20 Aug

The preparation for moving begin with the smallest step…

Moving to the coast seems like a huge step at the moment… It’s going to be one heck of a journey for sure, but as the old saying goes, every journey begins with a single step, so we’re taking baby steps towards making our move, to build momentum over the coming months.

De-cluttered: The result of 4 hours work! A job well done.

One thing we still seriously have to do is declutter… There’s little point in taking junk we’ll never use with us when we move. Why pay removal men to cart boxes of stuff we don’t need to the other side of the country? Read More

25 Jan

Forget 5 A Day – More Like 1 A Day

Before you get your knickers in a twist I’m not talking fruit and veg, I’ll talking Junk and Clutter!

Following on from my last post, which was I while ago now I admit but, on the subject of de-cluttering, a good, full-on purge of clutter and junk every now and again is very good for the soul, but if you’ve got a lot of clutter to get through, keeping up a routine of 15 to 30 minute de-clutterfests can be pretty hard going. Forming any good habit is hard… We all know bad ones are easy don’t we. Well, I’ve found the best solution for me is to do it in really small steps.

Micro-Steps to a clutter free house

  • Choose just one item or 1 small pile of paperwork to go through each day.
  • If it’s a pile of stuff, make it small enough to be dealt with in under 5 mins.
  • Quickly decide if the item in your hand or in front of you is worth keeping.
  • Choose what to do with it:
  1. Keep it – Put it in its proper place
  2. Flog It – Check to see if it’s worth anything to anyone by looking at the completed auctions on Ebay for similar items. If it’s worth something, flog it and put the money to good use paying off a debt or towards a holiday. Every little helps!
  3. Gift It – Advertise it on Freecycle or Freegle and gift it to someone who could use it
  4. Recycle It – Put it in your recycling bin or take it to your local recycling bank

Choosing just 1 item a day means you’re not taking hours out your day to do an extra task. While the kettle is boiling, open the Man Drawer in the kitchen and get rid of 1 thing you’ve not used for ages.

Keep it up for 30 days and you’ll be amazed how effective this technique is!

24 Oct

Making Time To Clear Your Clutter

In the previous house we lived in, we longed for more space. There was never enough room to store our stuff. Room to work on DIY projects properly. Room for hobbies.

I always wanted a garage to do “bloke” stuff in. My Dad’s always had one, and I wanted one!

In December 2009 we were fortunate enough to move to a bigger house where we now have room for all these things, and it had a garage. But guess what… over the past, almost 2 years, that garage has become so full of clutter and junk, you can’t move. There’s no room for hobbies, DIY stuff or fun things… It hasn’t become cluttered over night, it’s a gradual happening that’s bugged me now for many months and I’ve just never been able to find the time to get stuck in to clearing it.

Overlaying helped me clear my clutter!

Last week was Half term here, and I normally make an extra effort to get up nice and early to do a few hours work before the rest of the house awakens. That way we can get on with family things during the days and I’m still productive as far as work is concerned too. But last week, maybe with the darker mornings drawing in, I found it harder to haul myself out of bed and slept through the alarm on at least two occasions.

Instead of beating myself up about it though, or starting a work related task I wouldn’t be able to finish in the 30 mins or so I had before the rest of the family woke up, I decided to head into the garage and get stuck in!

The Result?…

Just 3 x 30 minute sessions de-cluttering the space resulted in me now being able to get access to my tools, the freezer, my hobby projects and most importantly, our three pushbikes, which we immediately made use of last week too!

Why the clutter amassed in this space?

“It’ll come in handy one day” syndrome.

This is something I’ve suffered from all my life, and I think it’s hereditary. My Dad has suffered from it on more than one occasion I’m sure, and I know for a fact both my late Grandfathers did! There’s just so much stuff in that garage that I’m keeping for a rainy day it’s crazy, but the key is to be a little ruthless. Most of the stuff in there I probably wouldn’t miss and indeed most I’d forgotten I’d kept! A good proportion of it is kept “just in case”. Half tins of paint, old brackets, screws, cabinet feet etc… it’s all handy stuff, but it’s all “Just in case”.

