Ever said any of the following to yourself?
• Even if I can’t use it, I’ll keep it for someone who can.
• It was too expensive to get rid of now.
• It reminds me of a special time or person.
• One day it might fit me.
• I’ll read it when I have more time.
• It may look like a mess to others but it’s organised chaos to me.
We use a million excuses to justify the physical clutter that collects on our desks, in our wardrobes, on our bench tops and on other unsuspecting surfaces around our homes. But instead of rationalising our behaviour to ourselves and others, it may be more helpful to ask: how do I feel when I live, sleep or work amongst the clutter? Or what emotions come up for me when I think about sorting through the piles and files to clear the mess?
For many would-be hoarders, the mere idea of getting rid of clutter can create varying degrees of anxiety, guilt, embarrassment and shame. For others who struggle to sort and clear their clutter, there is often a misled belief that the items represent some kind of extension of who we are at our very core.
In order to make progress in the battle of the mess, it’s important to understand what our relationship with the clutter represents. For those drowning in a sea of insignificant memorabilia, a mounting floordrobe, or dust-coated items untouched in years, there is help at hand and you can start today.
5 Tips to Declutter
1. Start small
Bite-sized chunks are key. Start with one pile, one shelf or one drawer. The act of sorting even one area free from clutter can help clear the physical and mental cloud to get the ball rolling.
2. Get real
What’s really important to you? If you haven’t worn or used an item for several years, give it to a charity, sell online or bin it.
3. Find clutter a home
Aim to sort and file papers and items to a permanent home, behind closed doors and drawers, rather than leave them on open shelves and surfaces. Keeping the items out of sight reduces the often overwhelming assault on our already overloaded senses.
4. Picture this
Imagine a life without clutter. Picture how you will operate at your desk with the papers gone or how it will feel to sleep in a room minus the maze of clothing or books.
5. Document it
Take before and after pictures as a reminder of the progress you’ve made and the state you choose not to return to.