Tag Archives: spring clean

Are you stressed out & drowning in clutter? Believe in yourself and make a change…

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As promised, dear friends, here are the first of a few ‘before & after’ pictures from my big 2018 declutter, reorganisation & spring clean! 

One of the main reasons I am posting this series, other than to help me keep track of my progress, is because I believe from experience that the way we live and use our space can have a huge impact upon our mental health, well being, stress levels and as a result, our quality of life. 

I also want to encourage you, if you are struggling, that I wasn’t born tidy or organised, and from the pictures above you can see that it has taken considerable effort to overcome the challenges of disorganisation, clutter (and depression!), and to create a much happier, peaceful and enjoyable environment for myself and hopefully others.  I also want to encourage you that if you want to make a change, but are currently feeling overwhelmed, not to worry, you’re not alone, and it can be done. 

I’m sure that even looking at the before and after pictures, let alone being in the space, evokes an emotional and psychological reaction in you…the first picture no doubt represents somewhere that you probably wouldn’t want to be, whereas the second, ‘after’ picture is quite peaceful, ordered, inviting and aesthetically pleasing. 

So where do you start? Let me suggest a few helpful hints and tips on your journey…(and for more, check out my previous blog posts in this home & lifestyle series that you can find from my main menu).

  • Know what you are dealing with, and break things down into smaller more manageable tasks. What I mean by this is that you will absolutely, definitely feel overwhelmed and daunted and perhaps even confused if you say to yourself, ‘I need to sort out / tidy / clean / declutter my house / flat’ etc if you don’t have any idea of how you are going to do this or where to start. Even if you feel like your entire living space is chaotic and that you can’t do it, believe me (and the pictures for proof!) that you can. Start with a pen and a notepad, and jot down the key areas or rooms of your home or flat. For me, this would be: the hallway, hall cupboard, my bedroom, small en suite bathroom, spare room (or dumping ground as it was for a long time), main bathroom, open plan living, kitchen, dining area. These can be broken down further, but that will be once you have focused your attention on a particular area. I find it helpful, even if I am doing different tasks simultaneously, to work as much as possible either by room by room and / or by theme.

 

  • Once you have chosen where to start, say for example, the bedroom, think about the  items you use there, what you need, and your daily routine. Then think about how you will create a place for each type of thing. For example, storage of clothes, toiletries, bed linen, etc. Name places, even in your mind, but writing it down initially helps, and be disciplined in how you think about storage.

 

  • Next, when faced with a mess like that above, you will need to lighten your load and begin to declutter, bin, recycle, give away and sort the items that you do have. I found it very helpful to keep myself from getting overwhelmed to set aside some time and to look upon this stage as a game or a puzzle to solve. For example, I would perhaps get a big bin bag and start by identifying and throwing away all of the things I could see that could go straight into the bin. I did the same with items to be recycled and sorted them into papers and plastics. I also went by item type, and created a single (yes, just one!) identifiable storage space in my home that I could either immediately start putting things away in or where I would be able to once I had done more work of creating that space. For example, an easy step was to begin to identify the many plastic bags, take them out of the room, fold them and put them in one single place that I could go to when I needed a plastic bag. I did the same with other bags, and types of items such as scarves, etc. With clothes, towels, etc, I got them all out of the way and put them to one side, after which I washed and dried them and sorted them: some would go to charity, some for storage for the appropriate season, and others would be the clothes that I need for current use.

 

  • Sometimes you will need to purchase additional items to help you  create a system. For example storage organisers, boxes, etc to create order. I have a small / medium sized wardrobe in my room with sliding doors. This can be tricky to make the most of the space available and I know that some people with these cupboards prefer to take off the sliding doors for easier access. I personally like the idea of being able to close the doors as who can guarantee that they’ll always keep their new system tidy?! I found that a lot of space was being wasted because there are no shelves or drawers inside, and any clothes that can’t go on the hangers tend to find themselves heaped in a pile at the bottom of the cupboard. So working from the inside out, I created additional storage space by buying this easy to assemble item as shown above and have organised my clothes and accessories so that the hanger space and the ‘free space’ is utilised. I have taken care to not pack the space full of stuff, which was made easier by getting rid of things when decluttering as well as creating storage space under the bed, by purchasing a very affordable ottoman to go at the end of the bed, and storage bags for underneath the bed, all with a specific purpose for particular types of items.

 

  • You will find that certain types of items just don’t belong in the room that they are in and that you will need to create an appropriate space for in the ‘correct’ room at a later date. You can begin by finding a temporary space to gather items of that type so that they don’t stay in the room that they’re not supposed to be in.

 

  • The whole process can be time consuming, depending on how deeply you are in your clutter, and can sometimes feel laborious, or overwhelming. However, you can do it! A wonderful place to start is with your imagination and inspiration. Daydream about your ideal room, and how you are going to make it that way. Having a strategy will enable you to accomplish so much more and much more quickly, as you work to a plan and don’t get caught up in the emotional baggage of how you got to this state in the first place. Perhaps you only need some ‘fine tuning’ in which case, as I develop my own, I will post guidance and tips on a daily / weekly / monthly / yearly ‘maintenance schedule’. Make sure that you don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. If you read over my previous posts you will find advice on the importance of having a space that you are happy to go to, even the tiniest ‘cosy corner’ so that you can take breaks, enjoy ‘now’ and allow yourself to rest and be refreshed.

