Saying Goodbye to Clutter, Stress and Stubbed Toes!
This lens is a collection of my jottings about my decluttering regime.
I meant to start this lens a while ago when I first started decluttering my home but got caught up in lots of other stuff I had to do first.
I've still got a way to go but now I've decluttered quite a lot I feel amazing!
All those belongings were making me so miserable.
Having less allows you to start to feel more rational and stable!
Let's say that your sub-conscious brain takes in every single bit of data at once. Imagine you've just come home from work or shopping - imagine all that stuff that's going into your brain - the last thing you want to do when you get home is to assault your brain with even more stimuli!
Shamefully it didn't take me long to gather all that clutter for the image up there so I guess I still have a way to go!
Hey! Rachel, What's All This De-Cluttering Stuff About?
The start of my war on clutter and deprogramming my mind.
How Cluttered is Your Life?
My Main Excuse for Clutter
Different Types of Clutter Detected
Musings from my journal 2010-07-16
Clutter is sneaky and it's cleverer than we are.
I think I've got the knack of getting rid of clutter now - you have to go through everything you own continuously because clutter is sneaky and it's cleverer than we are.
There's the clutter you don't notice - that's the stuff that takes up valuable space - you have no idea what it is and you wouldn't miss it if it was gone but you don't see it - like Zaphod Beeblebrox and his peril-sensitive glasses.
There's the clutter that you have no idea what to do with - so you just keep shifting it around into different boxes - but you never use it, take it out, look at it or particularly love it - if there was a house fire and it burnt you'd be relieved in a weird way.
There's the clutter that will be useful one day. I now believe that day will never come.
And there's the clutter you keep because you think other people think you shouldn't get rid of it. For example I want to trash most of my degree work but think that someone's going to tell me off.
My Declutter Buddy's Declutter Manifesto!
What do you do when every surface is cluttered with things that 'might be useful'?
This inspirational article was written by my Declutter buddy.
"I am all for clear spaces. I love to see those homes and garden pictures of minimal living spaces, where you can actually see the floor! However, I am a pack rat by nature and having been brought up with 'keep it, you'll use it later' mentality. I find throwing things away incredibly difficult. But what do you do when every surface is cluttered with piles of papers, books and things that 'might be useful'? I don't know about you, but as this mountain of clutter also extends to my craft area I find it particularly difficult to sit down and work on anything. More to the point, I can't actually find space to work on my art. It's embarrassing how many times I've come across a half completed project that has been covered over and forgotten thanks to the Craft Clutter.
Well, now I'm going to do something about it. I need my space! And to do it I am going to follow the 15 minute Rule. Basically the idea is that we all have the ability to concentrate for 15 mins at a time very easily. Actually we can all do far more, but if you start with baby steps you don't demoralise yourself before even starting. I intend to spend 15 mins a day doing a mini de-clutter and whilst this is going to be predominantly working on my craft desk I am hoping that once the habit is established it will continue to the rest of my very cluttered little house!
Today I intend to spend those all important 15 mins looking at one side of my desk. Everything will be classed into piles, either Keep, Finish, Recycle, Throw. As an eco chick, I am hoping that that final pile will be almost nonexistent with most of the collected clutter being recycled. Don't forget, your unwanted stuff is someone else's crafting gold mine! Ahh, Freecycle is such a wonderous thing . . . .
But, here is a most important thing. After those 15 mins of intense work you get to congratulate yourself with a little reward. It might be a bar of chocolate (my own favourite suggestion), a cup of tea and a biscuit or a dance of celebration around the living room to your favourite track thanks to Spotify. However you do it, make sure that you congratulate yourself for the beginning of a job well done and then very importantly, look back and see that beautiful space you've created. By making space on your desk you've also started to create a space in your life for more creative endeavours. And isn't that a wonderful thing?
A few links to mull over and give inspiration . . ."
Don't chuck me, I wuv you!
