It may seem a strange time of year to be talking about decluttering, with everyone in holiday shopping mode, but stick with me! I have found myself in a situation where I have had to declutter, and remembered that I am a hoarder of paper; magazines, catalogs, letters, and cards. Maybe it was because I was tired of seeing all this paper lying around, that it was easy to give it the heave-ho. I had a rule that I could not leave the house without taking an armload of paper to dispose of with me. It was a relief to haul armloads of work brochures (after inputting into my database) and outdated magazines to the recycle bin. Now that I have gone through that process, I am rethinking my holiday gift list to include items to wear and consumables so as not to be adding to landfill or the reject pile in a couple of months time! As well, it feels good to prepare for a new year with a clean slate.
One common thread with my clients this year is that they were all battling clutter. Families collect things along with the changing needs of children. Add multiple children to the mix and the pile grows. Everyone had the same look of exasperation on their face when they said they were still weeding through the piles of accumulated stuff. (Though you don't need to be a family to collect stuff; see above!) When we hold onto stuff, we hold onto memories. I had a purse that I bought at the very time something sad and painful happened in my life. Every time I looked at it, it took me back to that place in time. Donating it was a weight lifted.
I have been slowly working my way through the bestselling Marie Kondo book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It can be a bit flaky in places, such as running your hands over your clothes to incite joy (!). I am sticking with it, however, as there are a lot of truths about the things we hold on to and how it weighs us down. I plan to start recommending it to all my clients prior to starting a project... get them inspired to clear out the excess and create a new, relaxing space, with less clutter.
I still have a long way to go with my cleaning and organisation, but this is what I have learned so far:
- Buy quality items that will last the duration and not end up in landfill in a year's time
- Input supplier data for work into the database following a trade show, and then recycle the brochure (if I even need to take paperwork at all!),
- No impulse buys but to think twice about the items coming into the house: are they necessary and is there a home for it,
- Read more magazines and books in the iPad?
- Plan and measure for any new furniture purchases
- Less IS more!
Now if you'll excuse me, I have consumable Christmas gifts to buy!