The decluttering phenomenon has been a recent hot topic, and with good reason. A tidy, uncluttered environment has been proven to improve concentration, increase focus and boost creativity. This fundamental aspect of a jaw dropping interior is a movement that comes naturally to some and for others, such as myself, it’s a reoccurring conscious effort.
Don’t get me wrong, there are sides of this system that I am productive in, or even enjoy. As a mother of two young children, I relish order in my life, and so, decluttering has become part of my tidying routine. Toys, household goods, children’s books… easy.
My wardrobe, however, is another story. And so today with you, I share my own personal struggles and how I tackle these struggles both within my own household and with my clients.
Recognising the emotional attachment
It’s not a big wardrobe. I actually thought it was pretty average to be honest. Until a close friend commented upon the sight of it “Gesus Tarmaine, do you actually wear all of those clothes?!”
It’s a difficult and complex thing to try and describe the love for my clothes. Particularly as many of the clothes don’t actually fit me anymore. They are my pre baby, size six, high quality and ridiculously expensive wear. A definite emotional attachment. The clothes represented my life 6 years ago and all the wonderful memories I had in them.
And when the $350 designer unworn dress sits next to my weekly worn budget $35 dress – it doesn’t make getting rid of it any easier.
Embracing this realisation is a big first step.
Fear of regret
There is nothing worse than the feeling of regret and wishing you hadn’t done something.
Particularly when you happen to lose 5 kilos and have a grand ball to attend and have no sparkling gown to wear because you decided to give it away 2 years prior. This scenario hasn’t happened to me yet – but it might. Right?
I might actually wear that again one day…
I might suddenly loose the weight and fit into this again…
This might come back in fashion one day…
That fear of regret can make some convincing arguments, however unlikely they may be.
Challenge that fear. If that object hasn’t provided function or feeling for a year than its time to rethink about its settlement in your home.
Baby steps- There’s only two
Overcoming all of the above by taking the leap and saying your goodbyes to your old belongings is hard. It’s final and it’s scary. So generally, we procrastinate. Then when we have to face it, we have a change of heart and convince ourselves that we are just not ready to give these things up. Taking that first step is the hardest part.
1. The Box- Find a box and put all the identified objects in it. Make sure you close the box tightly with tape. Find space in your house for it, it could be in the garage, wardrobe, or hidden under furniture. Somewhere where it’s not always visible. Somewhere where you can forget about it. It’s still yours and it’s still there if you need it.
2. The goodbyes - Wait 6 months. If you haven’t had to refer to any of the objects in the box then giving it away will be so much easier. The trick is not to open it. If you don’t open the box, you don’t give yourself the opportunity to reminisce and fall into the same trap again.
Time & Order
I am no minimalist. An accumulation of things doesn’t just contribute to the aesthetics of a room, they are the aesthetics of a room, which is why I emphasis the importance of these selections.
However, it’s so easy to convince ourselves that the empty space we’ve created by decluttering should be replaced with the new. Doesn’t help that nowadays everywhere we turn we are reminded of all the lovely things we could be consuming and replacing it with. The urges to fill that gap will settle over time and, if it doesn’t, the time has provided clarity on what to replace it with. First you need to experience the empty space before you know it needs filling and what to fill it with. The more often we take the time to consider our surroundings, the more we appreciate being surrounded by the things that actually matter.
I add order in here as a really important follow on. You might be ace at making those cuts but struggle with ongoing order and tidiness. Regularly assessing your surroundings is one of the first steps I recommend to my clients eager for a change. Spending that extra 15-20 minutes a day to sort, tidy and maintain does so much aesthetically, emotionally and productively and contributes more than the purchase of a new piece of furniture ever would.
There will be little elf readers that will likely think ‘this is all so obvious, why write a blog post about it?’ You’d be surprised at how difficult this comes to some. In many cases, when I ask my clients what it is they dislike about their space, the ‘clutter’ is one of the first topics raised by them. We are often subconsciously thinking about our surroundings, and you’d be surprised by the affect these nagging thoughts have and how much they interfere with us reaping the rewards from our environment. Helping others tackle this task is my most preferred and enjoyable service because the gains are immediate and are completely transforming.
For me and my wardrobe struggles, it’s been a gradual process.
There’s still a box in my spare room somewhere. Although, I can’t quite remember what’s in it.
Your space is precious. Invest your time in it and it will reward you.