'De-cluttering' is a buzz word these days. Many people find they just have too much 'stuff'. It is easy as a Mum to collect and attract lots of items your children may wear, play with or need one day. You probably don't have much time to sort through your own belongings and discard unnecessary items. Looking around at the piles of 'stuff' may be making you feel tired.
De-clutter a couple of shelves or boxes at a time. Image courtesy of Pixabay
Numerous books have been written on de-cluttering but I am going to assume you don't have time to read one and all you want is a few basic tips to get you started. Starting on de-cluttering is the hardest part of the process.
1. Work out what is important in your life right now It is likely your priorities have changed since having children. You have less time and are probably short of sleep. However, you may still be trying to do things the way you used to.
Your kitchen cupboards may be full of fancy gizmos you don't have time to use and clean afterwards.
Don't feel guilty about parting with these items. Perhaps you have friends with more time who would make use of them. If you are donating to a charity, be aware some do not accept electrical items.
Your wardrobe may include numerous items that require fiddly ironing. Part with these along with any clothes you don't wear. It is easier to find what you want when you have fewer items in your wardrobe. Mix and match separates give you variety.
Perhaps you have study materials for a course you won't finish or that will have undergone a change in the syllabus by the time you do. I have found it hard to get rid of outdated study materials but felt a sense of relief when I actually did it.
2. Sort things into boxes Label some boxes with words such as dump, recycle, donate, return to owner and fix. Only put things that can be fixed quickly and properly into the last box. You may decide not to have a fix box.
Some people recommend holding a garage sale when you have finished de-cluttering the house and shed. Yes, a garage sale will result in extra cash but it is a lot of work. Think hard about how much help you will get and whether the possible financial gain is worth it before you commit yourself to holding one.
3. De-clutter a bit at a time It can be overwhelming to try to de-clutter a whole room at once so start by tackling a couple of drawers or shelves. Sort things into the boxes.
4. Deal with those boxes straight away Empty the 'dump' and 'recycle' boxes into the appropriate bins. Put the donate items into a strong bag if you will be placing them in a donation bin or leave them in the box if you will take it into the shop. Put any items that need to be returned to their rightful owner in a spot where you will remember to return them.
Thrift shops appreciate good quality donations Image by Marie Vonow
5. How to deal with children's clutter The manner in which you handle clutter belonging to your children will depend on their age. You will make all the decisions for littlies but older children will probably want to have some say over what goes.
Perhaps some toys can be stored and swapped around so there are fewer items in the bedroom at any one time. Your child may be willing to trade in some older video games at Gametraders or a similar store.
6. Questions to ask yourself when deciding what to part with
Do I love, love this item? Keep it.
Does it make me happy? Keep it.
Does it have bad memories. Get rid of it.
Do I have something else that will do the job? Part with it.
If I change my mind down the track, can I replace it? Part with it.
Is it difficult to clean? It's up to you, but I would get rid of it.
7. Reward yourself Congratulate yourself when you have finished a de-cluttering session and give yourself a reward, even if it is just a cuppa.
Image by Marie Vonow
Every mum will have her own feelings about what is clutter and what isn't. Some are most comfortable with a minimalist approach to their home. Others feel happier with more personal items decorating their home. It is up to each individual to work out what works for her and her family.