Plus… the garage, although integral to our house, is a separate entity… with a door… a great big metal door… which is great for slamming shut on all that clutter… out of sight, out of mind… That is how it got there! And probably general laziness and lack of self discipline to put stuff away properly.

The Method

It’s not rocket science to be honest, it’s discipline (something I think a good proportion of us are a little lacking in these days.) and focus. When you focus, it’s amazing what you can achieve. You don’t need a massive plan or reason to do it… Just a desire to reclaim a little space, clarity and calm in a particular area. Clutter = Chaos, and despite the fact that many of us, myself included, appear to thrive in chaotic situations, I think it’s really a distraction or an excuse for not tackling the more important but less exciting things in life.

Keeping things just in case of an emergency or for that project I think I might do one day etc, is all well and good, but if it has no proper storage place and you can’t find it in an emergency, it really is just clutter.

If you can’t find a “Proper” space for it… flog it on Ebay, give it a way on Freegle, take it to a charity shop, or recycle it at your nearest facility. Then take a step back and admire the space… It’s wonderful!

Start small. If the floor is cluttered, choose one small area, say 1m². Work through everything in that area. Pick up an item and ask yourself a few quickfire questions:

  • Do I need it? If so, have I used it in the last 6 months or will I use it in the next 6 months?
  • Is it valuable to me (not just monetary value)?
  • Can someone else I know use it?
  • Can it be sold? Getting a little money back is always a nice feeling. Put it towards paying off a debt, or into your emergency fund.
  • Can it be donated?
  • Can it be recycled.

Working with one small area at a time, makes it much much easier to tackle the bigger problem. A large room filled with clutter is daunting and off-putting. A small square on a floor, in a cupboard or on a shelf can be tackled in minutes.

Most importantly, enjoy the process and admire your achievements. Relish in the calmness, freedom and space you’ve created and make a pact with yourself to keep it that way.

Next time your tempted to fill that space again, ask yourself those 7 simple questions before you fill it…

24 Aug

Digital Decluttering

Image By Frank Gruber

I recently spent a week camping in Cornwall with my Fiance  and my Daughter. During the week I had virtually no mobile phone signal except when we popped to the supermarket or into a town. This meant no email or internet access for me too… My initial thoughts were “Oh heck… how do I keep on top of my work stuff?”… but it actually became a blessing in disguise. Having no email or internet access allowed me to properly switch off and relax. In fact I hardly thought about work at all while I was away. And even when I tried to, I actually found it difficult… I just wanted to get on with being in the moment, enjoying messing about in the sea, sitting on the beach watching the world go by, or doing general camping stuff.

The Big Wake up call…

When I did finally get access to my emails, all 567 of them, I immediately realised something. Firstly that they were just filling up my phones memory, making it slower and slower, and most importantly, I have an inherent ability to surround myself with clutter, in every shape and form possible. And one of the biggest areas in which my life is cluttered, is email… More than 95% of the emails I received while away where junk, or stuff I would never read, and that’s after Gmails spam filter had already been through everything!

I’ve been subscribing to god knows how many internet marketing newsletters, free ezines, special offers… my inbox was swallowing up so much of my time and attention each day.

Action Plan – How To De-Clutter Your Inbox

This Monday I returned to my office with a plan of action in mind. Each time I checked my email, if there was something I would never read or was complete junk, I’d unsubscribe there and then. And do you know what? Yesterday was a remarkably quiet day in my inbox 🙂

Step 1 – Take a look at your emails today… look at where each one comes from…

  • How many are ones you’ll never open
  • Do you really need all those facebook notifications… turn them off… chances are if they’re important you’ll find out anyway
  • Unsubscribe there and then and feel good about freeing up your inbox allowing you to focus on what really matters in your day, not the latest Get Rich Quick Scheme (And let’s face it, most of this internet marketing stuff is just that!)
  • How many are special offers? Do you need that extra temptation to spend (well they say SAVE) money? Unsubscribe and Save even more money! It’s a no-brainer.

Step 2 – Grab the kitchen timer and set it to 5 mins

  • Now find the first “Junk” email that you’ve not read in your inbox
  • Search for more emails from that sender
  • Delete them… Feels good doesn’t it?

Take a serious look at what hits your inbox next time you check your email and be ruthless

More ramblings and the odd bit of usefulness very soon… 🙂