Posts Tagged by declutter fast

A before and after story:

A before and after story:

One of my best friends from uni is coming to stay next week, so I thought I should tidy up the spare room. Especially because she would have trouble finding the bed if I didn’t!

So I decided I would put Mimi Tanner’s ‘Doll House Method’ into practice. It is just one room, so according to Mimi’s method all you have to do is take everything out of the room that shouldn’t be there, or doesn’t belong there and Voila! The room is instantly less cluttered. Now all I have in the room is a bed and a low chest of drawers which I hope my friend can use for her stuff while she is here.

Here are the before and after shots:

So now all I have to do is deal with the other spare room, which is now FULL of homeless stuff which I transferred from this room – scary photo to follow soon!

But, it is true to say that the room for my friend now looks calm and collected, and no longer makes me feel upset! So a pretty positive result overall!

Boxes and drawers

Right now, I am caught up in the ‘boxes and drawers’ stage of my clutter clearing.
Here’s what I mean by the ‘boxes and drawers’ stage:
I am in LOVE with boxes. Literally. The other day we were in Ikea and it seemed like they had more boxes and storage solutions than ever before. There I was drooling as I wandered down an aisle of boxes. There were wicker ones and cardboard ones, foldable ones, plastics ones, some on wheels and some without lids…all different colours, shapes and sizes… and I wanted to buy them all!!
But I didn’t. You see, I already have a few empty boxes at home, and more importantly, I think I would be totally missing the point if all I did was stock up on boxes and then just fill them up with all the stuff currently lying around my house without a home.
The whole point of clutter clearing is to actually clear your clutter, not into boxes, but out of your life. By piling it into pretty boxes what we would actually be doing is denying it exists, pretending it isn’t really there and then those boxes would always be secretly weighing us down.
I know the alternative is a lot harder work. I know it is really unpleasant. I know it is sometimes even scary. But you can do it. We can do it.
I am being patient with myself; I realized ages ago that you simply cannot deal with all your clutter in one day. You need to work through it slowly, trying out different techniques to see what works for you. Throw, donate or sell one thing a day. Whatever gets you through some of your excess stuff.
And then, once you have things a bit more under control by all means invest in some pretty boxes. You will need them to store some of the things you actually need, to keep them neater and more organized. But remember to always label your boxes, I like ones that come with a little space for your label, otherwise you will never remember what is in each box, and try and keep like with like, don’t mix things up too much – remember what we are ultimately trying to do here, is make your life easier.

What is your Storage personality?

So I have just taken this quiz: http://www.bhg.com/decorating/storage/quiz/

Feel free to take it too, and let me know how difficult you found it to be completely honest. I mean hwo many people are going to actually admit to the fact that they pile up their post for weeks on end and then eventually just stick it in a drawer (as opposed to sorting through it and then including it in your super colour-coded, alphabetically ordered filing system). ! Do some people actually manage to do that?!

My quiz result was:

You are the Schoolteacher, Orderly but not rigid

Key Traits:

  • Predictable and reliable
  • Structured, but not afraid of spontaneity
  • A rule-follower

If I am completely honest, I do not think these results are true at all.

My friend’s maybe would describe me as being ‘Predictable and reliable’ but that is what they know about me outside my home. My home is completely different. There is very little that is ‘Structured’ about my home, and rather than call it ‘spontaneous’, I would call it downright messy!

I strive to be a ‘rule follower’ that is true, and that is one of the reasons why I beat myself up so much about my home being less than perfect and still not clutter-free. I put a lot of pressure on myself and have very high expectactions, which at the moment I invariably am unable to meet.

Why don’t you take the test now and see what light it sheds on you and your hangups about your home. And why don’t we all strive to give ourselves a break every once in a while? I think we deserve it…

If you don’t use it, lose it

Great mantra huh?
I think I am going to try and keep it in mind this week. It worked for me last night, when I finally decided to face my wardrobe.
It’s that time of year, when it is not really long-sleeve weather and it is quite time to pack away all the tights and long jumpers. So my wardrobe has been overflowing with clothes. And it has never been a very tidy wardrobe as it is, so it has just been getting steadily worse, to the point that I was always wearing the same things because I couldn’t face reaching into the dreaded wardrobe to find anything else.
So last night, I found I had a little energy and decided to go for it, reciting the mantra ‘if you don’t use it, lose it!!’.
So all my clothes went into piles on the bed and I sorted through it all systematically, looking at each item in turn and deciding whether or not i had used it this season and if not (however new the item was) it got put into a plastic bag ready to be delivered to a charity shop. Admitedly some of the stuff was so old and tatty it had to go in the rubbish.
My the time I was done I was able to move my Spring & Summer clothes into the wardrobe and for now at least I can actually find things and don’t feel so hard done by about my wardrobe. Now I can actually see that I actually do have some nice things to wear!