Declutter Talk from some of my e-mails about Decluttering
"15 mins is good for starting with I think - it's like one of those things where you start out with good intentions and then the clutter starts to fight back "Don't chuck me, I wuv you".
Even if it doesn't look any different - think of it as the foundation for the rest of the declutter - at the end when it looks amazing and decluttered that's because several days of "not looking different" make up looking amazing!
I have sent so many bags to the charity shop but it still needs so much work here - I just think "thank goodness I got rid of the other stuff otherwise it would be hundred times worse"!
I'm being naughty - I've just pulled everything out from under the bed and now I've come in here for a quick sit down ahaha!! But then I know I have to go sort it before my partner gets back from work!
I think there might be a few old notebooks and awful degree stuff I can get rid of under there - plus everything can be better organised into boxes - I can't believe how bad my partner's to-be-read pile is beside the bed - almost as bad as mine (though not quite!)"
Get a de-Clutter Buddy
Musings from my journal 2010-07-20
Thanks to my dear friend and her decluttering challenge, I started cleaning out under the bed - although I am slightly worried about my discovery that there's way more space under there than I thought - I could stash so much clutter under there!!! Bwahahahaha!!!
There are a few crafty things I've let go of that I haven't used for years - like a bead loom that I haven't used since about 2002, some Plaster of Paris that I've never used and various little things like extra pairs of paper scissors I don't need.
There's monsters under that there bed.
I'm also thinking of chucking some old notebooks - ones I've had to jot down various notes and doodles. It feels a bit sacrilegious to get rid of them but it's not as if I ever go back to them and refer to stuff - sure they're full of unexplored ideas but I have so many more ideas now for things that I don't have time for old ideas.
I've also managed to go through a drawer in my dresser that I never look in and cleared out most of it - it's all things like power cords for phones we no longer own. Now I just need to think about what I might keep in there instead.
I found some headphones which I desperately need - hoorah!
Tomorrow I need to clear my studio space as it's driving me crazy. Plus I should really clear my desk.
I think I've been good at chucking things out over the years as I don't have much that is that old but just so much that I accumulated during uni and afterwards when I decided to do all the textiles stuff full time. The only thing is - I've chucked stuff out at home and my dad would fish it out again - like old sketchbooks from when I was 14 or so.
I think I would prefer to burn my old notebooks than anything else because they seem too personal too!
Yes - you have to make a huge mess before you can clear it up again.
And then you just have clutter piles waiting to go - which is a mess too!
We have had some "clutter to go" in a corner for about 2 months - if not more! Hopefully we can get rid of it on Saturday.
I'm starting to wonder if everytime I make something I should declutter 2 items.
21st July 2010
"A lot of my clutter is unfinished projects. I'm not sure whether some of them are ever going to get finished so I don't know whether I should just ditch them and not have them hanging around making me feel bad. I figure they are things that could maybe go to a charity shop - someone might want to finish them or display them as they are - I don't know. I'm sure I will photo them and ask everyone's opinions!
I'm starting to wonder if every time I make something I should declutter 2 items because I'm getting in a bit of a state because of no longer actively selling textiles pieces - I just use them for books or lenses now - mainly because I can't bear ebay and etsy totally died on me. Hmm, maybe I will have a "think about it" box. Maybe I should try ebaying some half-finished stuff and see what happens!
I'm not sure what to do with several "under the bed things" - some of them are things like my partner's printer which he wouldn't get rid of but we haven't used since we moved in and then there are cables for silly things that I don't think we need, personally. And my bodyform/mannequin thing which I don't have room for. And is half the size of me - really that could go but I can't bear to part with it. I want to make clothes eventually but I'll need to buy a lot of wadding to get it to the right size!"
Work on the Space You Use the Most
I've been carrying on the declutter mission!
This is before and after I decluttered the spare bed. I still have to find homes for a few pieces though:
There's so much stuff we keep that just makes us sad I think.
