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!
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.
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…