everything that Remains’ by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus AKA The Minimalists.  This coincided with the beginning of the month, so I decided to jump aboard the #Minsgame train at the same time, because in for a penny…
The idea is obnoxiously easy – on the first of the month you find one thing to either trash, donate or sell.  You’re supposed to get it out of the house on that day, but I don’t imagine anyone is going to walk or drive to the local charity shop with one book, or a single pair of  jeans.   I have set up a box and I have been putting the items in there, this then grew to a box and a bag – with the bag being for any clothing…which THEN grew to a box, a bag for clothes AND another bag, in which I dump odd things I find with the intention of using them as part of the next days group of items.

Instagram filters aren’t magic…

As it stands I am trying to gather the items and take the photos for Instagram a few days in advance, as we currently have no lights in our kitchen and while Insta filters are good, they are not magic, I can only take pictures during a very small time window each morning.  Also, as I gather more more items it is getting harder to make out just how many items are supposed to be in the picture.  Just as well the clue is in the date; September 16 = 16 items…

The one bugbear  I do have with this game is that it starts pretty slowly and you will find more items than you need in the early stages while looking around the house. Marie Kondo mentions this in her book  “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”; that some people may become bored with this pacing and give up; they may prefer to just whirlwind the place with a black bag and get everything out to once.  I do feel somewhat committed to completing this challenge though, what with my having started to follow a few people on Instagram who are also doing the challenge.  There is nothing like total strangers getting their declutter on to encourage you to keep up with them…that and I am at the halfway point now and I have already designed a cool Canva of me and the actual Minimalists, who I met a few years ago. (The actual reason for the arty insta photo was because Day 15 saw me round up my old underwear, and I don’t think the internet, or indeed anyone, is ready for that just yet!).

#PPTKOMins

What’s the plan, Poll?…
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The ultimate goal is a tidy Ikea-esque home, that I can rent out (or Air BNB, or something) when I eventually get a job abroad (that’s the plan!) – but I  will need money to do the house and pay off debts.  I am currently saving up for a new bathroom, as it will definitely need improving if we expect other people to use it, but in the meantime, tidying and decluttering cost nothing, so that is the way forward for now.
I will be following this challenge through until the end of the month… I then just need a plan regarding what I do with all of the stuff…