In less than 3 months from now, we will have to move out because our rental contract is coming to an end and the landlord would like to sell the flat. It’s a situation that could be stressful for some, but this is routine to me. I would need more than 2 hands to count how many times I moved to a different place in my life… I just like a regular change of scenery! Now I can tell you that: it doesn’t matter how many times you did it before, the packing part is always the most painful. In between moves, I always seem to find a way to accumulate too many things.
Letting things go is not an easy task
I have so many clothes that I need 2 big wardrobes to fit everything in. Not because I buy too much but because I never get rid of anything. T-shirts I used to wear 10 years ago (it’s almost sentimental), dresses I never wear (but I might some day, we never know), the list is long. My desk is full of “stuff”, drawers and cupboards are overflowing. A lot of free space represents danger: I will find a way to fill up the space somehow, it’s like a pattern that keeps repeating itself. I now realise it’s very similar to how my mind works: I’m constantly overthinking.
Everything happens for a reason so I’ll use my next move to declutter properly. There’s no better motivation to make a start than when you have a countdown hanging over your head. There is only so much I can procrastinate this time, I have no choice but to do it! And the last thing I want is to fill the emptied space with more things again. My new objective is to keep a more minimalist approach to life. Because at the end of the day, you don’t own things, they own you.
Why should you declutter and learn how to live with less?
Below are some good reasons why:
- It’s an excellent exercise to learn how to let things go (physically but also mentally) – You will get more space to move around.
- A home with less stuff will make you feel more calm, peaceful and relaxed – Your energy levels will rise.
- It’s easier to clean and tidy up when there is less stuff – You will have more time for yourself.
- Choosing to own less means choosing to buy less – it will also save you money!
In so many ways, decluttering your space will help free your mind and have a positive impact on your wellbeing. Not only you’ll clear up the mess but it will force you to come to terms with things you subconsciously link with the past. And who knows, maybe you will find some hidden gems in the process too: things you forgot you even had under that pile of clutter!
Tips to make a good start
From my own experience, this is what I would suggest:
- Break down your home into smaller areas
- List what requires decluttering: closet, desk, bookshelves, etc
- Start with small and easy things you can get rid of easily
- What doesn’t have any value and is utterly useless, contributes to the mess and doesn’t make you smile when you look at it
- No difficult decisions at this point
- Prepare 2 boxes: one for unwanted things you want to sell, one for unwanted things you want to give away
- Does it have monetary value? Put it in the “to sell” box
- Do you have someone in mind who could use it? Any charity who could benefit from it? Put it in the “to give away” box (to prioritise if you don’t need the money)
- Ask yourself the right questions
- When was the last time you used the item? What are the odds you’re ever going to need it again? What do you feel when you touch the item?
- Remember you need much less than you think you need
- Don’t stop until your space looks spacious and harmonious
- Organise what’s left to keep the space clean
How to do it in a sustainable way
Going through a big decluttering will help you realise how much you own but have never used, and will prevent you from doing the same thing again. By consuming less, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a greener world. Not buying things that are unnecessary helps improve the environment!
“As consumers we have so much power to change the world by just being careful in what we buy.”Emma Watson
Before you make a purchase, you should commit to using what you have first. Do you really need to buy this new jumper? Does your kid really need this new extra toy? Some things are obviously reusable, but some others would need a bit more imagination. Look at them with a creative eye: maybe that old piece of linen can be used to wrap up a gift?
Some things you own might not be of any use to you, but someone else will definitely use it. Whether it’s a family member, a friend or someone you don’t know via charities, it’s definitely a good thing to do. What’s a better feeling than supporting local non-profits in your community? This is also probably the best chance to give your unwanted items a second life.
If there’s no better option than discarding it, do it the right way. Recycling stuff will reduce the amount sent to landfill, and make use of resources already available. Remember to keep your cardboard and other recyclables clean and read your local recycling guide.
If you are thinking of decluttering too (whether you’re moving out or not), I know it can seem daunting but you can do it!
Big Girl x