Why do we hold onto things that we don’t need?
For many of us, it is a habit that is hard to get rid of. As I cleared my living space over the past few days, I realised I had been harbouring so many things that were no longer of any use to me (around four large garbage bags in total). Old clothes, shoes, sentimental items, floppy disks (!!), posters and other junk. I was inspired to clean up since the new year is starting (as per the Chinese calendar) but after this experience I will keep assessing my items and getting rid of things that are no longer of use. The following are some tips to decluttering:
Don’t overwhelm yourself
Unless you have a completely free schedule and plan on surrounding yourself with a big mess for the time it takes to declutter, I would suggest approaching the process in increments. Start with the closet, a shelf, or any designated area, so you don’t look at the huge pile and go “oh no way, this is daunting. Dum dee dee, let’s just put everything back where it came from…”
Pile by pile
Start with a single pile with all the stuff from a certain area. Then sit down and go through the pile (it’s heaps better with music to accompany you, by the way), making two piles: those to keep and those to get rid of.
Ask the right questions
Is this of any use to me?
When was the last time I used it?
Will I REALLY ever use it?
According to your answers, donate, recycle or throw away the things you don’t want or need anymore. I made another pile before donating and throwing away by asking those close to me if they wanted any of the items – what might not be good for you anymore might be perfect for someone else.
If you’re anything like me then you will want to do this fast and thoroughly. Over a few days, my living space was clean and decluttered, which has left me feeling fabulous! Some people will want to do a few minutes a day, some hours. Find a way that works for you. Even after I thought I was done, I realised I should give it one more go – and I ended up getting rid of one more garbage bag full of stuff!
Don’t worry about achieving perfection.
Just do what you can to simplify your life and make space for the things you love, let them breathe and enjoy your new, clutter-free space!