There are some books you read that completely change your life, and ten years ago James Wallman's book Stuffocation was one of those for me. I slowly began to change my habits and became a conscious consumer.
The road to less often starts with decluttering, which can feel so overwhelming. One glance at the toy box and that can be enough to put it off for another time.
"Decluttering is a form of self care. Not all self care feels great when you are doing it (burpees anyone?), but you feel so good afterwards."
But there's a more serious side to this. Studies* have shown that being surrounded by stuff can lead to stress, and removing clutter from your home creates a calmer space and reduces overwhelm. It's an essential part of self-care it turns out, and one that can improve your mental health.
So how do you beat the procrastination and get started?
- Exactly the same way we advise you to start with reusable nappies. With one. Choose one pot, one drawer, one cupboard or one room.
- Grab your supplies - you need a bag for rubbish, a bag or box for donations, and a bag or box for the things you can sell.
- Schedule a time that suits.
- But don't beat yourself up if a curveball gets thrown your way. Try again the next day.
You will feel amazing after clearing out that one space, and hopefully it will give you the motivation to choose the next place to declutter.
Before you move on, make sure you move the clutter you have sorted out:
- Vinted or DePop is amazing for selling clothing
- eBay or Facebook Marketplace for toys and home
- Your local charity shops
- Dogs homes for duvets and blankets
- Pass on your hand me downs to your friends and family
- This is the hardest part. Throwing away stuff never feels good. The guilt of where it will end up and the feeling of throwing away things you have spent your money on is never good.
- But pay attention to these feelings. It will help you be more conscious when you are next shopping and considering purchases. Think about the circularity of the thing you want to buy - where will it end up when you have finished with it.
"Think about the circularity of the thing you want to buy - where will it end up when you have finished with it."
Decluttering isn't about removing all stuff from your life. We all have our things we love and can't part with. Mine is books. It's about slowly organising and having less. Less stuff really does mean more time for doing the kind of self-care you enjoy.
* Study noted in Stuffocation by James Wallman where people who felt their home was cluttered exhibited increased levels of the stress homone cortisol.
Photo credit - Wooden Earth Limited.