Where the mind is without fear and the home is without clutter, into that heaven of freedom, let my mornings awake! This could well be at the back of most of our minds, because today, clutter has taken over our lives like nothing else. Clutter, clutter, everywhere – not a place or space to think! Yes, modern living has brought with it, the perks of prosperity; everything that money can buy is ours for the taking. But it has also filled our homes, and lives, with things that we want, but do not need.
This is where decluttering comes into play. Of course, most of us look at decluttering not just as a physical activity but one whose very prospect bogs us down and we tend to procrastinate. We begin to have a mental block and sub-consciously try putting it off. But the fact is, the entire exercise of decluttering not only results in a clutter-free home but can actually allow us to destress and improve our well-being in the process. Imagine, we will have less to clean, lesser to organize, less expenditure and more savings to actually invest in the more important, intangible experiences (not things) in life.
In India, festivals are a big time for decluttering. So much so that 'deep cleaning' is almost an event by itself! Simply have this ready reckoner of Dos and Don'ts of Decluttering and be sorted, not only during the festivities, but for life.
Dos of Decluttering
- Create a checklist
Jotting down what you need to declutter can help achieve the desired goals easier than just making mental notes. Use your regular notepad, your phone or even better – Glassnote ( a glass writing board from Saint-Gobain) which lets you write and erase any number of times.
- Start small
Decluttering need not be intimidating. Start with just a few minutes in a day, gradually increasing the time as you get comfortable with the idea of throwing thrash out. Also, you can begin by discarding few items and then increasing the volume.
- Organize clutter
As much as it sounds weird, clutter can be organized too. You can earmark different categories for different types of clutter. For example, you can segregate clutter into the 4D approach – Disturb not, Displace, Donate and Discard. Doing so will ease your work and also help decide a future for the clutter.
- Get the family involved
Decluttering need not weigh down heavily on your shoulders if you get the family, or if you are living alone – friends, to chip in. Make it a fun group activity and before you know it, a good deal of time and clutter, would have passed!
- Hop before you shop
While decluttering is a byproduct of buying stuff off the shelf, it would surely help if you could exercise some precaution. Hop before you shop. Yes, quickly move on to the next store when you feel the urge to buy something. It will give you the time to reflect on if you really need it. If so, you can always go back and buy it, else you will be home with one item less, and one thing lesser to declutter!
Don'ts of Decluttering
- Don't hoard
Hoarding is a hard habit to break. Human nature prompts us to hoard up on everything from eatables to clothes but the truth is – you can only eat so much, and you can only wear these many. Resist the temptation to binge; there's nothing that you cannot buy later.
- Don't make a case of 'just in case'
Perhaps the best excuse to clutter, is “let me keep this,just in case...” But the 'just in case' never sees the light of the day so it's best that you don't take up its case either.
- Don't camouflage
Just because a home seems spick and span on the surface, does not mean it is. Look into the insides of cupboards and cabinets, and you will see the amount of stuff that is stashed away in there. Don't camouflage clutter. Using glass is a good way to make sure that what you see is what is inside. However, if you still do not want your belongings to be visible, use frosted glass instead! Either way, glass ensures that clutter is shown the door.
- Don't justify
Clutter has a way of making you justify its existence; don't fall prey to it. A simple rule of thumb is, if you have not used an item in the last one year, chances are that you will never find the use for it ever again. Of course, this does not apply to things of sentimental value – like your wedding album or your child's first dress. But barring those few invaluable assets, the 12-month formula should do the trick.
- Don't get stressed
Decluttering is supposed to get you to destress and not the other way round. Don't let the process stress you out; choose a time that you find appropriate to declutter, and which does not get in the way of your routine. You can decide to dive into it on a holiday that you find you can put to productive use.
This festive season, find the peace that comes from decluttering. Empty your homes off clutter and fill the hearts with the joy of celebration!