Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Declutter Negativity

So here is my decluttering method for those of you who don't particularly want to be a minimalist or get rid of all your worldly possessions, but just for those who want to tweak their home to get rid of all those unneeded, unwanted and unloved items that cause a negative vibe in your environment. A vibe we don't need and that contributes to stress and a general sense of unhappiness with your home. The categories of negativity have been listed in the previous introduction post but here is the full breakdown of the categories with a little extra to help guide you through them. You can do these tasks a few at a time, one a day or occasionally whenever you can fit them in.

Task 1- trash, for the recycling bin and empty packaging
It's a nice easy start. It's something that very few people will ever be attached to but can accumulate in our homes. There's been a handful of times where I've helped someone declutter their bedroom and you'd be surprised how much of what you find falls into the following category.of trash, recycling and empty packaging. Imagine you've received a letter from the council saying the bin collectors are going on strike for the next few weeks and your last collection is tomorrow. You'd need to get as much out of your home as possible to avoid being overrun by rubbish. It might be best to start large and get smaller.
So standing in each room ask yourself if there is any trash, anything to go in your recycling bin and any empty packaging or boxes. Then go smaller and look through drawers, behind and under furniture, in the pantry, the fridge, in your car, in bags, in pockets. Those places that trash seems to sneak in!
Some people do like to keep nicer looking packaging but ask yourself why you have it. If you're using an old perfume box to store jewelry in then it has a use. If it's empty packaging just sat in your home though, is it needed? If you love it can you re-purpose it for storage?
You may have things in packaging that aren't yet in use but can be made smaller. For example a spare toothpaste tube, you can get rid of the outer box now. I've now made it a habit when unpacking shopping to get rid of packaging as it comes into my home. Things like removing the cardboard wrap from a pack of yogurts. In most cases individual items in a pack still have the ingredient list, nutrition information and use by dates.
🗒 Note: Once your return period has ended with a store you no longer need the packaging to return. And if an item is faulty or not fit for purpose you can return without the packaging. Double check for anything on warranty that you don't need the box and make sure you have some proof of purchase such as receipt or email invoice if you need to make returns. If you do need the box you can flat pack it down to store more easily and take up less space.

Task 2- out of date or redundant to me
Redundant items might be something like a charger for an old phone that doesn't fit your new one, sports equipment you no longer participate in or a coat your child has outgrown. They are items that no longer serve a purpose to you, your family or your home. These items could be sold, passed on or recycled before trashing.
Out of date items are anything that is over their sell by date such as food, makeup, dead batteries, skin products, medicines, dried up paint, printer inks or any consumable that has now lowered in quality. A lipstick may say its good for 6 months but maybe you've used it for 4 months and it's become dry or has an odd smell too it. There are recycling schemes for batteries, pens, printer inks and many of these items may be cleaned out of their container and the container be recyclable.
Once you get rid of these sorts of items it is easier to see what you actually do have and you know what you are using is in no way harmful or lower quality than it needs to be.
Again work through each room at a time. Even if you think their won't be anything in that room that falls into these categories have a quick check. You may find other things you want to get rid of there.
It's completely fine to go off task and declutter other categories has we work through. These small prompts hopefully trigger the decluttering bug and make it seem a little easier.

Task 3- smell bad and taste bad

This may be food, beauty products, skin care, candles, cleaning products, something that has gone moldy, something with a foisty smell, smoke damaged items, sweaty items, something that smells strongly of chemicals or plastics. Anything that is unpleasant to be around.
You may find an item that can be saved. Maybe you have a pair of trainers that don't smell too pleasant but will wash well and you can get the smell out. But that awful smelling candle you received as a gift is not going to change fragrance.Some of these items can be passed on to someone who may like them or gifted. Some may be donated such as unopened long life food, unopened gift sets or consumables or lightly used perfumes.
Unfortunately some of these may need to be kept such as medications or specialist cleaning items you may need. But you could ask if there are alternatives to items like these.

Task 4- cause me irritation physically or mentally
Think of anything in your home that rubs your skin, makes you sneeze, makes you itch, is difficult or frustrating to use, drops bits, makes an annoying noise, doesn't work as it should. There are so many things that could cause irritation.
Some of these things may be repairable. It could be a door that doesn't shut properly but once you tighten the screws on the hinge it's fine.The main reason for getting rid of these things is to make your home a little more stress free. A lot of little irritations add up and when experienced daily they do not help your mental well being at all.The CD player that jumps, the creeky floorboard, the shoes that rub, the pen that leaks... All small inconveniences but added together are one giant ball of stress! You don't need them in your home or life.

