Clutter is one of the biggest problems when moving homes. If you’ve been in your rental property for a couple of years now, you’ll likely be incredibly surprised at the amount of crap you’ve accumulated…no matter how long you’ve actually been in the space.
But you love your stuff! Those Matt Blatt replicas and Kmart bargains. They’re a part of your life, and a part of your personality. And how on earth could you possibly think of giving up your CD collection?
Having a lot of clutter has a huge impact on your life, and I hate to say it, but none of it is actually positive. Clutter makes the entire process of moving into your brand new home unpleasant, to say the least. In fact, research has shown that moving house is more stressful than a relationship breakdown. Yikes! A UK study revealed that top of the list of people’s anxieties was misplacing possessions, or realising they don’t have enough space for all of their things.
Moving into your brand new home in Sydney should be an exciting moment, not one you look back on and feel your stomach flip.
But you are not a caveman. You don’t need to stockpile all of your belongings for survival, so it’s really important to not get bogged down in mountains of magazines, files and whatever you bought on Gumtree last year.
I’m going to talk you through an easy but valuable 4-step process that will help you de-clutter for an easy move, and ultimately simplify your entire lifestyle.
Are you ready?
- Realise you don’t need as much as you think you do
The secret to mastering your clutter – really, truly getting over your separation anxiety with your stuff, and not just getting rid of it – is to realise that you don’t actually need as much as you think you do. If a book or item of clothing no longer holds a purpose, its taking up real estate in your home and your mind. This isn’t a zen concept – it’s just common sense!
Ever notice that when you clean up your desk, you’re able to think more clearly and work far more efficiently? When you apply this principle to the rest of your house, you’ll find you come home to a far less stressful nest. You’ll have the space to relax and think, because your peripheral vision isn’t crowded by messy piles of books, CDs and clothes.
- Establish an outbox to decide what you really need/want
This is where the actual fun begins! And by fun, I mean sorting. The outbox allows you to delay – for a short period of time, of course – your decision making process. I understand that if you’re holding on tightly to some of your beloved items, it’s going to be hard for you to sell or trash them. This is where the outbox comes in to play. Now, the outbox is not my idea, nor does it need to be an actual box. It’s an area of limbo for your items as they await their fate.
There are a few rules for the outbox, so that your sorting doesn’t get out of hand. You might have seen these elsewhere online, but I have a different stance:
- The Outbox should be organised. How you do anything is how you do everything!
- There’s a limit on how long an item can stay in the outbox – give it one week or you’ll forgot your mission to minimise.
Once you get used to separating first and disposing of later, you’ll find that clearing clutter gets easier and easier. How’s that for taking the pressure off?
- Sell unwanted valuables on ebay and gumtree or on FB
What better way to turn your trash into treasure than finding a good home for it? Of course, not everything will be of resellable quality. I recommend dividing your items from your outbox into 3 piles: one for items to go to the Salvos, another to sell online, and another for items that you can’t part with just yet. And if those items you listed on Gumtree don’t sell? Put them in the trash, give them away for free on Facebook or give them to the Salvos.
- Commit to a declutter ceremony twice a year
Here’s the thing with cleaning – you don’t just do it when things get messy. My wife has taught me well! You clean to keep things clean, to keep your sanity, to keep your home safe, and to stop your stuff from owning YOU. Whether you schedule your clean ups in summer and winter, or in spring and autumn doesn’t matter in the slightest. But spread out your cleaning ceremony to times when you know you’ve accumulated things. I like to do it two months after Christmas, and then again in winter. Find a plan that works for you!
What are you waiting for? Go for it!