Wanting to De-clutter? Here Are Three Things to Help

The Author

E. Alana James

E. Alana James

Dr E Alana James is reinventing herself again! Coming full circle to the first love of her life - art - and bringing back to her images all the lessons of her life as author, researcher, academic and wife. Concerned mostly with the idea of images as vehicles for expression of the truth of our inner and outer life experience.

One of the side attributes of living in the Western world is that we tend to collect to many things. This is deadly for any woman who wants to reinvent her life.  We have to make room for the new by moving the old out of our way. We need to clean up the space, get a breath of fresh air, before the new ideas, strategies or possessions can come in. This article gives three easy ideas on how to make de-cluttering easy and efficient.


You Don’t Have To Get Rid of Everything Just Get It Out Of the Way

Part of the trauma of de-cluttering is having to make all those decisions. Are you going to keep it? If you’re not then should you sell it? And then all the time it takes to get it sold comes into your mind and you may get so discouraged you stop before you start. It can be completely self-defeating. Remember, the goal is to open up space and to get the things that are no longer serving you out of your way. That does not mean they have to be out of your life.

A great solution is to buy a lot of boxes all the same size. Ten or 20 will do for a start. Then, armed with the boxes in the middle of the floor, you look around the room and as you see things you ask yourself, “Does this serve my life now?”Anything that doesn’t goes in a box. The advantage here is that all the boxes stack neatly and don’t take up much room. Having a wall covered with nice boxes is a great advantage over having a room filled with clutter.

You will want to write on the outside of the box what is in it before you put it in the stack on the wall. Or perhaps you will want to record the contents in some other way, to keep an inventory system. Once your life has moved on, you can revisit the boxes and if you have not used these things in over a year decide how you might want to dispose of them. Nevertheless, that is work for another day and for now you have made space.

Pass Things On To Friends for a Small Cost or Be Generous, Give Things to Others

I have a girlfriend who is going through a major de-cluttering. She was about my size and offered for me to come over and look at the clothes she was moving on. It was great fun and I was more than willing to pay her for the things that she would have been taking to a secondhand store. For less than 200 I got a new wardrobe of great clothes, hardly worn, that would have cost me a fortune.  I also helped a friend, and didn’t have to go shopping. This made me think that for any of us de-cluttering, we can put the things we know that are good by the door. As friends come and go, they can decide if anything should go home with them.  If some of the things are worth selling, you can just say that you were hoping to sell them and your friends may help out there as well.

Finally there are always people in need.  While there are also organizations that are set up to take care of reworking clothes for charity, there are also small stashes that may be of more help.  Does your local church support the poor families in their congregation?  Do any of your friends have ideas about how to put your de-cluttered items to good use?

Take One Room at a Time and Keep Motivated

If you are up against a serious problem don’t expect it all to be done instantly, take one room at a time and then celebrate the difference.  For instance if you have old pictures all over the house don’t work on just the pictures – take a room at a time and make a difference there – then move on.  In this way you make a space for you new and de-cluttered life to emerge, helping to motivate the rest of the process.  Keeping your motivation up is difficult so always ending on an up note is a good strategy.  You don’t want to work so hard you drop into bed exhausted because then the next time you think about pressing on with the next bit you remember the exhaustion.  A good strategy to keep motivated is to set aside two hours once a week.  Make progress on one area, a closet, a part of a room, etc and then stop and go off and enjoy the next part of your day.  It will make it easier to come back the following week.

Good luck with your de-cluttering project.  Whatever you do, don’t allow your self- talk to be discouraged or self-deprecating part of living a Western life with its many options and complexities is that we all get clogged up with stuff from time to time.  Pass them on and you’ll find yourself more open for the next adventure!