Task 5- broken beyond repair, stained, torn, damaged
Some of us tend to hold onto these items just in case. In the hope we will one day repair them or they may start working again. For these items ask yourself the following.
If this is fixable would I still want to keep this?
Can this be repaired to a good standard?
Is the repair cost worth keeping the item?
If you answer yes to all of these items then make sure you get the item repaired quickly and put it onto your to do list to be done. That way the item can start being some use to you again. If you answer no then it's time for these items to be recycled and moved on. They are taking up space with no purpose to them. That space could be dedicated to other items you love and need.

Task 6- ugly or last choice
There are things in our home that we still make use of but only if we really have to. Such as the cup we only use when all others are dirty, the shirt we wear but only when everything else is in the wash, our least favorite place to sit... These items aren't usually liked very much they're just there. If we can keep on top of the washing and other routines to make sure our favorite items are available then why are we holding onto our next category of last choice items,
We're also going to remove things that we see as ugly. Things that are suppose to be decorative but you just don't like in your space. Of course there's ugly items we need. You might think the hoovers pretty ugly but we're going to have to keep that one. But the ornament you feel you have to keep because it was a gift, well you don't. That hat you don't really like, that half dead plant, the lamp that's just not matching or complimenting any other decor... They can be moved on. Maybe even sold on to bring you back some of the money you spent on them originally.

Task 7- annoying and time wasters
Annoying items could be things that don't seem to work as they should or cause some irritation throughout the day. You may have already removed these items during other categories but a new word can shift your mindset to look at things differently. You may find something you have missed.
The second category is time wasters, again these maybe items not fit for purpose such as a paint brush that drops bristles. It would take longer to paint and may need to be done again or the bristles picked out which takes longer than necessary. Or maybe its entertainment that isn't worth your time. If it takes you a few hour to read a book, watch a film, make a craft, do a puzzle and afterwards you feel like there's an hour of your life you won't get back, then that item has wasted your valuable time. Don't let items cause negativity in your life. Remove them!

Task 8- embarrassing, "not me" or holding bad memories
Things that just "aren't you" anymore or you find embarrassing could be a style you used to love but no longer like, an old collection you no longer have interest in or just items that make you wonder why you even own them, because they are just not very "you" at all
Things that hold bad memories are maybe a souvenir from the worst holiday you've ever been on, items belonging to an ex partner or ex friend, the clothes that don't fit you or maybe an item from somebody who has passed on that just doesn't bring you joy. This last one is tricky as you may have an item from a person who has passed that does bring you to tears but you'd never part with. That emotion comes from missing them and not the item itself. But if you have an item from them and the item itself makes you feel negative maybe look at removing it from your home.

Task 9- borrowed items
Do you have items in your home that don't belong to you? Do you have items on loan that need returning? These are items that can go back.If you have borrowed something that you do use a lot speak to the owner about buying it from them or swapping an item for it or think of purchasing one for yourself. Items that aren't rightfully our own should always be returned quickly.

Task 10- dust collectors and stored away items
Dust collectors are the things that sit in our homes and the only time we really notice them is to dust them or move them about to clean around them. The rest of the time they are just there not really serving any purpose. It's an accumulation of items like this that put together make cleaning difficult and take even longer than it needs to. Clear surfaces are easier to keep clean and surfaces should only hold essentials and things we absolutely love to make it worth while to clean that little bit longer around them.
Stored away items are the items that do nothing but sit in storage. They are just there. We don't see them, don't use them, maybe don't like them but they are in our homes. There are somethings that need to be stored for long periods such as Christmas decor, then there are the other things that are just packed away. Ask yourself why you have stored these and haven't let them go. If it's an item that is hugely sentimental and you would never part with find a way you can display it somewhere in your home to get joy from seeing it or pass it to a family member who can use it. Maybe you have kept some childhood toys and would love to see them played with by your niece or grandchild rather than stuck in a box. If it's just there, sat in a box then ask yourself this. Why do I still have this and can I let it go now?

Task 11- duplicates and just too many
Do you have a lot of duplicate items in your home or anything you feel you just have too much of? Do you open the kitchen cupboard to get a mug and catch the ones falling out? Or have a sock drawer that you could use to build a mountain with? For these items gather them all together and pick out your favorites, the best ones and the ones you really want to keep. Looking at the pile do you need to add more? Select a few until the amount works for you. If you have any leftovers then these items can be moved on.

