Feng shui practitioners believe that clutter and rubbish trap the ‘chi’, the energy that flows throughout both your home and life. Little wonder therefore that ‘decluttering’ has now become big business, with ‘professionals’ arriving at homes throughout the land to ‘free the chi’!
In the States there’s even a Clutterers Anonymous, which applies the Twelve-Step Programme first modelled by Alcoholics Anonymous to issues of clutter and hoarding. Scary stuff!
In today’s fast-paced life, it’s easy for people to become overwhelmed by too many possessions, too much junk mail, too much paperwork…and on it goes. It’s easy to get to the point where you simply can’t see your way out of the mess and that’s where a major declutter comes in…but before it gets bad enough to bring in the professionals, here’s how to do a DIY declutter…
Keep it short and simple
The last thing you want to do when you’re decluttering is to get bogged down, so make it a series of baby steps. Often the initial excitement of ‘offloading’ can cause people to do too much too soon and they then end up in stacks of ‘not sure where this goes’ piles. Result? Frustration and inevitable giving up. Instead, set yourself decluttering sessions of fifteen to twenty minutes and use a timer with a bell to call a halt to your session.
Box it up
Source three large plastic or cardboard boxes – preferably with handles for easy transportation – and write on the sides ‘put away’, ‘store’ and ‘donate or sell’. Also source heavy-duty bin bags and carry one with you as well for items which are clearly rubbish and intended for the bin.
Start with hallways and other areas where there is general traffic and which are in clear view of visitors. Pick up any items which are lying on the ground or hanging from doorknobs and place in one of your three boxes.
Sort it out
Once your session is over, focus on the cache of items you’ve retrieved from that particular pick-up session. If possible, drive the box for ‘donate’ straight to a charity shop and the bag of rubbish straight to the civic amenity site or put it into an outside bin.
If, for example, you’ve tidied the phone table or a desk, sort the pile into pens, paper clips, notepads, post-it notes etc, and put each item away in its proper place.
By using this method – small, bite-sized chunks of decluttering – you can work your way gradually around your house until everything is once again either disposed of or in its rightful place!
Avoiding another build-up
There are two key points as regards decluttering. One is to spend fifteen minutes a day on a single drawer, desk, work surface or shelf so that no build-up occurs. The other is to have adequate storage in your home – which can often be a problem in urban living – so that each necessary item has its clearly-defined place. Shelving, magazines racks, sewing boxes – all of these can help to keep items off the floor and out of your head space!
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