Wednesday 7 January 2015

Getting Rid of 1000 Things... A Clear Home is A Clear Mind

Do you feel stressed about mess in your home? Do you find it hard to relax because rooms in your home are disorganised and untidy? Are you overwhelmed by the amount of 'stuff' you have accumulated over time? If you've answered 'yes' to any of these, then this post is for you!

I'm a firm believer in having a clear and organised home. I think that mess and clutter just messes and clutters up your mind, and can actually end up really affecting your day to day happiness. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm no miminalist - my house has a lot of 'stuff' in it - but I am confident that the majority of its contents are things I have purposefully 'chosen' to be a part of my home. Everything has a place where it belongs/lives, and if I plan to bring a new item into my home I always make sure there is a place for it first. I regularly sort through my wardrobe and re-home/sell/donate items I no longer wear, or that no longer fit me, which insures that my wardrobe is easy to navigate, full of only items I use, and has space for any new items I might chose to purchase. I also have a 2 drawer filling cabinet in my study, where all mine and my husbands paperwork lives and is organised into appropriate folders, which means when post/paperwork enters our home we both know straight away where it needs to be filed, or if it can just be thrown away. 

Now lots of people will advise you that storage is the sole answer to having an ordered home, and although I have to agree that yes, having good storage spaces, big cupboards, ample wardrobes and drawers, filing cabinets etc can get you half the way to an organised home, in truth, the real answer to the dilemma is to just get rid of the stuff rather than store it cleverly!

My best friend Liz who blogs over at Little Red Welly, recently embarked on an AWESOME project to get rid of 1000 things in her home in a bid to clear and organise her living space, and in turn, clear and organise her mind. 

Inspired by Grechen Rubin's book 'The Happiness Project' (which I wholeheartedly recommend you read if you haven't) Liz learned that it isn't just the big things in life that contribute to your happiness - that in fact the smaller day to day things, like how much stuff you have in your home, and how tidy it is, can be just as important to our happiness overall. 

When she properly looked at her home in detail she realised that it was full with things she didn't really recognise, bits and pieces that had just seemed to appear over the years - gifts from christmases gone by, items that were "too good to miss" in the sales but she'd never got round to using, old items she'd intended to take to the charity shop but hadn't yet, things she didn't even like that much but felt she should keep because they were a gift, or because they used to belong to somebody she loved. She soon started to wonder how she'd feel without these things in her life?

Liz wanted to live more simply, in a home that she had designed herself - she wanted to live among items she truly loved, felt emotional about, and used on a day to day basis. She wanted the beloved items in her home to shine, to stand out, no to be lost among the clutter. 

Over the course of the summer (2014) Liz began to clear her home of things - things she no longer needed, no longer used, no longer liked (or had never liked), clothes and shoes that didn't fit, crockery and kitchenware she never used, even donating the rocks from her garden rockery (that she'd always hated) to a friend who was desperate to build their own. Some of it went to charity, some was sold on eBay, some was re-homed with friends and family, but slowly and surely she began to work her way through the clutter until finally she had completed her challenge and had gotten rid of 1000 things

After completing her project Liz was invited to speak at TED's 'TED x Bedford' about clearing 1000 things from her life, and how she now feels having completed that mammoth task. 

Please give it a watch - if you're anything like me you'll find it massively will definitely make you want to start clearing your home of any clutter. 

For those who haven't heard of it before, TED is a non-profit organisation which spreads 'ideas worth sharing' across the globe in the form of short videos (18 mins or less) of inspiring people talking about an idea they believe is worth sharing. The videos are free to watch on the TED website or through their downloadable app. TED stands for the coming together of Technology Entertainment and Design within these talks. So, if you've ever got a spare 18 minutes they are the perfect way to get inspired! 

Fantastic ideas from Liz on how to beat the clutter in your home...

  • Give yourself an aim/target - it doesn't have to be to clear 1000 things necessarily - maybe choose a room at a time to clear, even a drawer at a time if you need to start small. You could aim to clear 20, 50, 100, 1000 things - whatever you feel is appropriate for your home. You could aim to fill boxes for the charity shop by a certain date. Whatever it is you chose, it will just help you to be more motivated and focussed in your clear up. 
  • Keep a list of what you manage to get rid of over a set period of time - it will really help you to see the progress you're making and will shock you when you realise just how much you have managed to shift.
  • Don't be frightened of getting rid of gifts you have been given - if they aren't to your taste, don't fit you (clothes/shoes) and won't be used within your home then don't let it clutter your space and become a dust gatherer! You could re-gift it to someone who you think might love it, donate it to charity, sell it on eBay - anything is better than it sitting un-used in your home causing clutter.
  • If your wardrobe is your problem area then try completing the 'hanger challenge': turn all of the coat hangers in your wardrobe the same way round. As you wear an item of clothing, wash it, and put it back in the wardrobe to be re-worn put it back in the wardrobe with the hanger facing the opposite way. After a set period of time (1 month/3 months/6 months/a year) you'll see what you've worn and used, and what you haven't - anything still facing the other way is probably good to go! 
  • If it is drawers or cupboards full of 'stuff' that is your main issue then try the 'box challenge' where you empty the contents of the drawer/cupboard/container you want to de-clutter into a box, as you need/want to use an item over a set period of time, you take it from the box, use it, and then replace it back into its original home. Much like the hanger challenge, after that set period of time you'll see what you've actually used, and what you could no doubt live happily without. 
  • Try and have a 'one in, one out' policy when it comes to your home - if you buy something new make sure you have space for it, and if you don't then clear a space by getting rid of one item to make way for the new one. By all means replace things that are broken or unwanted etc but just make sure you get rid of the broken/unwanted item as well as keeping the new one. How many of you have old or broken mobile phones sitting around in drawers? Do you REALLY need them? You can sell most old phones for cash on lots of websites, and trust me, you'll be surprised by how much money you could make, just by selling on old gadgets around your home. 
How many things could you get rid of? Are you up for the challenge?

If you too decide to embark on the journey to clear 1000 things from your life, then do tell us and use the hashtag #getridofathousandthings in any pictures you share on social media. 

Can we start a 'clear the clutter' revolution?

Mrs B

You can follow Liz on her social media channels:

Twitter: @lizwcreates 
Instagram: @lizweather