"I'm not sure what to do today - maybe work out what to do with stuff still on the bed and then go through my degree sketchbooks - actually I could go through the whole cupboard and then make sure all my good degree stuff is in that slidy drawer thing under the bed.
OK, so I have a few things I could do today heh!
Last night I decided I didn't need a few sketchbooks and a whole project can go - phew! What a lightness of being - goodbye degree course that I didn't enjoy! I think I tend to do stuff or keep stuff because I should - it's so freeing just to get rid of stuff and not worry about it/think about it anymore. There's so much stuff we keep that just makes us sad I think. Time to let go of the negative stuff!"
"Well I chucked out a few sketchbooks - by chucked out I mean that they are in a box waiting for a bonfire! I kept a couple that I didn't love but they're costume history - but then thinking about it - I have no need to know about costume history and if I did I'd probably look on the internet, rather than my old sketchbooks so maybe they will go too.
I'm contemplating doing the whole wardrobe in the spare room now (sketchbooks were on one shelf which is now clear) - although I'm not sure what to do with it all. There's my massive stash of yarn in there - I bet some of the hideous acrylic stuff could go lol! Plus I have an impressively crammed photo of the wardrobe - might be good to have a before and after again!"
Letting Go of Negative Emotions
The downstairs of this house looks like a right state with bags of clutter to go to the charity shops. Hopefully we can get rid of it all on Saturday.
I made some decisions on which parts of my degree work to throw out - I still think there is stuff that I could get rid of but I think that comes under the clutter that gets away to live another day. In the next few days I'll probably wonder why I kept it and I'll chuck it then.
I feel quite pleased with letting go what I have let go although as soon as I did it I got a headache - ah the clutter guilt headache!
There are a lot of things that I've kept that make me feel really unhappy - projects I wasn't happy with and ugly things, things that I feel guilty for buying and photos of people that make me sad. So I've been hunting those things down to get rid of. There's no sense in surrounding myself with negative emotion.
A lot of being at University was a pretty unhappy time for me and I hate looking back at some of my projects and thinking "I could have done better on that" and my dissertation is so awful - that has to go next.
I didn't really want to tackle the wardrobe in my studio space but I decided to just go for it.
I've now organised it so that I have shelves for wadding and shelves for top layers - like nets and organza for when I do layered textiles pieces. I love the idea of being able to shut everything away in the wardrobe and when I open the doors having a mini studio there - I'm not sure I can get it quite that organised though! Besides, now I've got space to shove the things that don't have a home - like the enormous trash bag of wool that I probably won't touch until Autumn.
Being Able to Breathe Again
Well I haven't decluttered all week but I can feel the difference in the house and in my mind from what I've done - it's actually pretty amazing. For the first time in a long time I actually feel like I'm getting somewhere and as if I can breathe.
I think the morning pages (3 pages of whatever is on my mind every morning) are really helping me to organise my head and just having things that I've challenged myself to do every day - like post on LJ - are helpful too. I think having a routine is so important for the way my brain works.
I'm amazed by the room I work in - the clutter has just gone and everything seems to have a home - well apart from the unfinished projects that I haven't decided what I'm doing with yet.
I'm going to try a bit more decluttering this week - just because I know it will get terrible again otherwise. I wonder whether one decluttering day a week is a good idea - where I devote an hour or 2.
I need to start reading voraciously again too so I can clear the clutter by my bedside.
I'm Never Going to Read That!
In preparation for my birthday - for which I believe I'll be receiving some books from my wishlist - I've made a pile of books to read this week - some of which I will be giving away to make space - not because they're not great but because I don't reread a lot of books. I'm thinking about giving away double what I get.
Some of these are ones I've had for ages and have never read.
Some I'm not sure why I own - for eg. I am not a fan of the lion/witch/wardrobe film. I'm not overly fussed about the Hitchhikers film. I loved the first season of Lost but can't bear any of the rest of it - to the point where the rest of it has kind of tainted the first season for me.
