The Stress Less Guide to Uncluttering Mess
I will be honest. My house is drowning in stuff. I regularly remind myself that there’s bound to be a lot of things with four little kids; we are lucky to have lovely things when some people don’t have enough. It does not control me – I control it. It is only stuff.
What’s worse is that I spend so much time clearing up and tidying and sorting but it all seems to only amount to transferring things between rooms. Apparently it is to do with forming emotional attachments to items and clutter is a sign of a cluttered mind.
And we are all too busy to read essays on the psychology of mess, right? So the stack of books I bought about clever ways to spiritually cleanse your life, brain and house of belongings are staying over there. Under. All. That. Stuff.
But if you are anything like me, you will want to sort your stuff out this spring, stand back and admire your streamlined rooms, as you exclaim: “I can’t believe it’s not clutter”.
Marie Kondo is a Japanese organizing consultant and author whose bestselling books are changing the world. If only I had time to read them. Basically her method, known as the KonMari approach, involves getting stuff into categories and going through them.
You only keep things that spark joy and then you bin or recycle the rest. In Japanese “tokimeku” is the word and means “flutter, throb, palpitate”.
You then only ever buy things that spark joy, so you only have to have one giant tidy up and after it, you stay clutter-free. She recommends doing it quickly and properly. You have to find a place for everything you decide to keep but you don’t add too much to it after, because you only buy joy-bringing items, see?
Although it is a bit simplistic – because some things don’t bring instant joy but they indirectly do. For example, your husband’s muddy football boots might not make you instantly flutter, throb and palpitate, but the thought of him going out and you being in charge of the remote control and eating chocolates in peace, as you binge on box sets is most exciting indeed…
Another way to filter stuff is by binning anything you aren’t sure you need by asking “Can I replace it in under 20 minutes for under £20?”
In brief, have less stuff; get rid of more and buy less is the way to make more space, which enables you to live with less stress and keep a more organized mind and home.
If you are daunted by the idea of going through your life’s contents, you might prefer a different method of doing 15 minutes a day. You set a timer and do whatever decluttering you can in quarter of an hour. You make three piles, keep, bin or charity shop and you can use a similar principle to the KonMari approach by asking of each item “Is it useful or is it beautiful?”
Nineteenth century designer William Morris said: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”. Combining his quote with that age old adage “a place for everything and everything in its place” and you will prompt yourself to have a less cluttered life.
And if you need any more inspiration, Never Too Busy to Cure Clutter by Erin Rooney Doland contains practical advice, more than 365 tips and 16 weekend projects to help readers reach their uncluttering goals, sometimes in seconds. Apparently it’s brilliant. I’ll add it to the pile.