The Monday Motivation Factor

It’s Monday today. Sigh.
It’s that dreaded day when you feel you have to ”get up and at em” and GET THINGS DONE.
Which I feel is essentially a good thing as you feel more motivated to do things on a Monday then you maybe do the rest of the week.
Don’t all exercise regimes and diets start on a Monday?
Does your Declutter project start on a Monday too?
Here’s the thing:
It is important to use the Monday Motivation factor to start organising your life, but don’t let the Monday Pressure run away with you.
So many people build their hopes up on a Monday and then get really disappointed and demotivated when they havent done all the things they wanted to do by the end of the day.
And that disappointment can make you come crushing down…
Instead take some of the advice Mimi Tanner kindly sent out to me in one of her emails *Mimi is the author of Declutter Fast:
”1. What is the MAIN thing that, if you don’t make progress on
it today, you’ll be upset about at the end of the day?
Focus on that main thing and do not answer any interruptions
for a time while you’re working on it. People can call back
or come back later if they need to talk to you.
2. If it’s hard to choose that ONE thing, then ask yourself,
what is the one thing that will give you the biggest feeling of
accomplishment and peace of mind – if you make progress on it
today?”
Thanks again Mimi, for some great advice.
For more of Mimi’s Decluttering Tips read about her book: Declutter Fast
Happy Monday!

Living in a ‘throw away society’

I have been pondering a lot lately and writing very little.
I read somewhere that ‘clutter is a problem of the new millenium’ and I think that is so true. Never before have humans been drowning in so much stuff, feeling lost in our own homes.

Surely it should be simple. But the problem seems to stem from our increased wealth, our ability to buy more things, even when we do not need them. For me personally it is about feeling bad about throwing things away. Feeling guilty that I have accumulated so much unneeded material and then having nothing better to do with it than throw it away.

I know I could give things away, but that takes so much longer to do and organize and when I do get into decluttering mode all I want to do is get rid of stuff as quickly as possible! I am just being honest here!

It would be better if I lived in the UK or the US, there there are loads of charity and second hand shops where you can drop things off – I live in Spain and we don’t seem to have gotten around to charity shops yet.

I do however belong to a ‘throw away society’ apparently, and as such it seems it should be normal to buy things just to throw them away a few months of years down the line.

Recently however, I have got to thinking that I would like to start collecting some things to last me. Not many things, just some good quality and personal things which can eventually turn into memories. I suppose it is something that comes with age. Either way, I am going to have to clear away all the useless things which I do not love before I can even start creating a treasure chest of memories…!

Clear just one thing a day

A while ago I came to the conclusion that clearing clutter is not an easy thing to do. Some of you readers may have already known that for a while, but it took me some time to actually realise quite how hard it is.  In my head it sounds easy ‘just tidy up’ but actually ‘tidying up’ is very difficult to do. You can try to tackle a room and come across an item or area that instantly stresses you out, makes you feel guilty, upset, sad, or just prompts you to give up entirely. I guess it is difficult not to identify with the clutter, not feel like it is your fault, your bad, difficult to feel detached enough and motivated to just deal with it.

As you know I have been reading emails and tips by Mimi Tanner, a clutter expert and author of Declutter Fast, and one of the things she said that really caught my attention lately is ‘’Clutter in sight adds to your stress’’. Seeing the clutter around you stresses you out. And trying to deal with a lot at once can make you feel really upset. There is no doubt about it.

So here is another tip Mimi has for when it all seems way too difficult to deal with: Take one thing, just ONE thing and clear it. Whatever you are doing, wherever you are in your day, take one thing and put it where it is supposed to be. Even throwing away a used tissue or a food wrapper counts. It doesn’t have to be big. Start with doing this once a day and then try and increase it. To begin with you will need to keep reminding yourself. You’ll see that it is easy to find one thing that needs to be cleared and half the time it can just be thrown away. Give yourself a pat on the back and know that you have done well. As you get used to this, it should turn into a habit, and you can start clearing more than one thing every day. Build it up slowly.

Soon you’ll find you can pick things up and clear them as you go about your daily life. If nothing else, this technique should help avoid more clutter accumulating in your house, as surface clutter such as wrappers and mail should get cleared up as you go.

I’m going to try doing this, and I’ll let you know how I get on. In the meantime feel free to check out more of Mimi Tanner’s tips here: Declutter Fast.