Let Stuff Go
Decluttering tips from Karen Crowhurst
Wellbeing takes a look at how to declutter and find a new level of clarity and focus. If you’re anything like me, you have a huge to-do list and the decluttering and tidying comes way down on that list of priorities. I had a chat with Karen, who came around to my house for a decluttering consultation pre-Covid. She was incredibly helpful and encouraging. I thought I’d turn to her again during these strange times, just in case, like me, you haven’t quite managed to tackle those piles of stuff.
Caf Fean, Wellbeing Editor
The Decluttering Mindset
To tackle the clutter, and face the inevitable overwhelm, do your best, your way, take your time, make a plan and know your limits. Declutter first, organise second.
• Just do your best: Don’t tell yourself you should do better because we can only do our best and we do it every day of our lives. We have extra stresses and strains at the moment, so remember to be kind to yourself.
• Declutter and organise to suit your lifestyle: Not for a rigid ideal, or an aspirational image. Make it work for you, it’s your home.
• Take your time! Don’t rush into starting a project, take 5 minutes out and have a quick think: what do you want to get out of this? Consider making a plan and building in a time for review. What things will you likely be needing to get the job done? How much time do you think it will take?
• Make a Plan: Make a very simple and loose action plan. Don’t make it too rigid, restrictive or complicated. Treat it as an adventure and enjoy the journey, making note of your progress as you hit important milestones.
• Know your limits: Do you know when you are ok to work, and when you are not? Before you start any new projects, or resume existing ones, how do you feel? Do you need to eat or rest first? It is so important to listen to your body and your mood and adjust your work accordingly. Know your limits and don’t push yourself to do things when you are feeling overwhelmed or exhausted. Treat yourself kindly please, everything else can wait.
• Declutter First, Organise second: Get rid of things first. Clear the decks and create some space to help yourself declutter. Put rubbish in the bin, recycle, shred confidential documents and start a charity box or bag. Only then do you start to re-organise and find new permanent homes for what you have left: it will be a whole lot less!
Some helpful hints as to how to visualise the process – a clock face (work at it bit by bit), hot zones (what do you use most often – keep it close), gather similar items together, take breaks but keep going, tidy away before you stop for the day, and acknowledge and reward yourself for your hard work.
• Start Small: Imagine the area you wish to declutter or reorganise is split into segments like a clock face. Choose your first segment, work in that area, keep working to your own schedule until you are finished, not forgetting to tidy up afterwards. Don’t be tempted to select too big an area like a whole room, start with a small corner and work on one space at a time until you have covered the whole area. Remember you are working to your pace, there is no rush.
• Hot Zones: Imagine a heater: the closer you are to it the warmer it is, the further away you are the cooler it is. Apply this principle to your decluttering and re-organising by putting the things you use more often closer to you and the ones you use less often further away until the things you use once a year should be well out of the way, but still accessible.
For example, in kitchen cupboards keep the tea and coffee handy and then the things you use regularly on the shelves above and so on until the summer BBQ stuff and Christmas stuff on far top or bottom shelves or on the top of the cupboards themselves. Be mindful of the weight of the objects, don’t put heavy china on the top shelf! Plastic beakers or containers are ok for top shelves: they bounce!
• Get everything together:
It sounds logical, get everything together before you go through it, but it’s not actually that easy. If you are anything like me, you will have the same sort of things in at least 10 places in the house! If you don’t get it all together in one place, then you won’t know if you’re doubling up on items. This will apply to everything: clothes, cleaning chemicals, stationery, anything you have a lot of. Also, you won’t see how much you have of everything unless it’s all there in front of you. So, be brave and get it all together and start letting stuff go from there.
• Take a break but keep going! We all know the feeling when things get too tough for us, we want to give up, but we don’t. We have a break and keep going at another time. Here’s the first verse from my favourite poem below – this always helps me stay on task.
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill
When the funds are low and the debts are high
and you want to smile, but you have to sigh
When care is pressing you down a bit
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Edgar A Guest
• Always tidy away afterwards: Nice and simple: when you are done for the day or have had enough of the task you are doing, just simply clear away. By clearing away you reduce the overwhelm and make yourself feel better and able to cope with starting again.
• Acknowledge and Reward Yourself! Acknowledge yourself, your achievement and your abilities! Give yourself a treat, a pamper, a rest, while you take stock of everything you have done. Did you take before and after photos? Listen to music, dance around your home, put on something silly that cheers you up and take a picture of yourself.
Try and avoid spending: focus on things money can’t buy that make you feel good in yourself. Well Done You!
Join the Clutter Club
The Clutter Club normally meets in person on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month in St Leonards. Since lockdown we have been having weekly meetings on Zoom. As of 23rd June 2020 we will go twice monthly via Zoom until we can go back to meeting in person again. If you would like to join us and talk about how you feel about your clutter, please contact Karen for more details. New members welcome!
Special ‘Let Stuff Go’ Birthday Offer
It will be my Business 2nd Birthday on Tuesday 16th June 2020. Get in touch about my special Birthday offer for new decluttering customers both virtual (on line via Zoom) and in person (socially distanced).
• Karen is a member of the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers, a regulatory body to ensure adherence to an agreed code of conduct and ethics.
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