Feel overwhelmed by the idea of tackling the mountain of possessions? Have too much stuff but not sure where to start? Try some of these tips for simplifying your home without causing a mental breakdown in the process.
Don’t do it in one go
Yes, a clear out is a good and positive thing. You can get rid of a lot of stuff fast and see an obvious difference.
However, don’t expect to ‘finish’ decluttering after that one purge.
It’s really tough to part with possessions. I know – I still struggle to get rid of things. And I can guarantee that during your purge there will be thins that you should get rid of but you don’t. This is ok. Incase you didn’t get that I’ll repeat it – it is ok to keep things that should be got rid of during a purge. They’re your possessions after all so don’t ever feel bad if you can’t bring yourself to part with them.
This is key though – you need to keep coming back to those possessions and asking yourself if you really need them.
The thing is, every time you do the process of getting rid of things it chips away at your psychological ties to possessions. This means it will get easier to get rid of things the second or third time round.
It’s weird, but once you’ve mentally marked something as a possible ‘to go’. If you come back to it 3 months later having not touched it you’ll be far more able to let it go.
So don’t feel bad about keeping things. Feel good about what you do let go of and make a commitment to reassess the situation a few months down the line.
Give yourself a budget for replacing things you’ve thrown out
A while ago, Karl and I were about to buy a new storage unit to house all of our clutter.
We got it all set up on ikea online and we’re about to hit buy. It came to around £500 complete with all the various drawers and shelves.
Just before we did it my husband announced that this was stupid – we were paying to have more stuff in our small flat. Yes, it would make it tidier, but there’d still be a big piece of furniture in our sitting room.
So, we decided instead to get rid of an IKEA unit worth of stuff and give ourselves a budget of £500 to replace anything we found we needed.
To my knowledge we never spent any of the £500, but it certainly helped us be more cutthroat with our possessions.
Think about how much money you spend on extra rooms in your house or extra furniture to house possessions. Could you give yourself that as a budget and get rid of things instead of hiding them away in extra furniture?
Try the ‘getting rid of one thing a day’ trick
Big, small, valuable, worthless it doesn’t matter. You can even use up something in the back of your kitchen cupboard. The idea is just to get rid of a single thing every day. It’s a lot less psychologically draining than doing a purge, but still gets you on the road to simplicity.
Use up some of the food in your kitchen and pantry
When people think about an excess of stuff they tend to forget about their kitchen cupboard. But who among us hasn’t fallen prey to that buy one get one free offer and ended up with a jar or pack of something they didn’t need?
If you have a lot of extra food, try to do one or two meals a week where you only use stored food. Then once you’ve used it up, don’t replace it immediately.
The aim is to get down to only one or two of each type of food that you want in your cupboard. So one or two packs of pasta, tins of chopped tomatoes or bags of chicken pieces in the freezer.
Give to and buy from from charity shops
We basically never buy our children new toys. However, we do regularly take bags of toys to the local charity shop and replace them with new ones.
There’s something really lovely about being part of the charity shop ecosystem.
Firstly, you can replace possessions whilst feeling like you’re helping our rather than just feeding the capitalist monster.
Secondly, it weakens the ties to possessions – you end up feeling like you’re renting things rather than buying them. I personally find this incredibly freeing – it turns possessions into something to use rather than something to tie you down.
Sell your possessions
Getting some money back from your possessions goes a long way towards soothing the hurt from severing yourself from them.
You may be surprised at the resale value of some possessions you no longer use. Go on eBay and do a search for what you’re thinking of selling – you can quickly get an idea of value and then make the call about whether it’s worth selling it.
I hope that helps. Let us know in the comments of you have any other hints and tips for decluttering your life!