Before you read this article, if you are worried whether you are a hoarder or would like to see where you are on the hoarder spectrum between levels 1-5, read my article 'Am I a Hoarder' here.
Questions people frequently ask are:
What is defined as Clutter?
Is it harmful to my physical &/or mental wellbeing?
Can decluttering change my life for the better?
Why do I not seem to be able to declutter myself?
Useful Tips on the process of decluttering
Where do I start?
1. What is Clutter?
According to the disctionary clutter is:'A collection of things lying around in an untidy state.'
This could manifest in one or more of the following ways:
Untidy kitchen surfaces can make food preparation difficult. The items on the surface may be useful but not for the task in hand. As a direct result they are in the way and therefore cluttering the space.
Cluttered Kitchen Cupboards where items are not visible, piled up and difficult to retrieve, can result in items falling out & causing injury.
Cluttered home offices with piles of paperwork can result in important papers getting lost or not being attended to on time.
In each of the cases above it may be that the disorganised way the items are managed creates a cluttered environment and not necessarily that there is too much 'stuff'. However, that being said, generally cluttered living spaces is the result of a combination of both too much stuff & a lack of organisation skills.
In extreme cases the posessions take over peoples lives and renders some rooms completely disfunctional and extremely hazardous, affecting all the occupants.
As we have more knowledge today about the issues around hoarding, as discussed in my article mentioned above, it is hoped that such extreme cases can be averted in the future.
2. Is clutter harmful to my physical &/or mental wellbeing?
I passiontely believe that our homes should be a haven for rest & relaxation, which is stress free and contributes in a positive way to our overall health & wellbeing both mentally & physically.
Sadly in the current general holistic approach to health, the ambience of our homes is rarely referred to in the mix. This is something I very much want to address
The pictures shown above are stressful to look at, let alone live in. I believe 100% that living in an environment that we dislike & find stressful is very bad for our overall health and wellbeing. It saps our motivation to make the changes we need to, and so the cycle continues.
In truth, our homes should be the one thing that we can be in control of and therefore not be the cause of stress and anxiety.
After a hard days work & possibly a long commute, as we enter the home, we ideally want to feel that we are walking into an environment where we can rest, relax and go about our business in an unhindered manner. Hallways are thus very important - it is our welcoming space. Ideally they should be clutter free, and maybe have fresh flowers, a plant, or a loved ornament.
If we contiue to ignore the things that we dislike about our home, we are left with a continuous residual anxiety.
This anxiety will be ongoing in our sub conscious minds. If unchecked, it can manifest in extreme anxiety, an overwhelming sense of not being able to cope and ultimately depression.
3. Can Decluttering change my life for the better?
Yes it can........
If we rid ourselves of unnecessary items everything becomes more managenable and thus our anxiey reduces.
Decluttering creates more space and a sense of order.
If everything has a 'home' so to speak, it becomes easier for all the occupants of a home to find things.
There is less waste and unecessary spend on purchasing items that we cannot locate or on replacing food that has gone out of date.
An ordered and practical kitchen can make food preparation enjoyable and even relaxing. This may also lead to more healthy eating patterns.
With a more spacious environment, we are able to see and enjoy the items that we love such as pictures and ornaments etc.
With the inner contentment which can arise from an improved ambience in our homes, we become more mindful of self care, nurture & love.
We can begin to introduce things that add to a relaxing atmosphere such as playing more nourishing music, having fresh flowers and lighting aromatic candles in the evening.
With a renewed confidence in our home, we can be re-motivated to entertain friends and family again.
4. Why do I not seem to be able to declutter myself?
Often people feel overwhelmed by the task in hand. Not kowing where to start, often results in procrastination.
Some people attempt to start, but if they have no system in place to measure their progress, they soon feel that they are not making real headway, they falter, get demotivated, and eventually give up.
This can then result in an overwhelming feeling of being a failure.
If someone does not have natural organising skills, they are almost trying to do the impossible by decluttering alone.
There is nothing wrong in acknowledging that we need help, guidance and support with any tasks that appear daunting to us.
I may be a brilliant organiser, but I acknowledge that I am not good at DIY so I always get help with tasks I find daunting. No one is good at everything, so we all need help with certain things and it is nothing to be ashamed of.
5. Useful Tips on the process of decluttering
Make a decisive decision to tackle the issue.
Decide whether you need the help of a professional organiser.
Ask friends or family if they have people they have worked with or know friends who may be able to make recommendations in this regard.
If you have met someone such as myself who has inspired you, make contact to have an exploratory conversation (07775 728447)
Prior to making such a call, have an idea of what budget you can allocate to the decluttering process.
Also consider how you would like to work - when is the best time for you, what are your energy levels like, are you able to dedicate a week for example to tackle the task, alternatively, would it suit you to do things at a slower pace.
If you have a family and/or partner who reside with you, are they onboard for the decluttering process?
If you decide you want to tackle the task alone make careful plans as outlined above.
Ideally get a friend or family member to work with you.
If you really struggle to get rid of things, it may be that for you it is best to start with the items that you would find easiest to give away first.
If there is a specific aspect of your home that is burdenesome such as paperwork, tackle this first. The most important thing is to work on this until you have decluttered, reorganised, refiled and bought all the paperwork into one place in your home. Do not be tempted to be diverted to other tasks.
You may prefer to tackle one room at a time. Once again ensure that you focus and continue on the room until it has been decluttered, reorganised & cleaned ensuring tops are clutter free, cupboards are ordered and if working in your kitchen that cooking implements and oils etc. are within easy reach of the oven & hob.
Once you have decluttered you may consider alternative storage solutions but the decluttering MUST be done first. A;so you do not necessarily need to spend money on expensive drawer dividers for example. A robust shoe box can be equally effective in storing a specific item and sit within a draw.
Step 3 - What you will need
Ensure you have either boxes, bin, charity & recycling bags.
Strong gloves, tape, scissors, marker pens and labels at hand.
There are a number of choices of what to do with each item:-
Give to a specific person or community group/school for example
Donate to a charity
Place in Household recycling that is collected
Take to a council recycling centre
Anything that genuinely cannot be recycled or given away will have to go in landfill, but aim to keep this to a minimum.
Ensure that you remove the items from your home as you go along, so that you can see the freeing up of space as you progress. This can be motivating and also makes the task easier.
Take regular breaks and try to enjoy what you are doing. If it is something that you have procrastinated over for a long time, be kind to yourself. Do not get over ambitious and get too exhausted. Measure is the key, otherwise you will have a decluttering spree but not complete the task thoroughly & effectively.
If you start the decluttering process and realise that you cannot manage the decluttering process alone, seek help.
Good luck & you know where I am if you would like to use any of my services.
Here are some images of my home as evidence that I live by what I suggest to clients:
Blogs/Articles to follow are:
'The role of a Professional Organiser'
'How to maintain a clutter free home once the main decluttering process has been completed'.
With Very Beat Wishes,
https://www.pleasanthomes.co.uk/home- Create a Beautiful Home that you Love
Phone: 07775 728447