Beautiful freesias in bloom everywhere
PART ONE – DE-CLUTTERING
Spring has sprung in the beautiful Blue Mountains. Freesias are bursting with fragrance and beauty, birds are merrily chirping and the days are longer and brighter.
With all this excitement and enthusiasm comes a new determination to get things in order and make everything lighter. We start replacing the heavy comfort meals of winter with lighter salads and fruits. We start replacing the heavy layers of clothing with t-shirts and sandals. And there’s an urge to clear and organise our homes and to, well…spring clean.
I always feel the biggest part of spring cleaning is getting rid of unused and unappreciated items. I have several friends who feel the same way but get stuck right at the beginning of the task. I believe there’s a little bit of hoarder in us all.
People with a hoarding disorder are psychologically unable to get rid of stuff. In the worst of cases, their homes are a cluttered mess of newspapers, junk mail and all manner of other ‘treasures’ they cannot part with. Ironically, given the mess and chaos of their homes, often hoarders are perfectionists. It’s their fear of not making the right or perfect decision about what to do with things that keep them from doing anything.
I think it’s that same desire not to make a mistake about what do to with things that often stumps my friends when they begin the task of de-cluttering. That, and the feeling the job is just too enormous and they don’t know where to begin.
Those of us who have lived long enough to become grandparents have also lived long enough to collect a lot of stuff! And grandparents are notoriously sentimental which makes it even harder to part with stuff.
The thing about de-cluttering your home is that is also de-clutters your brain, helping you to think more clearly. It reduces stress and also frees up time – people waste a lot of time looking for lost items.
LET’S GET STARTED
It’s best to tackle this job before you start with the actual cleaning.
The first thing to do is clear a day or two that you can fully devote to the job. If you get all your things organised during the same week you will be less likely to waste time by moving things from one room to the next and undoing all the good work you’ve done.
It’s a good idea to start and finish one room at a time. Start from the inside out – go through cupboards, drawers, makeup, jewellery box etc before starting on the actual clean. This way you won’t be messing up places you’ve already cleaned and it works psychologically as you will want to keep going to clean the areas that can be seen.
Have a couple of boxes or baskets with you. One is your “throw away” box. One is your “give away” box (things that are too good to go in the bin but can be put out on the footpath as giveaways or even taken to op shops or clothing bins).
If the uncertainty of choosing causes you stress you may need the third box, the “I’m not sure” box.
Bedrooms are good places to start. They don’t have the grease of kitchens or the mildew of bathrooms that can take extra time cleaning.
That means you can achieve more at the start which will make you feel productive and spur you on to do more.
PSST! WANT TO HEAR A SECRET?
Go through your wardrobes and get rid of strained, torn or outgrown clothes.
I had a skirt that I loved and fitted me perfectly when I was in my early 20s. When I outgrew it I kept it thinking my goal was to fit back in that skirt. I kept it for at least two decades.
At one point I moved it out of my wardrobe (it was kind of depressing me) and had it near my sewing stuff. It stayed there for years until I finally realised even if I lost enough weight to fit in it I was now too old to feel at all comfortable in it.
A few years ago I finally let go of that skirt – but not before taking note of its size (I even measured the waistband) so I could hang onto my dream without hanging onto something that was useless.
That’s one of the biggest secrets to letting go of stuff you no longer need. Find a way to still honour and treasure it.
One of my recommendations to the parents of my Wacky Workshops students was to take pictures of the artwork which could then go into an art memory folder. There is only so much art you can fit on your fridge and after a while, you will even run out of wall space, especially if you’re dealing with children’s art from school and after school art classes.
So a child creates some beautiful art. Naturally, you display it. The very best may make it to a wall, other greats the fridge. You will still have pages and pages full of art.
I have created an art folder for the Goddesses. Most of the art they do with me goes home to their parents but sometimes they create the art FOR me so I keep it in a folder. Soon that folder will be overflowing.
Instead of buying a new folder, filling it and leaving it to take up space on a shelf and get dusty, I also photograph the best of the artworks.
I can then part with old art to make way for new art. The digital world we live in makes this ridiculously easy.
One day I’ll put together the very best of those pictures and create a collage I can then print and put on my wall with great pride.
Taking photographs to help treasure the memory of things is great for everything you decide to get rid of.
One friend told me she very bravely got rid of a backpack she had owned for decades. She travelled throughout Europe with that backpack when she was young and just starting the adventures of her life.
Ah, the memories. A photograph of the bag will bring back the memories just as well as the actual backpack and it will not get dirty or take up any space.
Do you have shelves full of books you’ve read and are most unlikely to read again? Why not make a list of them all? This not only honours their memory but helps (if you’re getting a bit forgetful as I sometimes am) you to avoid purchasing duplicates.
Do you have jewellery that you no longer wear and can only be valued in sentimental terms?
Perhaps you could reinvent it into something you would wear or used it as a decorative feature on a pretty box.
I put a lot of my old stuff in a special jewellery box for Goddesses to use for dress- ups. Any old makeup not quite fit for the bin goes into their special make-up box.
Once you have finished de-cluttering things unseen it’s time to look at the tops of cupboards and open shelves, tabletops and wall spaces.
Ask yourself if you really need what you see. If you’re not sure, put it in the “I’m not sure” box.
This box can then be stored somewhere out of sight for several months. Make yourself a note to have a look at in 3-6 months. Making a decision will be easier once it has been out of your sight for a while.
Wishing you an uncluttered life and a gleeful day, Tamuria