Well, it had to happen. Obsessive watching of YouTube videos about decluttering has spurred me into action (sort of). I’ve realised that I have a lot of ‘stuff’. Some of it sparks joy (thanks, Marie Kondo), some of it is there ‘just in case it’s needed’, some of it is there because it cost a lot of money, but whatever, I have decided that I need to streamline my living space. One thing I read that really resonated with me was about how much it costs to actually store this stuff that I rarely if ever use – for example I have a garage which is, literally, a disaster area. Prime real estate (as Americans would say), which I could use for lots of different things – an exercise space, a utility room, a workshop – but instead it is a dumping ground. I’m not sure how much it costs me to use it for dumping stuff in, and quite frankly I can’t be bothered to work it out, but I would guess it’s quite a lot.
I’ve started to make small inroads into the stuff I have that I don’t need, for example old toiletries and makeup, clothes, but I find it hard to be ruthless. I also find that things that I get rid of are quite often needed just days later (looking at you, wooden kebab skewers..), which then leads me to resist getting rid of them ‘just in case’. I have a bit of a slapdash approach to decluttering, I will wake up and decide I need to sort my wardrobe out, or when I go up to bed I will think it’s the perfect time to organise my bedside drawer. This means that I never feel that a room is particularly ‘decluttered’; only part of it. What that leads to is a feeling of lethargy, when I can’t be bothered to declutter because it doesn’t feel like I am getting anywhere – and then to motivate myself I watch yet more YouTube vloggers decluttering, which gives me a spurt of energy!
I do subscribe to the old tip of having a charity ‘waystation’, for putting stuff in that you will be donating to charity – and guess where this waystation is? Yes, you guessed it – in my disaster of a garage!! However, I have strategically placed it near the exit so it is close to the car for loading up! I also sometimes do this thing with my friends where we do what is called ‘swishing’ – where you have your friends over, you each have a number of items you no longer need but are good quality (e.g. bags, scarves, toiletries) and your friends can take them home with them. Sort of a friendship circle version of Freecycle. Not great if you are seriously decluttering though because the temptation is there to give a home to something your friends are getting rid of, but a guilt-free way of handing on once-loved items to someone you know will take care of it.
Another decluttering method that is sweeping the internet is Swedish Death Cleaning. Sounds grim doesn’t it? And it kind of is a bit grim, in that it’s about making sure that your loved ones don’t have a huge tidy-up job on their hands when you die – including getting rid of things that might be embarrassing for them to deal with when you’ve gone. There’s a good YouTube video where a vlogger called Brittany Vasseur does a comparison between the two methods
I think the one thing to keep in mind about decluttering is this – you are never done! It is a regular job that you have to do because, before you know it, you are drowning in stuff again. And who needs wooden kebab sticks anyway?