I have been talking about doing it, I have been reading about it, I have been thinking about it, and I finally did it. I finally dedicated one whole day to do the biggest clean up I have ever done.
As I mentioned in my pre declutter post, I hold onto things and you could say I was a semi hoarder (I say semi because I wasn’t living under a pile of books but there was a bit of clutter and things that I never used but held onto). I have tried to be ruthless before, I was constantly “tidying up” but my home always felt stuffed, dark and heavy (I use these words because they are the opposite of what my home feels like now).
This time was different, I went in armed and ready after reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up by Marie Kondo. Although I didn’t get through the whole book, I know, I should have, but I only got the book on Thursday and wanted to do the clean up on the weekend. I learnt some really valuable lessons from this book about how to tidy and what to do to ensure that your home stays tidy after the big clean up. It sounds crazy because who needs to learn how to tidy? Who actually needs to read a book that teaches you how to make your area neater? Well, I did and it changed things for me, tremendously.
I am ridiculously proud and excited at the fact that I filled eleven black bags with stuff that I don’t use and that will either be going to the dump, be donated or sold. The best part of it? It wasn’t even hard to fill them. I was so focused after my realization and after reading the book that I just went full speed ahead.
There were many surprises along the way like finding a full roll of black bags in the back of the kitchen cupboard (which I believe were actually a gift from God because had I not found them, I would have had to stop mid tidy and get to the shop for black bags). I also found paper plates which I was literally going to buy that morning but decided not to after seeing the total of my shopping bill. The best surprise had to be finding my 21st birthday card from my late gran, my 21st was the last birthday of mine she was alive. I didn’t know I still had my birthday cards. I didn’t know I had a lot of things actually.
Of course there were the good surprises and then the bad ones – wood borer in my kitchen cupboard which I didn’t even know about because I hadn’t touched the stuff I put in there for a year or so.
The whole process was an eye opener and as much as I was exhausted by the end of it, I felt lighter and so did my house. I had this feeling of achievement and positivity – it was actually surreal because who knew that a massive clean up could do that to you. I really wanted to take pictures along the way to share with all of you so that you could see what it did look like and what it looks like now – you can almost SEE the good energy in my home now, but once I got stuck in I forgot and also didn’t want to interrupt my flow. I managed to take one picture of the before and actually didn’t take the after but you can see from this image the type of clutter/untidiness I was living in because I just could not let go of things because of fear of needing them one day and then not having them amongst other reasons.
There were so many things I learned and so many decisions I made so I am going to summarize
- In the book it says to tidy by category, I did not do this but wish I had because it lessens the work. For example there was a bunch of paperwork in the lounge but I keep my paperwork in a drawer in the room, while I was busy with the lounge I put the paperwork to one side so that I could put it away when I got to the room. So when I thought I was done with the lounge, I wasn’t really done because the paperwork was still there and this was the case with many things like beauty products which were scattered around the house. If you do it in categories, then you sort that category completely before moving onto the next one.
- The rules are completely personal. Some told me to do it little by little, the book told me to do it in one big go. I decided to do it once and do it properly, it worked to a certain degree because towards the end I was tired and feel almost as if I didn’t finish as strong as I started.
- I can easily see why this becomes an obsession for some because it is almost refreshing
- So much money gets wasted when you don’t know what is going on in your home. I bought those black bags who knows how long ago and then I had to buy another roll obviously soon after because I thought I didn’t have black bags. The less stuff and clutter, the easier it is to know what is going on in your home and what you do and don’t need.
- Don’t hold onto something in the hopes of finding a use for it. If you don’t use it at least monthly then re-evaluate
As much as this process was about cleaning and starting fresh, I did notice that there are a few things we do actually need so I decided to sell some of the stuff I was probably going to chuck away (just to get rid of it, not junk) and use the money towards the things we do need. This will be a step in the right direction as far as my financial goals go (becoming more frugal) and I will also start building up the home of my dreams (thanks Pinterest for making me doubt every choice I made for my home two years ago).
For the selling and buying I am going to use Gumtree. I have set up Gumtree alerts so that I will receive notifications for the items that I am specifically looking for, so every morning I wake up to emails from Gumtree which link me to all of the adverts posted under that category. It is so handy because I don’t want to browse as it will more than likely cause new clutter, I am only going to look at the things I need. The alerts work for all the categories so it is ideal for job hunters, perfect for those who collect certain things, and in general just to make life easier and quicker.
Selling – obviously any money I make on the things I don’t use is a bonus so I will be taking pictures and coming up with great titles for my ads (view more on how to attract a buyers attention on Gumtree) so that I can get rid of this stuff as quickly as possible. I am going to hopefully be able to wait until I sell all my stuff before I buy new stuff because I really need the stuff out of my house before I bring in new stuff (I am determined to not have that clutter) and because I don’t want to spend before I have sold.
This exercise has had so many positive effects on my feelings towards my home and myself that I don’t want to just stop at my flat. I am going to declutter my digital life asap, which means I am going to unfollow/unlike/delete anything that doesn’t bring a certain aspect of joy into my life. I will then find something else to move onto.
If you are like me, or even have the slightest hoarder tendencies then trust me when I say this
- Do some soul searching
- Get the book
- Dedicate the time and energy to doing the de-clutter
- Share your experiences and lessons learned with me.
It seems weird to me that I am so happy to have gotten rid of so much stuff but it just proves that I had too much and that I don’t need all that much.