Is everyone decluttering at the moment? It’s on my list and if you saw my house you’d understand why 😉 but what does it actually mean? I’ve been testing it out this week and I think it means more than just chucking stuff out. I think it means reviewing how you do things, what you have, how you use your space (physical or virtual) and considering how you want it to work. Spending a lot of time at home as many of us are is a good time to take a step back and ask yourself what works for you and what doesn’t.
What exactly counts as decluttering? Does it include your finances? Your social media? Your computer files or your photographs? All of these elements can get messy and cluttered over time.
I got going by installing a couple of new apps on my phone for regular items that I like to refer to, but hadn’t got round to uploading, and as I’m home based for now I moved the travel apps to the back ‘page’ of my phone screens. My most frequently used stuff is right there when I open up my phone.
In the house there was of course removal of stuff (bin, recycle, charity sorting) and a fair bit of cleaning involved. Like all the guides say to do, I have taken a little bit at a time, a single drawer or one bedside table, to keep it manageable and also because then you get to see quick results. Motivating! It’s also easier to keep up the element of ruthlessness required for an effective declutter if you go gradually, after a while being presented with so many decisions wears out my ability to chuck and move on quickly.
The kitchen drawer of insanity was brought to order, which made me feel that decluttering is a means of making sure that you know what you have and that you can find it when you want it. The creation of time savings that future me will thank me for. Cost savings appear too, where instead of thinking that I need to buy more batteries I can actually see that I have plenty of AA ready for use.
Another minor irritation was lifted when I decided to keep my current handbag on a new hook I put up on the back of the door. Bingo – it’s off my nice hallway table and now is out of sight from any windows or doors which I’m sure is a good security move.
Cleaning out the tinned food cupboard was satisfying too and I only found two seriously out of date items. I felt grateful that we are able to have a store of food and now I have a better idea of what’s in stock.
I have two plants by my computer and they had been bugging me as they had outgrown their pots and so with constantly drying out often dropped dead leaves. I realised that rather than repotting them I could shrink them back to being the right size for the windowsill and give them a new lease of life, so I divided them, kept the healthiest looking bits and they are happily back in place with no dead bits. They look better, are easier to keep and don’t make a mess.
Is there a spiritual or energy element involved in this? I’m open to thinking that there is. There’s no doubt that a small corner of tidy, well organised belongings brings a sense of satisfaction and gives us less to think about. Our lives are generally busy and cluttered and I’m all in favour of stripping it back to feel calmer, less frantic and more on top of things. I didn’t do anything with crystals or oils (frequently referred to in decluttering session blogs) but did burn a scented candle to increase the sensory pleasure created. I also do like to take a shower after a decluttering/cleaning session, perhaps after dusting and cleaning it’s purely a practical thing that I want to clean myself, but I also feel that its a completion of the process, a mini reset and a fresh start.
I’m probably happiest doing this alone as I can work faster that way but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t get others involved, especially where you would like to declutter their stuff. Make it a team effort and share the satisfaction.
To make the experience a pleasant one I recommend starting with a nice hot cup of something and perhaps a podcast or other entertainment to listen to. A biscuit would obviously be a bonus. Workers need rewards. Perhaps after taking that shower you could spend a few moments decluttering your mind. Take a mindful walk and when you get home go and peek at what you achieved again. It’s a retrieving me kind of activity with a pinch of feel good.
I haven’t “finished” decluttering and likely may never do so, but a bit at a time feels good and so overall this scores fairly well (okay doesn’t exactly make the ‘exhilaration’ criteria) and I’ll be doing it again!