Task 12- in need, a good gift or worth selling
It's a nice one to finish on. We often have things in our homes that we do like and make use of. But if someone we love said they really needed that item we would happily give it to them with no need to replace it. Looking around each room ask yourself the following...
Who would like this as a gift?
Could this go to someone in need?
Would I be happy to sell this and have the money instead?
You have just given yourself 3 categorise of very useful things to move on. Items you can gift, items for charitable causes you support and items you can sell.See if you have any of these in your home and feel the difference it makes to you to have something you are happy to give to others. It's a lovely feeling

However you choose to work through these tasks, or add you own negative words you don't want in your space, the idea is to not overwhelm yourself. It isn't about getting rid of things you need just to free up space or letting go of things you love and enjoy rashly to make more space. The idea is to make your home more focused around you and your needs, to reflect what you like and to bring you a sense of calm and join. I wish you all the luck however you choose to tackle your space.

Much love,

Sunday, February 23, 2020

A New Way To Declutter and Minimise

Minimalism. Although a lifestyle for many it has become a trend over the recent years. There's been a surge of Youtubers, podcasts, books and even TV shows based around the art of minimalism and decluttering our homes. It was something I came across whilst suffering with my anxiety at it's peak and something I loved the concept and values off. So I embarked on my minimalism journey, not for the aesthetics or the challenges, but for my own well being. Clutter made me more anxious and small irritations around my home could build up and spiral into a panic attack. I wanted the simpler life, a home that worked for me and to avoid the guilt of wasting money. 

In fact for me it worked so well that I feel minimalism as a lifestyle helps control my anxiety to a livable and manageable level. Of course I'm not stating it is a cure or a quick fix, but for me it really, truly helps. I was so enthusiastic that I run several Facebook groups, with my friends as members, to help others declutter their homes and continue to watch my favorite Youtubers on their own journeys and with their own wisdom. It worked so well for me I wanted to shout it from the rooftops and help all see the light! I know, dramatic right. But I had the same conversation with many other people which normally went something along the lines of...

"I have too much stuff/ buy too much/ feel like a hoarder and I've tried the book/ challenge/ video series BUT I find it really hard to get rid of things I love...."

Wait a minute. Minimalism isn't about getting rid of things you truly love or things you need. Why would you feel like that.

"Because the book/ challenge/ video said I needed to declutter my clothes/ books/ stationary/ tech/ sentimental items and I can't part with them."

So I saw the problem with many methods out there. The categories themselves sound like nice items to get rid of. And for some people those categorize are also their passion, hobby or collection. They've spent a lot of time and money acquiring these things and the thought of going through them to toss things out seems intimidating or too much. So they do what most humans do. Avoid! Minimalism and decluttering shouldn't feel that way. And although there will always be people that struggle to part with anything, may be due to emotional hoarding or a past trauma, for those that just feel it a struggle or some resistance to letting their things go, I decided to make it easier. It's all in the mindset and wording. You may see the category of shoes a difficult one that you don't want to part with but if that category was items that are uncomfortable, worn out items or items that have a bad smell to them, you would see those as something you could let go of. The mindset of 'I can't get rid of my shoes' shifts to 'I could maybe let those boots go that nip my toes and have discolored a little.'

By looking at your home and deciding what causes you a pain, makes you uncomfortable, causes inconvenience, is linked to negative feelings, isn't fit for purpose or doesn't do you a service, it is easier to see what can go. So I came up with my new method. I'm calling it...

Declutter Negativity

A master list will be available soon for you all to work through if you feel this method may help. It's a good place to start for those who feel they don't know where to start or feel resistance to other methods. Alternatively it's great for those of us who want to fine tune our already decluttered home or for those who don't want to be a minimalist but just don't want useless items in their space.

Take the categorise at your own pace. Whether you work on these daily, over a week, over a month or over the next year. Whether you go through each category thoroughly or continually repeat and revisit them. Whether you get half way through and feel you are done. Whatever happens with this process will leave you with less negativity in your space. You can work through one room or area at a time by asking yourself the following questions in any order you choose.

I want you to stand in each room and say out loud "I'm going to remove all the items that are....."
  • trash
  • for the recycling bin
  • empty packaging
  • out of date
  • redundant to me
  • smell bad
  • taste bad
  • cause me irritation physically or mentally
  • broken beyond repair
  • stained
  • torn
  • ugly
  • always my last choice
  • dust collectors
  • just stored away all the time
  • embarrassing to me
  • not "me"
  • holding bad memories
  • annoying
  • a waste of time
  • borrowed from somebody else (return them and if needed buy your own or ask the person if you can buy the items from them)
  • duplicates
  • something I feel I have too many of
  • a good gift for somebody else (regift them)
  • in need to a charity I would like to support
  • worth selling on so I can have the money instead
Just think of the negative things you would not want present in your home. When you imagine the perfect living environment what does it not include? Remove the items that go against that idea of a dream home or living environment. And please think of moving on items responsibly. Before it is trashed or sent to landfill can it be gifted, donated, sold, recycled or passed on to somebody you know.

A more in depth list of each category will be available soon. 

Much love,

Becky xx