Clear The Clutter

14 Comments

I have spent several years gradually decluttering in an effort to simplify my life.  I am not sure what the end point of this journey looks like, or even whether there is a destination.  Since I have most areas in my house fairly clear and streamlined,  I am certainly at the point where it is easy to recognise potential clutter before it becomes entrenched.

It is important to identify things before they become clutter.  An example is a plastic water jug that was in our refrigerator.  It had obviously developed a hairline crack because I discovered a pool of water on the shelf where it was standing.  Until yesterday this was a perfectly functional item in our kitchen, today it will not hold water which is what I use it for.  So, I have thrown it in the garbage.  Some people would suggest that it could be used to store/display non-liquid items or be refashioned into something else.  I am all for minimising the amount of stuff that goes to landfill, however, I do not need this jug for any other purpose other than holding water, so out it goes.

Do I need another plastic water jug?  I am trying to use more glass and less plastic in the kitchen so my plan is to look for a suitable glass jug.  It is not desperately urgent so I may check out the op shops when I have time.

My sewing room is one area where I still have quite a bit of ‘stuff’.  I am gradually working through it so tonight I did a little more.  Just before Christmas it was a bit of a mad flurry to get the sewing table (folding) cleared so that I could fit bedding for 4 children in this room.  I have previously resisted stashing things away without sorting them properly but as time was limited I carefully folded the remaining fabric and half-finished projects into 2 lidded boxes.  I put the boxes in the wardrobe but as soon as Christmas was over and the table re-instated I brought the boxes out and placed them on the table as a reminder to me that I had to sort through the contents.

2013-01-06 01There are several garments which I had bought from the op shop last year with a view to using the fabric for my patchwork.  I had begun unpicking this blouse which was in the box so I decided to finish that job.

2013-01-06 02Here is the material that I have for use in my patchwork project.

2013-01-06 03The buttons have been salvaged and are now in my button collection.

2013-01-06 04The scraps of fabric have been discarded.

2013-01-06 05I now have 1 less thing in my ‘to do’ pile.  Here are another couple of garments which are the next things I plan to deconstruct and use for patchwork.

2013-01-06 06By having the things confined in a box I can easily see that I am making progress in clearing them out.

Do you have a particular room or type of items that present a decluttering challenge to you?

14 thoughts on “Clear The Clutter

  1. Heidi – best wishes with the move. Is it this month? Are the kids helping?

    I am determined not to shove things in cupboards. Even if it means that things are untidy for a while I try to make myself go through it all before I put it away.

  2. I’m a clutterbug but working on that at present with help from writings by Colin Wright and the Minimalists. One of my major problem areas is my 5 year old giving me pictures and art everyday. When trying to declutter a few the other day she sadly looked at me and said you never want to keep my art work. Ouch – that hurt and I quickly hugged her and apologised. She wasn’t pulling a tantrum – she was genuinely hurt as she enjoys art and we are art collectors as a family – and most of our friends are artists so she sees herself as an valuable artists herself…

    • Frugal could you have a special place to show her painting on pegs or such and then after a certain period scan them to the computer to keep forever. Then maybe each month or quarter go through the paper ones and only keep special ones. Even once a year narrow these down. By keeping them on the computer you can date them and keep them in order much better.

    • This a tricky one and one that lots of mums struggle with. One of the principles of minimalism/simplicity is to make a confined space for particular items – create limits. This is not so much about throwing pieces away but creating the best possible collection. Perhaps you could have a box/folio that has limited space for her artwork. I would suggest that each week you let her decide which piece she would like to keep and then at the end of term go through those again and select the 3 best ones. At the end of the year the process could be repeated and choose 3 or 4 for the year. The following year do the same again and that way you are not throwing away her work – she is choosing to create the best possible collection. At the end of primary school she will have between 20-30 pieces of artwork and may want to cull it further to make way for new creations.

      Hope this helps.

  3. lol, our whole house! every photo I’ve seen of your home looks lovely and streamlined. A picture of your spare room a while back looked like my minimalist’s dream!

    Right now we’re working on clearing out the second bedroom. A friend of mine may be renting it for a few months while she settles in the DC area. It’ll be an interesting challenge because we’ll have to empty out at least some of our huge closet in that room. I suppose it’s more the closets than the rooms that are the problem for us.

    I didn’t get to say it earlier — Happy holidays!

    • Joanna, our house has not always looked like that and it has been a long, gradual process but I feel as though I am definitely on the home stretch now.

      Re; emptying out the closet. Could you use some of the Project 333 principles and box up some of it that might be time to go? If you store the boxes in the basement while your friend is staying and when she goes you could send the unopened boxes out of your life for good.

  4. Well done Fairy, my ‘stuff’ is on the spare bed so I hope noone needs to stay soon. I too am trying to work through one project at a time. Not easy working fulltime now.

    • It is so hard when working full-time, however, the upside is that there is less time to accumulate more stuff. I hope any potential guests give you plenty of notice. 🙂

  5. Greetings and Happy New Year! I am so glad that you have touched on the topic of recycled fashion and jar collecting in this post. This is something I am always working on. Having a paid hobby as a print model, clothes and accessories are the most challenging items to declutter. However, I do often share with shelters and friends who want them after I have grown tired of them. It is important for me to have a diverse, functional, and eccentric selection to clothes since they are needed for different projects. I have had an idea or making a sentimental scarf using scraps from some of my late mother’s clothes that I loved of hers. It has been a year. In the meantime, they sit in the closet because I fear parting from them or think I might use them. Any suggestions to get it started. I have also decluttered my jar collection bag assuring myself that I should purchase products that already come in the consistency I prefer. I have become much better…thank you for sharing your experience and any input you may have. Peace,Q

    • Welcome Quiana. Refashioning things to extend their use is always a good idea. I like your thoughts on the sentimental scarf. What a lovely tribute to your mother. Sentimental items provide a different set of challenges when it comes to letting go of them but all I can suggest is that you try to think of how delighted your mother would be to see you using the clothes which were hers. You will be reminded of your memories whenever you wear the scarf.

      Best wishes.

  6. Our whole house needs to be decluttered !
    When we return home next week from holidays I plan on starting.
    I need to be finished before I return to work at the end of Jan.
    Fairy You inspire me too do it!
    We have (no I have ) accumulated a lot of stuff of our 40 years of marriage.

  7. Hi Fairy, just wanted to let you know I have been decluttering madly!
    I still have a lot to do ,but I am very happy with the progress I have made .
    I just want to thank you for inspiring to so something about my clutter .
    I love reading your blog .
    Many thanks
    Chris

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