To have, to hold & to discard

To have, to hold & to discard

LIVING SPACES

To have, to hold & to discard

Clutter is anything useless that is lying around. It need not always mean the big things. It could be the smaller stuff that is lying unnoticed in your kitchen drawer. Any small or big item, which has not been used for a while and is occupying space — mental or physical space,  is clutter. When I say mental space, I mean the nagging feel of being disorganised that you get when you look at stuff which you haven’t used in ages.

Imagine looking frantically for a torch in the drawer where it is supposed to be kept. If you have to rummage through the drawer for hours, then it means that you are  raising a little monster called ‘clutter’ inside your home.

 Clutter takes a form when sentiment is attached. You begin to hoard things even when you don’t need them. This is an extension of your inability to let go.

 Clutter happens when you begin to lead a life of indiscipline. Leaving car keys lying around and having to look for them the next day; strewing  magazines and books all over the house; piling up shoes in the garden shed or  in the garage are all signs of clutter. These are clear signs  that clutter is taking shape and growing at a steady pace in your house.

 The golden rule to de-clutter is to get organised: sort, clear and dispose.
If there are pockets of clutter, then tackle them one at a time. For example, if it is your shoe rack that needs to be sorted out, spend a lazy Sunday afternoon attacking those piles of shoes and sandals.

After sorting them into pairs, you may have one pile of shoes that need to be repaired, another pile that has not been worn in a while, and a pile that is currently in use.

 Now comes the crucial part: which pile are you willing to discard? Having to ‘let go’ is the decision-making stage when you make up your mind to either keep or give away what you do not frequently use.

 Most of us, at this stage, succumb to greed. In spite of having gone through the first two stages, we put off the decision-making stage and gather everything up to store it in yet another cupboard or closet! If you want to complete the process of de- cluttering, you must learn to let go.

Ask yourself, if something has not been used in the last six months will it be used in the near future. When we don’t use something in a while, chances are that we forget that we even own it. Gather such things and put them to use. Or else, give them away to someone who needs them.

Now that you have cleared, sorted and organised your stuff, how do you steer clear of clutter?

There are two simple rules.

Rule 1: Put away things where they belong as you go about your routine. Put away the car keys in the designated place/ bowl as soon as you enter the house. This will save you precious minutes the next morning when you are racing against time.

Rule 2: Discard the old for the new. Most of us succumb to the temptation of bringing home artifacts because they looked good  in the store. When we find gadgets that entice us, we buy them and then look for a place to display them. The idea is to first look within the house if there is a need for that gadget and then, mentally, find a place to put it.  No storage/ display space means no buying. When something comes in, something else has to go out. That’s the only way to win the battle with clutter.  Remember, a clutter-free home is a  stress-free home.

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