I had gotten to the point where I was feeling frustrated at the amount of belongings I had and was getting continuously distracted by it. I was in no way a hoarder; from what I’ve found by researching I had about an average amount of stuff. But still, the average amount is catastrophic compared to what we actually need and use.
To get an idea of what I had, here’s what I found when I actually looked at my items in categories.
Clothes: 150 items plus
Shoes: 50 pairs plus
Bags: 15 plus
SPARE pillows: 6
I mean who needs more than 1 spare pillow, really?! I have no idea how I accumulated it all and how I didn’t even realise how excessive it was. The tricky bit to comprehend is that my house wasn’t messy… it wasn’t minimalistic but everything had it’s place and all the random stuff was stored away successfully. Maybe I was some sort of storage queen.
Either way, I think a massive declutter had been brewing in me for some time. I had felt frustrated at Christmas and birthdays when presented with gifts that I just didn’t need or want. When people would say ‘you can have this, I don’t need it’ which seemed to happen quite a lot, it made me instantly irritable.
Anyway, on the plane home from Copenhagen last October I was thinking ‘I can’t wait to get home and start getting rid of stuff’. I wanted more space, less distraction and more clarity.
So here’s what I did.
First of all I watched lots of YouTube videos about minimalism and how people drastically reduced their belongings. I just watched, listened and learned. There are so many videos about different people’s journeys and experiences with this, so have a look and see which ones spark something in you.
I then found out that it was more than just a physical process and that I needed to identify WHY I wanted to get rid of stuff. How would I not continue to buy more stuff as I was getting rid of it?
I spent some time figuring out what I wanted to accomplish from this and how I envisioned the future. Here’s what I noted down:
- I want only items that I love.
- I want to be able to move house freely and easily when the time comes and not to feel overwhelmed by moving abroad with the amount of belongings I have.
- I’d like my life to be as simple and efficient as possible with space for my creativity to blossom!
- I’d like my home to be calm and to have more plants to bring it to life.
- I want to have more time for ‘me’ and more space for working out.
- I want less ‘decor’ but the stuff I do have, I want to feel excited and happy when I look at it. I want it to represent my personality and travels.
- I want to increase positivity and good energy, while limiting stress and distractions.
- This will enable me to increase my quality of life and perform to the best of my ability.
Words to describe my ideal home would be:
simple | functional | efficient | calm | spacious | textures | natural
Phew. After those little revelations, I was ready to get going!
So after all the researching, one book kept coming up and that was The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. The thought of buying a book ABOUT getting rid of stuff hurt me a little bit so I bought the kindle version for £7.99 and started reading it on my phone.
Previously to this I had been getting rid of stuff but in a very haphazard way; a cupboard here, a draw there, listing stuff on eBay, trudging to the charity shop etc. The KonMari method is very basic: Anything that doesn’t ‘spark joy’ when you touch it goes.
The process for doing this is sorting by category rather than location. So the order she recommends is:
Clothes, Books, Paperwork, Miscellaneous items and Sentimental items.
I was instantly hooked and ready to tackle this once and for all. Before I had felt that I was constantly sorting and not really getting anywhere; my house looked no different!
I started the decluttering process again with a new lease of life. I put ALL my clothes, accessories, underwear, swimwear and bags on my bed and picked up each item individually, asking ‘does this spark joy?’. Even after clearing this stuff once already, I managed to get rid of half of what was left!
I had a bin bag, charity bag and eBay bag at the ready and once I was done, I put everything back, neatly folding it as Marie Kondo recommends.
Next I did books, paperwork and onto miscellaneous items. The misc section can drag on a bit as it caters to your individual situation. It’s broken down into sub categories, for example, mine were: kitchen stuff, cosmetics, vinyl figures, stationery, linen, electrical and business stuff.
But now, nearly three months after I started, I feel like I’m very nearly done. Here’s how my categories are standing at this point.
My Christmas decorations now fit in one large-ish bag and are stored away. I have a WHOLE big cupboard that is completely empty and my kitchen cupboards and so clear. Ah, beautiful .
I still have 2 bags full of stuff that needs to be sold but I’m so close to the finish line! Since the start of this year, I’ve drastically noticed the change. I definitely feel calmer and I’ve been so much more productive. I’m choosing quality over quantity in every aspect of life and have really channelled what makes me happy; it’s now easier to decide on goals and work on logical little steps to get me there!
Stupidly, I didn’t take ‘before’ pictures, doh. But here are my ‘after’ ones.
This is both mine and the boy’s clothes, that now both fit in one wardrobe!
My hallway shelves are no longer overfull and messy, yay!
I’ve so pleased with the results and feel like a eight has been lifted. If you want to go on a similar sort of de-clutter journey I would recommend getting The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It makes everything seem clearer and easier.
Good luck! Let me know how you get on.