Although we vowed to do away with resolutions in 2019, we’re giving into one January cliché; decluttering. Now is the perfect time to sort through your belongings and get things organised to create a peaceful sanctuary.
It might seem like a daunting task, but there is plenty to gain from giving things away. Studies have found that owning fewer possessions can improve our mood and decrease stress. More importantly, we are living in a time where the environment is struggling to cope with the amount of waste we produce, and things need to change. Now is the time to consider the impact of our consumeristic habits and finally cure our obsession with stuff because decluttering your home will affect so much more than the ease of locating your keys in the morning.
Here are five tips (and we went in depth with this one) to help create a clutter-free lifestyle.
Written by Sarah Mourtos
It starts at the shops
Before you even begin to clear out your wardrobe or tackle that second draw under your desk, you need to evaluate your spending habits. Any decluttering efforts will become redundant if you continue to make thoughtless purchases. Failing to break these habits will keep you stuck in a cycle of 1) feeling overwhelmed about all your stuff, 2) having a big purge of all your stuff, and then 3) going to the shops where you inadvertently buy more stuff. Before making a purchase, ask yourself whether it will add value, bring joy, or be beneficial to your life. Consider whether you have the space to store it, and if not, what things must leave your life to make room for this new purchase. The aim is not to never shop again. It’s about developing smarter and healthier shopping habits. Answering these questions forces you to become aware of your consumption and helps you make purchases with intention rather than impulsion.
Don’t wait till spring to start cleaning
Or till the beginning of a new year for that matter. While these are the times when we usually haul out the vacuum cleaner and trek into the unkept territory of the *Monica cupboard*, you should commit to doing a deep clean every season. Aim to sort through your belongings and get rid of things that aren’t of use to you anymore. With the remaining items, ensure they all have a dedicated space within the home. If everything has a place, daily tidying becomes a cinch, and you avoid creating piles of miscellaneous belongings. These piles typically start because we don't have a spot to store the things in the first place. This is where a junk drawer -even in the most organised homes- comes in handy because sometimes there is no rational place to store Blu Tack and the measuring tape. It might seem counterproductive but having a space dedicated to sweeping away odds and sods is no drama if the majority of your home is in order. On the whole, a meticulous quarterly clean will set the foundations for a clutter-free space which is then manageable during the day-to-day.
Right image via @beckwardworth
Does it spark joy?
It wouldn’t be a true decluttering article if there weren’t some mention of the clean queen Marie Kondo, who has organised the world one wardrobe at a time with her bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. While her methods have sparked controversy in the past, especially when she details how she expresses gratitude towards her belongings at the end of each day, we LOVE her. One of her biggest tips for streamlining your possessions is to ask yourself whether it sparks joy. If the answer is yes, you keep. If no, you move it along to a new home. This thought process is particularly handy when tackling a point of contention in many people’s lives, the wardrobe.
We have already dived into the benefits of having a capsule wardrobe and even provided a simple guide on how to build one, so I shall avoid dragging on about them anymore. Just know we’re big fans here at The UNDONE and guarantee they will make getting dressed ten times easier. Decluttering is an important step to creating the perfect capsule wardrobe. However, a big purge of your clothes can be scary if you’re a chronic holder-onto-er. We develop sentimental attachments to clothes or cox ourselves into believing that we might need them one day for a fancy-dress party. To that, I ask how many fancy dress parties have you attended in the past 12 months? Answer: not enough to warrant keeping that hot pink sequined bomber jacket.
If you’re still finding it difficult to let go, you can enact an amendment to the Marie Kondo method to make it feel less concrete. When something no longer sparks joy and you are still unsure, put it in a bag under your bed for a season instead of giving it away. If you go to reach for the item, that’s a good indication you’re not finished with it yet. If after three months you don’t give it a second thought, then it’s ready to go.
Make tidying a habit
There are some things we do each morning without fail; brush our teeth, make our bed, put on deodorant. Tidying needs to be approached in the same way if you want to make a clutter-free lifestyle stick. It should become a habit rather than a chore. Make it a priority to set time aside each day to clean up your space. This could be before you head off to work or go to bed. Regardless, make sure it happens. Providing that everything has a home, it should only take 10 minutes. Habitual tidying will keep your mind clear, your days productive, and encourage you to maintain your organised space. It will also make quarterly deep cleans much easier because you aren’t starting from scratch.
Be realistic about your minimalistic
For many, the idea of living in a white-walled house with nothing in the cupboards seems like a pretty bleak existence. For others, it sounds like absolute bliss. One of the reasons why people become apprehensive about cutting down on their possessions is because they believe the former is the goal. A minimalistic, clutter-free lifestyle will look different for everyone. The common aim is to become more mindful of our consumption. Have you created a sanctuary full to the brim with things you genuinely use and enjoy? That is perfectly alright. Your living room doesn’t look like a contemporary Scandinavian hotel lobby? That’s fine too. It’s about creating your version of a clutter-free lifestyle and by identifying your realistic limits you’re setting yourself up for success in the long run.