Let’s talk decluttering!
One of the sins most households are guilty off is too much ‘clutter‘. With our impending move abroad we need to declutter our house and our lives over the next 6 months. Therefore I like to have a closer look at that rather common and addictive habit.
Clutter is one of these things that just seems to slip in to our lives whether we like it or not. Someone described it as follows:
Clutter is stuff you keep in your house but that does not add value to your life
When people move into a new home, they start with organised cupboards. Before they know their cupboards are overflowing with stuff they have collected or keep because it might come in handy.
Do you know that feeling? Assessing an item you have not used for a while, but still keep because it might come in handy one day!
Get real! It usually does not come in handy ever. Although there are these occasions that you want to use an item within weeks after you got rid of it. Sod’s law or what!
We have moved a couple of time during the last decade and had the opportunity to shed some stuff. Still we have more than we need stored away in cupboards, cellar and garage.
We are not even hoarders compared to some. Still we have kept things that are not essential to keep. Many of them are memories, things the kids made, like to keep and so on. I actually found out that our kids are not willing to have their own ‘keepsakes’ in their rooms. But they do like us to keep it for them.
It is hard to get rid of things our kids made however we can set some boundaries to how much we keep.
Great tips to get rid off your clutter
- The 1 year rule – if you have not used it for a year, you won’t use it again!
- Allow yourself to keep a piece of art your child made. But just one and have it framed.
- Make three piles – one for rubbish, one for charity and one for keeping or selling
- If you can’t part with it, pack it in a box and put it in a cupboard. If after 1 year you can hardly remember what is in the box, it can go.
- Imagine what a good feeling it will be to pass something on to people who have less money and have a use for it.
There are probably many more ideas but these are some of the rules I live by.
Real life examples why ‘decluttering’ is effective
In 1998 we moved for a couple of years to UK. We put most of our household in storage but took some because we felt that we did not want to part with it. Unfortunately for us the shipment went astray and did not arrive until 6 months after we had moved to London.
We were living in a furnished house that had everything we needed. So when our lot arrived it was nothing more than extra clutter. We could hardly remember what had been shipped and we certainly did not need it. It was a horror to imagine we had to ship it back to Australia when we returned.
In 2014 we bought a house in France. We bought some of the existing furniture from the seller and I kitted it out during a visit later in the same year. It is now a fully furnished holiday rental with everything you would want or need.
The ironic thing is that the cupboards are empty apart of course the kitchen cupboards. We have a small ‘owners cupboard’ on the top floor. I have left some clothes there that I don’t need in Australia and it has some extra linen, china, glasses, some tools and extra cleaning articles.
That’s it. And guess what, when I spend some time in the house, I have everything I need. So what does that mean? To me it means that in general we all hoard stuff that we don’t need and very likely won’t use that often.
Why we choose for ‘getting rid of clutter’
For all the above logic we have decided to take the absolute minimum when we emigrate to Europe. For a number of reasons – the most important being that we don’t expect to need it. Another argument is the cost of shipping to Europe. We have heard about astronomical amounts that friends have paid when they returned.
We also fear that the style and size of furniture we have in Australia may not suit houses in Europe. Australian houses are spacious and have often more than one living room and a separate dining room.
So in order to play it safe we are not going to take any furniture apart from one wrought iron outdoor setting that I had made to go with a mosaic top I designed and created. That piece is unique and cannot be replaced.
Then we have some paintings from local artists that we don’t want to part with, a couple of original Shiraz rugs, a beautiful sculpture from Zimbabwe and a didgeridoo!
They may be some favourite books, a dish that we love but allover it is going to be minimal. I love the idea of that – to shed weight, clutter and go back to basics.
So we have started to sell our possessions and plan to have no clutter left by April. Just the things we use on a daily base. It is a great feeling and …….it brings money in the bank!
If you like to read more about our plans to emigrate to Europe, make sure you add your name to my mailing list so I can make sure you get my latest blog article.
See you next time!