Can a good declutter help you achieve a happier or more contented life?
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This is the question I asked myself when I offered a decluttering service to a bespoke few in 2015. In every case, the person I was helping to declutter had come to a crossroads in their life and simply put, wanted to feel calmer, clearer, brighter, more at peace and yes, happier.
As we worked through their belongings, deciding what could stay and what could go, we both came to the conclusion that no amount of ‘stuff’ whatever that ‘stuff’ entailed, ever really made them happy. In truth, the clutter was now holding them back and, in some cases, causing stress and anxiety as it was simply overwhelming. They felt daunted by the sheer task ahead of them.
As our lives become ever more challenging, this last year has been particularly so with so many of us having to work from home, more and more of us are looking to find breathing space, both physically and mentally. That ‘space’ has to start with our own homes. Quite often, by the act of decluttering, a sense of calm is created, allowing you to think more clearly and even make better life decisions.
Following a year of lockdowns, with more time spent in their home so they are in the midst of clutter 24/7, many are seeking a decluttered/minimalist life. With the right support to help you through the process, it can truly help you find the inner harmony you seek.
How to spring clean your wardrobe
Clothing tends to be something most women have a lot of and struggle to let go of. Here are my top tips to bring some harmony and space to your wardrobe.
1. Start by removing every single item of clothing from your wardrobe, including drawers, cupboards and anything in the laundry basket. There is nothing like seeing how many clothes you have actually got.
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2. Divide into piles: jeans with jeans, tops with tops, skirts with skirts, socks with socks, bras with bras and so on (chuck out anything past its wear-by-date – torn, stained, beyond mending). This will help you see what you are really working with.
3. Methodically go through each ‘pile’ deciding what stays and goes. The golden rules are:
- Never keep anything that you don’t really like, love everything in your wardrobe.
- Never keep anything that you ‘might get into one of these days/months/years’ - unless you are on a diet and about to drop down a size - be realistic.
- Never keep a style that ‘you used to wear’ - would you buy the item again now?
4. Once you have been ruthless, create four piles: keep, charity, sell, discard (recycle)
I don’t know what my style is anymore?
If you’re not sure about your style, or what suits you now – we all change over the years - book a session with a professional personal stylist to help identify the colours that really suit you and will make you look fabulous. You may find that half your wardrobe is not really representative of you, but on the plus side, you will never make a buying mistake again.
My favourite Dorset-based stylist is Alice Nichol, she’s great with colour but has a quirky style too and can help you create your own unique look.
Advice for decluttering your clothes
Once you’ve cleared out your wardrobe and sorted out the things you really love. Then you need to organise the remaining clothing so you can lay your hands on outfits easily.
1. Put away anything out of season; there are some great space saving clothes organisers available from Ikea that slip easily under the bed, or can be placed into the attic for when the seasons change. This creates immediate space and will help you find items more easily.
2. When putting items on the racks, choose the smallest hangers, this is a simple but effective space saving tip. Choose nice hangers that keep your clothing in good order.
3. Put like with like: skirts together, tops together and so on. Organise each section by colour
4. Fold up anything that can be folded, no need to take up valuable hanging space with t-shirts that need a quick steam before wearing.
Don’t lapse back into bad habits
Now you’ve spent the time and effort to get your clothes organised, and you know what works for you resist buying things on a whim. Once you have had your colour and style done, only buy items that suit you, suit your colouring and style. Less clothing will help you dress more easily and with greater confident. Picking your outfit first thing in the morning will be fun and exciting, and will literally put a spring in your step! So, what are you waiting for?
10 golden rules for decluttering
- Never keep anything that you don’t really like
- Never keep anything that you ‘might get into one of these days’
- Never keep a style that ‘you used to wear’
- Discard anything damaged, stained or beyond its wear-by-date
- Create four piles: keep, charity, sell, discard (recycle)
- Book a professional stylist if you need help with your colours
- Organise clothes into type, then colour
- When you put clothes away stick to this ordering
- Pack away clothes not in season
- No more impulse buying
Elizabeth McPherson, Professional Declutterer and Organiser
Elizabeth ‘Beth’ McPherson has been decluttering since she was a young girl. When working as a PA in London, she helped create systems and declutter offices of her employers. In 2017, having moved to Dorset in 2014, Beth set up The Lifestyle Concept, a business to help coach people to dispose of their clutter and thus, help them find an ‘inner harmony’ which she says can definitely be found through decluttering and having less ’stuff'. Beth firmly believes that creating space in your home is a great starting point to help you make better decisions about what you truly want. ‘There is no area of your life that cannot be decluttered if you so wish it.’
Find out more by clicking here or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07932 945738
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