How decluttering can help you live a new life

When my boyfriend and I moved in together we had some serious bad luck with the flats we chose. We moved four times in just over one year and, whilst not ideal, all this moving sure did help me realise just how much stuff I had. The last time we moved we downsized to a lovely but tiny flat, stuff had to go. I was excited to get the chance to read Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up before decluttering like crazy. Getting rid of so much stuff (approx. 15 bags to charity) then moving from a miserable flat, to a bright, new, happy space was hugely therapeutic. So now that I’m going through the process of changing my life I’ve decided to return to the decluttering.

The joy in decluttering

Marie’s now famed KonMari method of decluttering and tidying is particularly lovely because it focuses on joy. If you’re not a big organisation/tidy freak like me you might think this statement bizarre and the whole process a little hokey, but just give it a try.

Marie says we must tackle our clutter by category.  Often we approach decluttering room by room, but this is not efficient because how will you ever know you own five staplers (true story) unless you’re decluttering by category? Categories cover everything you could possibly own and are then broken into subcategories.  So, you choose your category/subcategory and scour the house until everything in that category is on the floor. Now it’s a giant “how-can-I-ever-tackle-this?” kind of pile. Take a breath and dive in. To follow the KonMari method you must pick up each item one by one and ask “does this spark joy in me?”. If yes, keep it, and if no you must thank the item for the joy its brought you (really) and let it go.

You have to be really honest with yourself about whether you find joy in that item or not (listen to your gut, it’s usually right). But, when you’re finished you will be left with a living space filled only with items that bring you joy. Doesn’t that sound nice?

New life: more decluttering

I found it particularly helpful to go through my wardrobe again a few days ago. The clothes we wear are a key part of our identity and making sure your clothes reflect who you really are is important. A few months ago I looked at my clothes and realised a lot of them didn’t make me feel good when I wore them.

give away any clothes that no longer make you feel good

The start of my clothes sorting.

I chucked all my clothes on the bed (bit by bit) and sent anything that I didn’t feel comfortable or good in to charity. I was working loosely around the concept of building a capsule wardrobe, which suggests a certain number of items for each season. You have a limited selection of clothes, but in many ways feel much freer than if you had loads as each item is something you want to wear.

I’m still building my capsule wardrobe, and am not in a rush to complete it as I only want to get the right items. But, as I go I’m realising what makes me feel comfortable and what kind of clothes I like to wear. In turn this tells me something about my identity, and accepting what this means in terms of what I want to wear feels really nice. Allowing yourself to be comfortable in your clothes is allowing yourself to accept who you are, and not try to be someone you’re not.

“The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.” – Marie Kondo, ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Tidy drawers = tidy mind

I am so affected by mess. If I’m having a relaxing day at home I can’t do that unless my immediate environment is tidy. We may not realise it, but our mental state can be so affected by our environment. If my desk is messy and I’m finding it hard to focus on work, it’s a guarantee that tidying up will make me feel better. With this in mind, yesterday I took to tackling our bathroom drawers that have long been a source of frustration for me.

In less than 20 minutes I turned them from this…

messy bathroom drawer before decluttering

Before

 

 

 

 

 

To this…

Tidy bathroom drawer after decluttering

After

 

 

 

 

 

Success!

Tips for getting started

If you’re in need of a declutter in your life check out the 10 creative ways to declutter your home post on the Becoming Minimalist blog for some great tips to get started. If you want more info on the KonMari method Abby Lawson of A Girl and Her Blog blogged her journey through the process here. Let me know how you get on with your decluttering in the comments below, and as always I’d love to hear your advice on this!

 

 

About ecarr

Ellen is a writer and theatre maker who has just taken the freelance plunge after too many years of 9-5 office life. She is a yoga teacher in training and passionate about pursuing your dreams.

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