It seems like everyone has been in KonMari-mode in the last year, thanks to the best selling book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and the accompanying Netflix series. Interestingly, I haven’t read the book and only managed 2 episodes of her show, but I have picked up on the fundamentals of what she preaches from the vast amount of people sharing and living the Marie Kondo way.
I’m not sure if I’ve just naturally been influenced as a result, or whether it’s an age thing but I’ve really found myself striving for a more decluttered life. Gone are the days of me buying stuff just for the sake of it: endless homewares, unnecessary amounts of makeup, or poor quality fashion – I’m now striving not only for better quality, but to refine what I have, wherever possible. Having too much clutter in my home is stressful and the gradual accumulation of junk is a never-ending cycle which can feel pretty overwhelming, breaking this cycle has been one of the best things I’ve achieved in my 30s so I thought I’d share my top tips.
// Stop Spending
One of the first steps to decluttering, is to stop spending (believe it or not!). Back in my 20s I was buying obscene amounts of cheap fast fashion that I wouldn’t need, and didn’t last. Obviously not everybody has the budget for higher quality items (I’m 32, with a good job) but the fundamental point is wasting money on the small, unnecessary purchases is the first step to breaking the habit. I try to ask myself ‘Do I need it?” before buying something, which gives me time to slow down and recognise that there is a distinct difference between wanting something and needing it.
// Refine, Refine, Refine
Once you’ve put a plug on the constant spending and addition of ‘stuff’ in your home, you can look to refine what you do have. Looking at your home holistically can feel a bit overwhelming, so I like to start room by room. I usually start with my bedroom, clearing out my wardrobe and looking at what I’m going to recycle, sell, give away or donate. A couple of months ago I had an enormous clear out of my wardrobe, donating a huge amount of my clothes to charity. It felt really good to be honest with myself and let go of things that I’d had for years and knew I’d never wear again, or pass on some completely brand new (tag on!) items that had been bought on a whim. It doesn’t stop with your wardrobe, go through your makeup, book stash, magazine stash, kitchen and bathroom cupboards and identify if you’re really ever going to use the products again. If you have ‘the fear’ aka what if I throw this out but wish I hadn’t, ask yourself: “what’s the worst thing that would happen if I got rid of this?” – ultimately, most things are replaceable should you ever have regret (but chances are, you’ll forget you ever owned it).
// Repurpose & Recycle
The art of decluttering isn’t all about mindlessly throwing everything you own out, it’s about looking at where you can also repurpose or recycle items. Can you use some of those shoe boxes for storage in your kitchen drawers? Could that dress that you never wear because it’s broken, be fixed? This is the area that I probably need to work on more myself, but setting yourself mini tasks to get things fixed up or recycled is a good place to start. I’ve got a dress that I absolutely love that’s lost a few buttons and it’s been sat at the bottom of my laundry basket for months. I’m going to aim to get it fixed this week, so I can practice what I preach.
I find writing lists and plans of what I want to tackle can really help the whole process feel less exhausting. The art of decluttering should ultimately be a positive one, and you don’t need to do it all at once. Living a more minimal life doesn’t mean you can’t ever buy anything again, but will help you assess whether you really need what it is that you’re buying, and in the words of Marie Kondo: does it spark joy?
If the thought of decluttering your world, still feels a bit scary, here are 5 mini decluttering jobs that are easy and feel good, which should help get you started:
- Clear out your sock drawer and throw out any lone socks
- Burn or get rid of candles with little or no wax
- Review how you store food products
- Pick an overlooked spot to declutter (on top of the fridge or the laundry are my clutter culprits), garage or garden shed etc
- Sort through the pile of shoes in your wardrobe
Are you living a cluttered or decluttered life?