Since I’m at home with our daughter all day, unnecessary things around the house annoy me more and more. Last summer, I started decluttering the home office, then the bathroom and the wardrobe and now I’m doing the home office again. I didn’t dare to touch the pantry alone because there we store things that my husband would also use in the future, so we’re going to do it together. The garage is completely his territory, so I won’t even enter that area.
Background: It all started in the summer. I had been asking my husband to help me declutter the house for months but for some reason, we were constantly procrastinating. In the home office, there were shelves on the floor, waiting to be assembled along with a truckload of other stuff. One stormy summer day when my husband wasn’t at home, our lightning struck nex to our house and the power went off. It came back soon after but I noticed that our modem wasn’t working, so I called my husband to ask for help. He told me to check if there’s electricity in the socket which it was plugged in. The area was so cluttered that I couldn’t reach the socket. I lost it, so grabbed my husband’s part of the clutter and threw everything into the backyard. It was still raining. I snapped of a photo of his clutter in the rain and sent it to him. First, he told me to talk about it with a psychologist – which I did -, then put his clutter away. So this is how it started. Now let’s see how I do the drama-free part of the decluttering…
The first steps
When I start to declutter a room, these are the questions I ask:
Have I used this object/worn this clothing item for the past one year? If the answer is “yes”, I keep it. If the answer is “no”, then more questions come up. Is it usable/wearable? Am I planning to use it in the next twelve months? If I’m likely to use it later, it stays, but if I don’t, I give it away or give it to people in need. If the item in question is no longer usable or wearable, it ends up in the trash can. If it’s something consumable, I check the expiration date. If it’s okay and I want to use it – e.g. cleaning supplies or makeup -, I keep it. If it has expired, it’s trash.
Have some kind of a system
It’s particularly important for me when I declutter the home office as there’s a lot of paper as well as confidential documents, for instance, bank statements or receipts with my debit card information in it. I use three trash bags: 1. communal waste, 2. selective waste (paper and plastic, 3. confidential. I put the things that are doomed to be trashed into the right category. If I want to get rid of CDs or DVDs with confidential data, such as family photos, financial documents, etc. I scratch the disc or break it into pieces so that nobody can retrieve data from them. I give the confidential waste to my parents who use it as a fire starter when they heat their house with their fireplace or I leave it in the garage and start the fire with it next time we have a barbeque. I put my dead plants into the biowaste bin.
I take any hazardous waste – old printer, computer screen, mobile phone – to MediaMarkt where I even get a voucher if I transfer such items to them, so my new printer – a wifi one with fewer cables and less clutter – will cost me less. I bring any expired medicine to a pharmacy where it is collected. I have medicine that I took while I was pregnant. Although they haven’t expired yet, I don’t plan to get pregnant in the near future, so they go to the pharmacy, too where people know how to handle them.
What I won’t definitely keep
I won’t keep anything that I don’t use, even if I’m emotionally attached to it. That’s just clutter. I’d rather take a photo of it and I save it to my laptop. By doing so, it won’t take up physical space in the house, but I can still look at it when I’m in a nostalgic mood. I won’t keep newspapers or magazines. If I find an interesting article, I cut it out and store it in a binder. One sheet of paper takes up less space than an entire magazine after all. I’m not planning to keep Janka’s newborn clothes either. Having photos of them should be enough for me.
Our goal for February is to declutter the pantry and the kitchen.
When I was decluttering the wardrobe, I carefully thought about what I needed and what I didn’t, what items of clothing are practical, what I would like to wear in the future. I didn’t have really have fitted tops left, I chose to keep loose-fit ones instead because my weight fluctuates due to my illness, so I think it’s better to wear clothes that look good on me even if I gain a few kilos. The style of my clothes also changed. The fewer colours I have in my wardrobe, the easier it is to combine clothing items and accessories. After the declutter session, I now have black, white, pink and green clothes and I’ll stick to this colour palette in the future. The reason I find it useful is that this way, my choices are limited in the morning, because whatever I choose is either black, white, pink or green and I don’t have to stand in front of my wardrobe thinking “Oh my God, what should I put on?!”, so it takes less time for me to get ready. The majority of my accessories is also gold, black or white in colour (or the combination of these), so these go well with the entire colour palette I wear, they are eternal colours, so they won’t go out of fashion.
To avoid getting cluttered again
Rule 1 is “One in, one out.”, i.e. if I buy something, I dispose of another one. I’ve mentioned the printer earlier. If I buy the new one, I get rid of the old one. If I buy a new cake pan or any other kitchen tool, I do it only because I have to replace another one.
If someone wants to buy me a present, I usually ask for consumables, for example, makeup or a gift card is even better.
As I’m not a green thumb and all the plants I touch die – except for a yucca palm, a zamioculcas and Christmas Cactus which go through fire and water… and the cats -, I asked family members not to buy me potted plants. For my birthday and name day, I appreciate a box of sugar-free chocolate more.
So this is how I declutter our house. If you have tried and tested methods or tips about it, leave it in the comments section below.
(source of the image: all-free-download.com)