I can’t have a calm mind if everything around me is messy and cluttered. The two are intrinsically linked – the messier it gets, the more grumpy and stifled I feel. Which, in turn, makes me less inclined to deal with the mounting piles of random crap.
Every so often we look around our house and realise that clutter is making us miserable. With small children around, a lot of debris is created. When you add to this to piles of papers, books and magazines, the result is just a mess. We’re not hoarders by any means, but we do like things. The problem is that the things tend to get piled up, rarely looked at, and gradually sucked into the ever-growing detritus.
William Morris wisely said: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” October was officially Moan About Your House month in our household. In a bid to appreciate our surroundings more, we’ve decided to follow his advice. Here are five things we’ve been doing so far…
1. Emptying drawers and cupboards
Hands up how many of us moved into our homes and jammed everything in a cupboard at speed? You always think you’ll back at a later date and sort things out, but life usually gets in the way. We’re slowly working our way round the house, emptying and re-organising our many dumping grounds. You have to be quite brutal – if something has been shut away in a drawer for a few years, then surely it can’t be that important? In our house, the few important items have been sharing space with marbles, broken badges and old receipts for too long. We’re filling a lot of bin bags.
2. Rethinking the furniture
Tastes change and we’ve been hanging on to a lot of furniture that we don’t really like any more. In some rooms, we definitely have too much of it, and in others it’s not earning its keep by being useful. It’s going to feel sad, but it’s time to part with some familiar old friends that aren’t working for us anymore.
3. Giving things away to charity
Last weekend we donated about thirty books to the charity shop and our shelves look so much better for it. We like to have books around, but it’s good to have a purge every now and again. That book you bought ten years ago, never read, but thought would make you feel clever? It has to go, along with the old textbooks which are already hopelessly out of date. The same goes for clothes – if you haven’t worn it in a year then, the chances of you wearing it again are pretty slim. Pass it on to someone else to enjoy. Sell them on eBay or take them to the charity shop.
4. Devote a few hours to sorting through your magazines and papers
I love magazines and tend to hoard them in piles. I now like to keep a few favourite ones, like Country Living. With all the others, I tear out recipes and ideas, then pass them on to a friend, or recycle them. To cut down on the piles of paper cluttering up the house, I now have several magazine files in our kitchen where we keep things like school letters. In theory, I’m supposed to empty these every month and do some proper filing. In theory.
5. Have less out on display
I’m craving simpler, cleaner lines. To achieve this, I need to be more brutal and re-assess objects I’ve perviously considered beautiful. I’m going to start with the things that have the most dust on them!
Decluttering our lives is an on-going project. We’re determined to try and appreciate our house more. This is only the start!
What are your favourite tips for beating the clutter?