Has clutter taken over your life? Do you display signs of a hoarding disorder? It’s time to get a handle on your clutter with these strategies.
Change your mindset
You might be put off decluttering because it seems like an all-or-nothing approach. You can’t possibly become a minimalist when you’ve got a family to take care of and hobbies you love! Home Sorting Specialist Mary J Harnan from All Sorters tells us:
“You don't have to be a minimalist to be organised… If your stuff is out of balance, then it's finding ways to change how you think about needing stuff. I ask ‘Is your stuff an accessory to your life’, or ‘is your life about looking after your stuff?’ Collectors manage their collections, they are organised, they may buy and sell, but they can think about their collections logically. Whereas hoarding behaviours mean that items are often not treated with respect, are boxed up and never appreciated, or collections may be mixed together. It is more about the ‘keeping’ than anything else.”
Identify whether you are a collector, a hoarder who needs treatment, or just someone whose cluttered has gotten out of control. In some cases, all it takes is reorganising your clutter into storage furniture.
Visit the All Sorters Facebook page for more handy tips.
Combat ‘stuffocation’ by decluttering
Psychologist Sarah Tottle tells us that many people suffer from ‘stuffocation’, which is an anxiety resulting from being burdened by too many belongings. To combat this, she suggests:
“When doing a Spring clean, look at whether an object sparks joy in you. Does it have a real practical purpose and has it been used recently? If the answer to these questions are no, then discard it and give it to a person that will feel the value of it.”
Make organisation a habit
Once you’ve let go of the items you genuinely don’t need, the next challenge is keeping it that way. Petria Leggo-Field from Coco Rose Interiors tells us:
“Like hoarding, organisation can become a habit - The best way to maintain your house is with regular maintenance. Take time at the end of each day to tidy up. I like to make sure all my flat surfaces are clear before I go to bed. Dining table and kitchen benches should always be clear of clutter and a good place to begin for problem hoarders. From there, move into overflowing storage areas focusing on one room at a time. Your goal is to remove clutter, not create more storage space elsewhere in the house. I like to use three rules: bin, charity or sell. Keep only items with a purpose.”
If your hoarding tendencies are more severe, it is essential to get help. Rachel Smith, Author of Underspent, says:
“Decluttering alone is tiresome. Research shows that people who are surrounded by people who inspire, support and encourage them—whether its family or friends —achieve their goals.· Get an accountability group. Meet every week for a coffee or via Skype. Keep each other progressing and help each other when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Go to free events, seminars and talks about decluttering to keep you inspired. Share your progress with family and friends on Facebook. It will inspire you to continue.”
Once you’ve decluttered, you also need to make sure you don’t fall into the same spending and hoarding habits. Try doing a cost benefit analysis before purchasing anything where you ask yourself how much use you will get out of this particular item. Also check in with yourself to see if you are buying due to boredom, sadness or other negative emotions. If you’re tempted to buy something very expensive or very big, wait a week to see if you still want it.