Marie Kondo has taken the world by storm with her Netflix show Tidying Up and sparked a decluttering craze. It might seem like we're just waking up to the physical and psychological benefits of living with less but pioneers like Kate Ibbotson, from A Tidy Mind, have been helping people declutter for years. We asked her to give us some tips on how to start living clutter-free.
Kate Ibbotson from A Tidy Mind
Living 'clutter-free' will look different to everyone - after all, the number of possessions which is right for one person isn't the same as for the next. A clutter-free home simply means that every item adds value to the lives of the inhabitants in some way, either because it's useful - like a potato peeler, or because it's associated with a positive feeling - like a photo album. Or best of all, beautiful and useful – like a favourite winter coat.
Once a home has been decluttered, it's is easier to organise the possessions which remain. The space feels calmer and more of a sanctuary, plus it's easier to clean. Also, time and money will be saved by knowing exactly what you own and where to find it. Once clutter is cleared, this tends to leave room for creativity so often people find they feel motivated to start new projects and achieve goals. There is even a theory that decluttering is related to losing excess weight and a healthy lifestyle.
Here are some top tips to help and perhaps inspire you to go on your own decluttering journey:
Have a plan of attack
Don't try to declutter your whole house in a week - you'll exhaust and overwhelm yourself. Declutter in bite-size chunks of between 30 minutes and a couple of hours. Focus on contained spaces such as a drawer, cupboard or shelf. Arm yourself with paper and a pen to make notes of 'actions' and designate rubbish, recycling and donation bags
Start with 'storage' areas
Lofts, basements or hard to reach areas at the top of wardrobes are prime locations to stash something quickly to avoid dealing with it. If you’re serious about clearing your clutter, start with these areas first and then you'll have enough space to store things that you actually need.
Make a decision
In the decluttering industry, we say that clutter is often a result of decision delay. It can be hard to decide about what to do with some items and seem easier to pass them by. But by pushing through that challenge, that's how you will see real results.
Avoid the ‘selling cycle’
It’s perfectly understandable to want to sell second hand items if they promise a good return. But be honest about the time it takes to do so and whether you are willing and able to invest the energy. Don’t be one of those people who has bags hanging around for months (or years) containing items which they intend to sell.
Donating to charity can give you a real sense of satisfaction at doing a good deed and contributing to a shared public goal. As human beings, we naturally want to be helpful and it helps us feel connected as a community. So, by making donations, you're also increasing your own levels of contentment.
Don't over attach
Remember that memories aren't in 'things', they are inside us instead. Of course, it is important to keep possessions which remind you of a loved one or a particular experience, but do you need 50 of such things? Taking a photo can help you hold on to the special memories or meanings attached to objects without taking up much space at all - you might be surprised at how much satisfaction you can get from a two-dimensional reproduction.
A Tidy Mind is a Professional Decluttering & Organising service and we work with clients in who feel overwhelmed in their homes in terms of the level of possessions or general disorganisation. We are passionate about calming the chaos and ‘clutter-free’ living because of the life changing benefits.