Needing Less Space
Now perusing a book I got a few years ago about Season 1 of Lost. I went through this stage of collecting books on TV and movies and not actually reading them. It makes me want to watch the first season again but I think the book can pretty much go.
I've been thinking about moving all the stuff I need - like my PC for example into the bedroom for the Winter and shutting this room off completely. It's had trouble with damp and condensation before and I figure it's just a waste of money to be heating this room all day and the living room and then heating the bedroom at night. It makes more sense to be in the bedroom and keep it toasty warm - especially as the living room is right underneath and heat rises. So, it would be nice to leave a clear spare room so that stuff doesn't get damp - therefore I need to cull stuff before I shut it up.
If You Don't Want to Put the Work in - then Get Rid!
I didn't get a lot done today. Although I did declutter some more books.
I have three carrier bags full to go to the charity shops now. I'm now picking piles of books off the shelves and telling myself that I can either read the books during the week and make lenses on them or just get rid of them.
The thought of writing all those lenses has really helped me shift some stuff that I no longer care about.
There were a few that cost me a lot of money that I felt bad about but other than that it's felt quite liberating.
Make Sure Everything has a Home!
I'm having one of those days where your head is completely fuzzy and everything is a huge effort to do and you just can't "breathe". I think my computer feels the same way too as everything is slow to load today.
We got rid of 4 huge bags of clutter yesterday - so why does there still seem to be so much stuff hanging around in the house! I think it may be because I've pulled stuff out of boxes and haven't put it back yet so perhaps tomorrow will be a tidying day.
Well, I haven't really spoken about de-cluttering recently but we have got rid of a lot of books, CDs and DVDs recently. A big bin-bag was left out for the charity shop collection the other day - so downstairs is looking pretty good. The shelves aren't quite so heaving.
My craft-life is another matter.
I've hit one of those patches where I've suddenly got hundreds of new ideas for craft projects.
Since I can feel Autumn coming I've got back into knitting in a BIG way! So I have 3 knitting projects on the go with another waiting in the wings (A knit-a-long that starts in October). There are balls of yarn flying everywhere!
I also got so demoralised finishing old projects and just had to start a new one so I've got that on the boil as well.
Perhaps it's time to put some of the unfinished projects back into boxes until I know I'm going to work on them again?
I'm going to have to spend some time clearing up my crafty space as it's driving me mad!
End of 2010/Beginning of 2011 Update
Remember my book reading challenge - to read and give away the books I didn't want anymore? Well I did pretty well at the end of the year.
We bought a few new books for the Christmas holidays to read but ended up filling around 6 or more bags full of books and DVDs and other bits to go to the charity shops.
Now all our books and very limited DVD collection fit on the two sets of shelves downstairs and, really, if we tried, we could get it all onto one set of shelves!
Some of those books are still going to go when they've been read - I have quite a few Inspector Lynley novels still that I know my Dad would happily have when I'm done with them.
My friend who wrote the De-clutter manifesto on the page above died in early 2011. She was an awesome and inspiring person who filled me up with positivity every time we met in Real Life. I know her biggest area of clutter was her craft stuff and that's something I'm going to try to work on this year.
I have a lot of fabric in the house and other bits and pieces that I've had for years. This year I'm going to work on not buying any more craft supplies (apart from some purple yarn and also the bits I needed to make my wedding outfit!) and I'm going to use up what I've got - this shouldn't be too hard as I've been doing this for most of the past 3 years but this year I'm going to make a concerted effort to use up more!
I also need to organise the textiles pieces I've made - I know there is so much in the house that I've forgotten about and that hasn't seen the light of day on my textiles website!
I'm not using the spare room much anymore so I'm going to use that as a base to collect all my textiles pieces and discover which are finished and can be catalogued and which need to be finished.
This year I'm also going to use my fabric stash to challenge myself (see below).
