As we hurtle towards the end of the year, many of us will be thinking about taking some time out to pause and look back at the highs, lows, milestones and achievements from the past 12 months. I know its something that has been on my to-do list since November 1st, but of late I have found the path to self-reflection has been blocked, not mentally, but physically. Now, if you’re wondering what has been blocking me all these months, well the simple answer is ‘Stuff, Clutter, Junk’ call it what you will, but I own – ok, ok hoard - way too much of it.
So, I’ve challenged myself to put on my big-girl pants and spend the next week completely de-cluttering my entire living space!!! Now it may sound crazy, but hear me out, I endeavor to go into 2019 with a clear body, mind, and spirit. Holding onto old copies of all those weekly magazines, and clothes that I haven’t worn since 2008 isn’t going to help me to do that, so before the year is up, its all got to go.
If this resonates with you, then don’t let fear stop you from starting, and if you want to know where to start then here are my top 5 tips to clear some space for You in the New Year:
Take it Room by Room
Have a schedule, and work from top to bottom, for example, use the first day for your bedroom (always the hardest and most personal, as you’ll want to hold onto everything). Then, work your way through the house until you get to the front garden, yes, sorry folks the garden has to be tackled too. Try not to get distracted and do 2 rooms in a day, stay focused so you can do a complete cleanse. If you find you’ve finished a room early, take a break and plan for the next day.
Create a System
Getting your house in order may seem like an anxiety-inducing task, that will cause you to avoid taking the first step, but if you have a system in place it can streamline the process. The first thing you should do is take everything out of cupboards/closets/drawers and put them into piles in the middle of the room. Then, divide into 3 more piles of IN, MAYBE, and OUT. The IN pile can be put back (but side note, make sure you do a review of the IN pile every 3 months), for the MAYBE pile you should ask yourself ‘Have I worn/used it in the last 2 months?’ if the answers no it goes into the OUT pile, if yes put it back and revisit it in your next round of de-cluttering, and the OUT pile should be bagged up ready for charity or recycling.
Close the Loop
The fast-fashion model that a number of retailers have adopted has caused us to have a blasé attitude towards our clothes. We now tend to buy an item, wear it once or twice, and then retire it to the back of the wardrobe. However, we can give these old clothes a new lease of life, whether you use apps such as Schpock or Depop to sell your old neon puffa jacket from 1999 or enlist charities such as Traid that offer a free pick-up service to help you give back to those in need, especially in the winter months. This is a task that you should schedule in on a regular basis, by constantly having a bag earmarked for charity that you can add to whenever you want to de-clutter your wardrobe.
A home for everything
Now, that you’ve started to create some space, this is the only time I’d advocate making a new purchase, as you can take an inventory of what you have left, and take a trip down to Ikea or my second favourite scandi store Flying Tiger for office and storage supplies. Only stock up on the essentials, which could include items like a letter tray, boxes of various sizes (fabric boxes are great for toilet roll or laundry and I use large clear boxes to store my winter jumpers), Magazine racks, so you can easily organize your monthly subscriptions and a desk organiser.
Now in the midst of all this purging, don’t feel pressured into getting rid of that old notebook full of your sketches from College or all those birthday cards from your very first job. If you have an old piece of clothing or an object that brings back memories of the first holiday you took to New York, then without question, keep it. Creating an archive, whether an old shoebox that holds old Polaroids, or your mothers vintage vanity case where you keep all your jewelry, is an important way to preserve and re-visit your history.
In going through the 5 steps, and letting go of all the clutter that has been blocking me creatively, I’m hoping to create a space that gives me a clearer mind to plan my goals for 2019.
Words by Angela Baidoo