Bid adieu to clutter...

Bid adieu to clutter...

Bid adieu to clutter...

You may not really need that second set of knives in the kitchen, or those extra pair of bathroom slippers you bought on an impulse. C S Krishnamurthy tells you how to simplify your life this year by adopting lessons in decluttering

We have all spent money on items bought for the wrong reasons: on an impulse, thinking it would solve a problem, or look cute, or because a friend has it! The list of reasons is endless as are the buys — the yoga mat you never use, the boots you aren’t quite comfortable in, the books gathering dust in a corner. They say, when you own a thing, the thing owns you — which is so true.

Admit it, we love hoarding stuff. So much so that there is no space for anything and nothing is in its place. Can’t find your car keys? Unable to locate the TV remote? Where’s that cute sweater? Are you willing to swear on any holy text (if you find them) that these items were in your hands just a few moments before? Yes? Then you are a certified clutter bug.

I am sure you have tried to clear out the mess many times and failed. For many, the thought of taking apart their home and rearranging stuff is pretty daunting. For others, making the right choices proves to be very difficult. What to keep and what to throw away?

Even after a clean-up, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles? Have you ever tidied your room only to find that all too soon your home is cluttered again? Don’t worry. Here are some ideas to help you bring some order back into your home and life. Many don’t believe this, but the right kind of tidying can be a kind of psychotherapy for the home as well as for its inhabitants.

Tackle categories, not rooms

Being messy is not hereditary, nor is it related to lack of time, but has more to do with mistaken notions about tidying, such as “it’s best to tackle one room at a time”, or “it’s better to do a little each day”. Begin with clothing, since it is the least emotionally loaded of one’s things, next comes books, old photographs and the rest. Tidy each category at a time, otherwise they will continue to wage war, raiding one room at a time.

Decide what to keep and not what to throw away. It’s easier that way. Books come in by the dozen and then never leave. Shelves groan. You have wanted to read it when you bought it, but if you haven’t read it by now, in all probability, you won’t read it ever. If you have any book that you intend to read ‘someday’, give that book away immediately. Only by discarding it, will you be able to test how passionate you are about that subject.

Keep emotions aside

Though we live in a digital world, it’s amazing how much paper we still use. Tax records and even health records are saved electronically now. Once you feel at peace in your space, you can focus on what you really need to be doing with yourself and where your goals should be heading — now that you are not distracted by rummages around you. The magic of decluttering can be immense. And remember, nostalgia is not your friend.

One of the major things that could help ease your decluttering project is to keep emotions aside. For example, with sentimental clutter, separate the memory from the item. Pick only a few items that truly represent your memory and display them in your home. A word of caution here: don’t store the discarded ones in storage boxes. They won’t help your decluttering drive.

Rediscover your style

What you want to own is actually a question of how you want to live your life. Treating your things with respect makes them look better. Tidying as a hobby is not a bad idea. The less you buy, the less you have to clean, maintain and store. When you come across something that you cannot part with, think carefully about its true purpose in life. You will be surprised at how many of the things you possess have already fulfilled their role.

The expression “you never know when you might need it” is drilled into our heads from birth and this has made our lives a nightmare. The emotional struggle to give up even the smallest item causes so much stress and frustration in our lives. They have cluttered both our brains and lives.

Just as there are rules when it comes to tossing mascara, there are also expiry dates for many things in your home:

* Purge the stale food from the fridge. Don’t hoard the little packets of sauces or chilli flakes.

* Keep minimum kitchen tools, be it knives or peelers. Lesser tools will mean lesser maintenance for you.

* Scan the unread recipe pages, and give the books away. Maybe you don’t need that big, glossy book on baking, that you only bought for the colourful pictures.

* Dispose (recycle, sell or give away) what you haven’t used in the past year. It may be anything — clothes, tools, books, furniture and so on.

* Avoid storing loose objects under the bed. It’s a hindrance to your everyday cleaning.

* Keep items on bedside table to the minimum, like a table lamp and water bottle at night, so that you don’t wake up to a mess right next to you.

* Keep the coffee table clear with only a few coasters. Even if you keep your newspapers here, make sure they are arranged neatly.

* Read or recycle magazines within a week. Instead of keeping them just for an article or two, digitalise or store them in a “To read” folder.

* If you are finding it difficult to let go of something, make a list of its pros and cons. This will help you decide faster.

* If you don’t like throwing away stuff, you can always donate them, or hand them to any of your relatives.

* When you get things for free, analyse if you really need them. Don’t just take them in.

When the house is in order, you can truly enjoy the ambience and your life.

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