Piles of TextilesClick thumbnail to view full-size
I've started tackling the spare room again which has become a bit of a dumping ground recently.
I'm rapidly accumulating a lot of baby stuff ready for our first child so I figure it's time to really put the screws on the stuff we don't need around the house!
I cleared out 3 bags of rubbishy fabric, a bag of fabric that can go to the charity shops and a bag full of a patchwork project that's never going to get finished from my fabric stash so that's cleared some more space in the house.
I'm sure I can get rid of a lot more crafty stuff in there.
I'm trying to be brutal as I know I'm not going to be able to do so much crafty stuff in the future so what's the point of hanging onto it all?
Earlier in the year I started organising my textiles work into the stuff I really want to keep and the bits that I'm going to sell off cheaply. There's just too many things to hold onto anymore.
I also found a whole load more unfinished craft projects!
Check out my huge pile of textiles work below.
I'm also working on digital/mental clutter.
I've got my Squidoo lens Work in Progresses down to 5 - the lowest it's been since I first started! I've also started to finish an e-book which I estimate I must have started 5 or 6 years ago.
I'm way more likely to declutter when I've been reading about other people doing it.
Recently I've been reading about people who have been inspired to declutter by Fly Lady.
- Fly Lady
I actually read the Fly Lady discussion group on Ravelry more than I look at this website but seeing as Ravelry is a member-only community I thought I'd take you straight to the source!
Decluttering in 2012
Declutter Update - 26/10/2012
Well, it's been a long time since I updated this page. We moved which helped with the decluttering but since then I've accumulated a lot more as we moved to a bigger place. I also had a baby so that hasn't helped with decluttering, or having the time for it, either.
Good news though - our local parish church (just across the road from my house) has opened a charity shop for the village - excellent! Now I can get rid of stuff so much quicker and it's perfect for someone who doesn't drive. The only problem is that I'm tempted to buy stuff whenever I go there as there's often a lot of fabric going for pennies (see image above!).
I recently organised my fabric stash and I decided that I'm going to have to use up a lot of it soon as it's just taking up a crazy amount of space. I figure a lot of it can be used for Christmas presents this year - I just have to work out when I can fit all that crafting in! My stash burning project for 2011 really fizzled out because I just didn't have the energy for it but I'm looking forward to giving it a good go again.
I organised my haberdashery stuff into a set of plastic drawers - I think we're going to need a few more of those though. Whilst going through the cupboard that this was all in we found a couple of bags worth of stuff that could go.
Someone is giving me a huge lot of spinning supplies soon and I have no idea where that's going to go either! This house is a lot bigger than the old place but there's less storage. I'm going to be on the look out for some wardrobes (ones that lock to keep small people out!).
A great way of decluttering old yarn is to make some squares for the Knit-A-Square project.
Decluttering in 2013
Declutter Update - 11/02/2013
I had some decluttering forced upon me earlier in January. Some stuff I'd had stashed at my mum's house appears to have got infested with moths. I binned a lot and treated the stuff that didn't appear to be touched just in case. There's no way I want to spread moth carnage anywhere else especially when I deal with yarn and fabric a lot.
I've got pretty good about using stuff I've been hoarding. I'm knitting a cardigan I've been wanting to make for ages from a huge bag of yarn I've been accumulating. I'm also reading through books I've been accumulating too and gradually passing them on. I discovered 8 boxes of herbal teas in the kitchen and have used up 2 of them. I love these little victories - knitting up yarn and drinking tea in the evening, reading from books I've had for ages.
When I've finished with the cardigan my next challenge is to make a patchwork quilt of sorts and some patchwork curtains - thus using up a lot of fabrics, creating more space and not spending money on new stuff.
I have brought quite a few items into the house - new clothes (well, new to me), books and little gifty things (I've set up a gift box because I always get stressed doing it all at Christmas) and I'm trying to keep them under control. So I haven't been too good this year so far!