It is a process, but if you turn your process into a puzzle to be solved rather than a chore to be endured, you might find that you enjoy it a whole lot more, and create the home of your dreams….right where you are!!! All the very best with your homemaking journey, friends. xx

 

Calm amid Clutter: How to keep calm when decluttering and clearing out the messiest areas of your home!

 

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With spring just around the corner, many of us will be turning our thoughts towards spring cleaning, re-evaluating our homes, and seeking ways to get rid of the old as we welcome in the new, and how to make the most of our living spaces. 

I hope you’ve already joined me in my new Home & Lifestyle series based upon my theme and goals for February to declutter and ‘clean up my act’ at home 🙂 If not, you might find some inspiration from my last few posts, and may have some of your own inspiration to share with me. 

As yet, apart from the before and after pictures of one room that I have worked on, I haven’t got into the ‘nitty gritty’ of my process so far. However, I have spent a lot of today sorting, recycling, discarding and making a dent in the seemingly grand task before me. 

And I doubt that I’m the only one who has ever been in the midst of the process of decluttering and reorganising, who has felt those moments of ‘despair’ at the task taken on, especially when tackling the “stuff” that has built up over the years, stuff that we don’t even really know how it got or stayed in our homes, and yet stuff that seems to be clogging up our lives and living spaces in some way.

So for those of you who are in the same boat as me who also feel that they are close to drowning in that sea of “stuff”, and beginning to lose sight of how we’ll ever get out of this mess, here are a few words of encouragement from someone who is in that boat right now! 🙂

1. Firstly, have a vision of what you want and desire your home to be like. I have created a ‘wish list’ on Amazon that I add to with ideas of what I want my dream room (as I am working on a specific room that has become the ‘junk room’ just now, having already tackled and more or less succeeded with my main bedroom) to look like and contain. I don’t really have any real intention of purchasing any of these beautiful items at the moment, especially considering they wouldn’t be able to go anywhere until I have cleared out the space, but it is inspiring nonetheless to dream a little amid the reality of semi-chaos.  You might store inspiring pictures on your phone, or have a scrapbook or sketch book of ideas, or even blog about your home / living space dreams and goals here on Word Press for a sense of community and accountability. Or maybe you like a good old ‘vision board’ to kick start your imagination. Whatever it is, have something to aspire to in making the changes to save you from doing what I too often do by way of simply tidying up a bit, moving the mess about, or covering it up somehow!

2. Be sure to take ‘progress’ pictures, including before and after shots. I have already found this to be an encouragement as I mentioned in an earlier post when tackling a new area that seems ‘impossible’ and deflating to deal with to look back upon areas in which I have already made some progress. It really helps to think ‘well, I’ve done it before, so I can (and will) do it again’ – even if the how of getting there isn’t all too clear to you in the moment. 

3. Strategize.  Everyone has different ways of organising, and you’ll find what works best for you. However, I have found that starting with a particular room or area, getting everything out in the open so that I can’t escape it, and then categorising things into ‘like for like’ (for example bags with bags, shoes with shoes, books with books, etc) and create one particular named space to store and / or display the items of like kind that you have decided to keep (letting go is also part of the process if you have accumulated more stuff that you need or can handle, and letting someone else benefit from those items). You might like to create labels for those areas, and a storage solution or system so that they don’t just get heaped up and piled chaotically, but so that there is a place for everything and everything in its place. This really helps mentally if you are tidying a new area and see an item of a particular category and then can think ‘ Hey, I know where that goes, there’s a place for that!’, and then immediately put the item where it now belongs. I have sorted out my bedroom and created a system for it, and having done so, I have written in the back of my planner what each area of my bedroom contains so that having identified and named a system and locations of items by type, I can hopefully maintain things by knowing where there are and where they should go. 

4. This point is the one that I have been leading to, as it is so important to your sense of calm and motivation throughout the whole process. Have, create and maintain an area of your home where you are happy in your surroundings. Perhaps this could be your bedroom or living room, or if not an entire room, a ‘cosy corner’ or small space where things are ‘just so’ and where you feel calm, happy and inspired. Strive to keep this area just as you like it and clutter free, even if in all other areas of your home there is chaos. This is so important, as I am learning, due to the fact that if you are tackling large volumes of ‘stuff’, mess or items accumulated over the years, and especially if you have ‘hoarding tendencies’ (in which case, you might like to ask someone for additional support, guidance and accountability), this can be quite a daunting task and you might find yourself feeling overwhelmed, discouraged and / or self-critical. 

When you do find your motivation beginning to drain, and negative thoughts and emotions surfacing, go to your cosy and calm spot, whether that is a chair or a room, whatever you have been able to manage to carve out for yourself, and take some time out. Maybe you could make yourself a hot drink, watch your favourite programme, read a book, and feel just as you would desire to feel in that ‘dream home’ that you have in mind. Remind yourself of your vision, look at those inspiring visuals, encourage yourself with those before and after pictures if you have got that far and feel good about how far you have already come. Think about the strategies you have put in place and are learning about, and maybe note them down. Read articles or watch videos of other people’s ‘decluttering journeys’ and be inspired to know that there are so many tips and tools and hints to help you along the way. And take time just to breathe, relax, enjoy just being, pondering, praying and doing something entirely different that brings you enjoyment ~ for as the poem Desiderata wisely instructs us, we should enjoy our achievements as well as our plans. So amid all your hard work, remember to take a break, and find some real calm amid the chaos. You can do it!! 🙂 xx