I am not much of a TV buff, catching up with seasons and episodes are not on my to-do list, but over the years I have followed a couple of shows, one of which was the Oprah Winfrey Show. I clearly remember one show that changed my thinking and I have followed the advice to date. (I still do plead guilty sometimes though)
“IF YOU HAVE NOT USED AN ITEM THAT YOU OWN FOR A YEAR, IT NEEDS TO BE DISCARDED, DONATED OR SOLD; GET IT OUT OF YOUR HOME”
So here’s the build up to the downfall..
..That one drawer in your cupboard, I call it the dumping drawer, you will always dump stuff in there till you decide whether to keep it or not.
.. Those clothes you paid full price for, two sizes too small for you today, yet you hope to drop to that size some day. Add shoes, handbags, accessories and sunglasses!
.. That bedding and bed linen that lasts forever, does not mean they should last in your storage cupboard forever, the homeless will gladly grab and put it to good use.
.. That mini trunk of cables, wires, switches, bulbs, extension cords and all electric supplies you MAY need some day.
.. Those appliance manuals, you will never look at ever (most of which are over the guarantee period), they smell musty but they live long in your loft.
.. That memorabilia box of cards, ‘little things nice’ are precious memories – these will always stay, it’s a ‘death do us apart’ kind of thing, Discard the stalemate stuff please.
.. The little packets of seasoning, sauces, spices or condiments that come with order-in or you have not used for six months. They do get stale and lose their potency, you know.
.. The cupboard full of recycled food containers with mismatched covers, reusable bottles, plastic cutlery for a ‘may be someday picnic’, keep a few I say, and give away the rest.
.. The appliances and gadgets you have received as gifts, you don’t have the time nor inclination to use them, many still boxed, do yourself a favour and give it to someone who will use it. Not as a recycled gift, but ask around to see who will have use for it.
.. Stationary, this I am so guilty of, I love collecting stationary, lots lying around for years- Unused. Pens, old diaries, glue sticks, multi coloured paper clips, post-its of all colours, shapes and sizes. Gone are the days of handwritten notes, its sms and voice notes now and forever. “Stop buying stationary to store.” Minimise.
.. Your personal library of books, keep the ones you treasure. Magazines, catalogues, newspapers need to be rid of every fortnight.
.. The medicine chest, medicines really do not expire, but if your prescription has changed, donate the stock to the Red Cross or such Organizations.
.. At the office, a shredding machine is a must for tax papers over five years, redundant receipts, old journals and information directories that have new updated versions. Recycle and reuse all possible paper. The trees are crumbling.
Now that I have zoned you into all the may be niches of clutter, here comes the solution which will create a desire in you to begin this humongous task.
It’s a once in a lifetime task, you will never let your clutter reach this level ever again.
I have graduated into a person, the minute an item enters my home, I look at it and within a minute decide whether it is – Stay, discard or gift, a few ‘just in case items still do find their way, but really few.
Make lists of items you need on a monthly (mind you not desire but need) stick to that list, be it groceries, toiletries, home cleaning and buy enough for that month only. (Unless it’s a sale offer)
Ditto with clothes, shoes and personal effects add only what you need with a few indulgences. What the heck, I say.
By making this a habit, you are decluttering at the root.
How does decluttering make me save?
If you are committed to decluttering,
Take on one room at a time so you do not get overwhelmed.
One does collect so much stuff over the years. Bigger your home the more you stuff.
I suggest decluttering of wardrobes first, clothes shoes, handbags or even antique clothing can be given away to any number of charities, you even have people or thrift shops you can sell clothing to.
Next place of hoarding is the Kitchen;
Begin with your fridge and food cupboard, get a garbage bag and dump all expired sauces, seasonings and packaged food.
Then take a look at your utensils, pots, pans, boxes, keep only what you use regularly.
Appliances, keep it to the minimum, cleaning and maintenance is a huge painful task.
Common areas; Those vases, lamps, artifacts all need careful looking after, you have paid a price for them after all. If you are in a mood to lighten the look of your home, approach auction houses, they will help double your investment.
So the three sections of declutter you will have are;
Rubbish- this should be your smallest pile, things that cannot be recycled, resold, given to charity, basically unsalvageable items.
Donation- Things of good quality that you do not use but could help someone else. Donation is not broken unusable things, so ask yourself
‘Would I keep or use this if it was given to me in this condition?’
Many charities, social groups like Indus, churches, Homes, Sadan’s accept such items and have sales to raise funds for their organizations.
Sale- profit from goods, making a fast buck always feels good. eBay, Facebook marketplace, Amazon marketplace can do the job and Christies, Sotheby’s, Pundole Auction House are for the finer stuff.
Remember “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
The beauty of decluttering makes you rich in many ways,
It frees the space around you.
It frees your mind of constant desires.
It sets you free to do the things that matter.
So why not declutter- You win anyway!