A couple of years ago, not long after returning from a writer’s retreat in Tuscany, a few of the friends I met there decided to declutter their homes. I was taken with the idea and thought it would be a good thing to do, and so I purchased the book that inspired them, thinking it would inspire me too. The book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A Simple, Effective Way of Banishing Clutter Forever by Marie Kondo is a great book, and I read about three chapters. The clutter remained and I forgot all about the decluttering I was so enthusiastic about for a few days.
I should have known then that I was only in what we call the Contemplation Stage of change. I’d definitely moved from the stage where I didn’t even see there was a problem (Pre-Contemplation Stage), but I certainly wasn’t motivated enough to have the determination to get in and start pulling things out of drawers and cupboards (Determination Stage). A few days ago I read a post on Facebook by a friend who had started a secret group for those interested in being part of a decluttering challenge. I commented that it was a good idea, she responded, and ... now I am a part of that group. Yep!! And that means I have a sense of accountability. I joined the group, said I would participate, that I am committed, and in the last three days, I have cleaned cupboards and drawers and moved things to the rubbish bin, as well as passing on to others who can use them, perfectly good things that I have doubled up on or no longer have use for. I am in the Action Stage of change!! As you can see there are stages we have to go through before we actually do something about what might be an issue in our life. It feels good to be cleaning out, and I do tend to agree with Marie Kondo who says, “ The key to successful tidying is to do it in the correct order, to keep only the things you really love, and to do it all at once – and quickly. After that for the rest of your life you only need to choose what you keep and what to discard.”
What is decluttering?
Decluttering is essentially about simplifying and minimizing; its about keeping only what is needed and what is useful, and streamlining. And, we can declutter our mind, our finances and our time as well as our home. But what I’ve found is, that when the home is cluttered it is almost impossible to declutter those other aspects of our life. Start with decluttering the home and you will see that the others follow.
“Decluttering makes it easier to find things, and without the stress hormones rampaging around your brain, it means your brain (along with the rest of you) can rest and rejuvenate when you are at home.”
Why declutter your home?
I’ve asked myself that for a while! Clutter is associated with stress. A 2009 study by Darbe Saxbi and Rena Repetti found that wives who talked more about clutter and unfinished projects had levels of cortisol linked to chronic stress, and chronic stress is bad for your health.
Living in an organized, clutter-free home gives a sense of physical space. It makes it easier to find things, and without the stress hormones rampaging around your brain, it means your brain (along with the rest of you) can rest and rejuvenate when you are at home.
Where do I start?
This can be a hard one, and often, it’s at this point, we give up! So here are a few tips I gleaned from Marie Kondo:
There are lots of websites you can go to for help. One I like is Keep Calm get Organised. Michelle offers a decluttering ebook that will give you lots of checklists if you need ideas. She also mentions some of the above tips.
I hope this encourages you to get started. I can assure you, you will feel great once you finish, but you’ll also feel good every time you deal with one category!
Read here about how a young mum found decluttering saved her motherhood!