I live in a small flat. I hate dust, clutter and mess. I like surfaces to have clear space on them.
For the most part have been pretty vigilant at keeping unnecessary “stuff” out of my living space. When people give me ornaments as presents, and I’m ashamed to admit this, I do tend to think ‘but where is that going to go?’
But just lately, I’ve noticed the tell-tale piles of books and papers starting to creep back in. I am aware of never-worn clothes in drawers and cupboards. It’s time to clear out, and more importantly, to get back into the clutter-free mind-set that stops the creep in the first place.
Rule 1: chuck things away
“Have nothing in your home that you do not believe to be useful or beautiful” said William Morris, and that’s a good rule to keep in mind when you start a clear out. I am fortunate in that I love chucking stuff out; it feels so cleansing. But of course, most of the stuff I get rid of actually goes to charity, Freecycle, or in the recycling. I consider it a challenge to put as little as possible in actual landfill.
Rule 2: don’t buy it in the first place.
I used to be a lot more of a clutter fiend, and it took a spell of being royally broke while I was at university to break the habit. And this illustrates the second rule of clutter-free living. It took being skint to make me realise, that yes, I could get by without “shopping”.
Of course, we all need to buy certain things, within reason. But the problem starts when we go to the shops for one thing, and come out with 5 bags of all kinds of stuff. I used to tell myself that yes; I did need these cupcake tins, this nail varnish, this hair dye, and these sparkly candles. Or that I just had to buy them now, because they were “so cheap”. Big supermarkets, Ikea, and discount places like Wilkinson’s are particular danger zones for this fill-your-basket syndrome.
When I was broke, I couldn’t buy things. Walking past shops, I would just tell myself that I’d get it another day.
This is a habit I’ve carried with me ever since (nearly a decade - eek), and my home spaces have magically became a lot less cluttered. It also broke the habit of shopping as a leisure activity, something I didn’t used to be able to get through a Saturday without.
Ok so I’m off… not to the shops, but to have a de-clutter session. See you in a fortnight.