Neat and tidy

I think I've done it.

I've been through every room, I've cleaned everywhere, lists have been ticked and I've sorted, sorted and sorted some more!

With the exception of a few jobs left, I did forgot to clean the oven (arghhh) and the tops of the kitchen cupboards.  I haven't even thought about the loft (my nemesis) or the shed yet, but these last two can't be seriously tackled until warmer weather returns.  But, apart from that, basically... I'm done.  Yippee!

I've done great work in the bathroom downstairs where...

My little crafty room has been the site of many a decluttering mission and at long last I've made an impact in there.

And this gloriously organised, folded, stacked and labelled sight is now mine...

I decided to set January and February aside for my big 'Cleaning and Decluttering push'.  A fresh start and a clean slate so that I could re-assess my home and see what just needed a good tidy and what really need a crafty make-over.  In January I talked about the Cleaning part.  Today, in February, I'm going to talk about the Decluttering part and in March, I want to start sharing some crafty plans with you - fun!

I think I've finally started to find the whole decluttering process a lot easier in the last few years.  Even after working on it for well over a month now, I really still don't feel like I've finished.  But, I'm also not feeling bad about that.

Partly because I think that it's more of a constant process, a constant re-assessment of what you need in your home.  As your circumstances change, the things you need to have in your home change.  That's only natural isn't it?  I didn't use to need space to store yarn - now I do.  I didn't use to need space to my husbands comics, sorry, 'graphic novels' - now, apparently, I do.  I use to need space to store baby toys - now I don't.

Also because it feels so good when it's done.  So good.  In fact it feels so good, it's almost worth letting things getting in a state just so that it looks so different and fabulous and feels so wonderful when you sort it out - or is that just me?  My friend always used to say that it was a wonderful cathartic process.  Everything unwanted and unnecessary gone - only wonderful, wanted and cherished goodness left surrounding you.  Perhaps there's something in that.

It's amazing the joy I get from seeing my ribbon tin finally sorted and tidy for example...

So, how do we get there?  What's the best way to declutter and purge?  Here's some tips for you...

1.  Keep it short and sweet.
This is the only way it works for me, by keeping it in manageable chunks.  For the first hour, I'm an effective, ruthless and calculating decluttering machine, by the second hour I'm keeping everything and simply shuffling things around from one pile to the next in an aimless fog of dispair.  Pointless.  So as soon as I find myself dithering or shuffling I leave it and come back to it later, or even another day.

2.  Allow yourself to hoard!
Controversial maybe, but consider this...  Some things need to be hoarded.  Fabric, yarn, books, photos, sentimental bits and bobs and all sorts of other things that you hate to part with can and should be allowed space in your house.  But, only some and only if you do have room.  Set yourself an amount of space that you're 'allowed' to fill.  A jar, a box, a cupboard, an entire room if you have it going free - whatever you can spare and is reasonable, appropriate and most importantly - that you are happy with.  Then fill only that and no more.  If it doesn't fit in the allocated space, then there's some more 'pruning' to be done.

3.  Expert Advice.
This is a common enough problem and there's plenty of sites giving advice.  Here's a few:

Declutter a room in a day!
Declutter your life - Top Ten Tips
My favourite - Anthea Turner again

4.  A theory...
This is my Dad's theory.  I confess I haven't actually have the courage to try it yet - but I think when the Great Loft Clearance comes around I may have to give it a go.  This is the theory:
  • If you're having trouble parting with something, you think you still quite like it or you'll probably need it again, or that it may 'come in handy', then put it in a box.  Collect all of these things you're not sure about parting with quite yet and put then all in the box.  
  • Seal the box.  
  • Put the date on the box, and store it somewhere, the loft, wherever.  
  • A year later come back and check the box.  If the seal remains unbroken, pick the box up - do not look in the box - take it straight to the dump and never look back!
The theory of course being, if you've not needed, remembered or thought about the things in that box over the course of an entire year, there's no reason whatsoever to keep them, right?   Ummm... I'm not sure I'm quite that brave though - are you?

I hope that helps you a little if you're stumbling over taking your first decluttering steps.  If you've got any of your own to share why not leave a comment or come and join us at the PCH Flickr group?  We'll be very happy to see you there.

If you've not started your Pretty Crafty Home journey yet and would like to, details can be found here.

S x