Best way to start decluttering

Decluttering is the new black.

Every second person seems to have decluttering as their New Year’s resolution. Google and you will find heaps of sites. I often wonder how so many own so much of so little value that they want to throw away! (And do they realise that they have to stop bringing things into the house?)

And there are hundreds of books. I should know. I own many of them. Funny thing, owning the books doesn’t seem to make things more organised. Ironically, they just add to the clutter!!!

And then there’s the TV shows. Have you seen Hoarders? Although the people clearly have serious physiological illnesses, the show lets you feel your own house is not too bad.

Anyway, there are as many different approaches to decluttering as there books on the subject. So how to start?

Most say to ask three questions of an object:
1. Do I love it? (If you do and the object adds value to your life, then why are you not displaying it or treating it with respect and care?)
2. Do I use it? (Be honest. Have you used it in the last 12 months?)
3. Do I need it? (The amazing thing here is when you are on the path to decluttering you tend to review objects and give a different answer than you did the first or second time you looked at an object.)

But that’s all well and good. Just how should you progress through all your stuff?

1. You could do it slowly – one object at a time, day by day, working randomly around the house OR
2. You could tackle one room, spending 15 to 30 minutes a day with three boxes – keep, donate, trash, and moving to a new room each week. (Be warned. If you start big and pull things out without moving them on or organising the spaces, the house will look worse.) OR
3. You could tackle “hot spots”, places where clutter accumulate, like the dining table, the home office desk, the linen press, the wardrobe OR
4. You could move everything out of a room or cupboard into a spare or junk room. As you use it, return it to the original room or cupboard. After one year, toss whatever is left. You clearly don’t need it.

As I work full-time, I am doing “the one thing a day” way. I am not worrying about possessions that belong to other family members. Why should I nag them and fret about their stuff when I can’t keep my stuff in order? When my glass house is gorgeous, then I will throw stones or pebbles their way.

It might be slow but I have all year. This journey is a long one.

Today’s decluttered item = a collection of what is rubbish from my bedside cabinet drawer. Now I know I said I was doing one thing a day but sometimes when you open a drawer to find something to declutter, a whole bunch of stuff jumps out at you without any effort. Such is this collection: a card with security details of a car I sold over 2 years ago; a card to suck you into a gym; empty packaging for a nail file; old, hair elastic without any elastic left; string to put on glasses so they can hang around your neck (which I would never do, glasses are not jewellery and hanging them on a string is so aging); a piece of plastic packaging from I don’t know what and a piece of ribbon from who knows where. Sometimes I cannot even explain to myself why I put some things away and not straight in the bin.

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