Three years ago we had a MASSIVE declutter. Now it wasn’t as if we had rooms full of clutter, this was just ‘stuff’ that we either didn’t want or need anymore. Many of the items we had kept ‘just in case’ or because they were large items and we couldn’t get rid of them easily. Add to that the items that we ‘couldn’t’ get rid of – you know, the ones you don’t really want to keep but feel you should!
It started off as just wanting to declutter the bedroom so we could decorate, but once we had taken a look at the amount of items we needed to get rid of, it appeared that rather than many trips backwards and forwards to the rubbish tip, it would be easier and quicker to hire a skip AND once we had decided to hire a skip, it was like a light had been turned on – all of a sudden we could see lots more items that needed clearing out. There was the settee whose springs had broken, the garden chairs that we no longer used as we had been given new ones and were now rotting behind the shed and the list went on. Now most of this was HIDDEN clutter – not in sight but hidden behind sheds, in the loft, in cupboards etc.
Here is the story I posted three years ago (on a different blog) and after the story, I have listed my top 5 hints and tips that worked for us and 5 things that I have learned about decluttering since then:
Our bedroom is quite a good sized double. Our house is only two bedroomed. The boys share one room and we have the other. Our bedroom became our dumping room from the minute we moved in!
Over the years in our quest to create more space and more storage we had our loft hatch widened and the loft boarded out. We filled this space too. We bought a shed, another shed and then an even bigger shed. These too were slowly filled to bursting. Now apart from our bedroom, every room was neat and tidy and showed no evidence of the clutter that was lurking behind doors, in cupboards and under beds etc.
Then one day, Easter 2014 to be exact, it all came to a head.
My husband raised the possibility of decorating our bedroom! We had moved in 12 years previous and it was meant to be the first room we were going to do. However, two children and the decoration of other rooms (some more than once during this time) put this task on the back burner.
At the raising of the question my husband was greeted with a horrified look from me and the words 'What is the point, this is a horrible junk room. Changing the colour isn't going to change that'.
What followed was a few hours of us having a 'proper' look at the stuff we had stored in the room. Followed quickly by the realisation that much of it was no longer needed - some had got so buried that we couldn't even remember making the decision to store it in the first place!
It was obvious that we had a major task on our hands. We also had a couple of big items that we no longer wanted but had no transport to dispose of ourselves (an old, broken settee, a broken exercise bike and an old camp bed). We decided to bite the bullet and order a skip.
That was a Wednesday. On the Thursday we ordered a skip for delivery and collection on the Friday. The rest of Thursday was spent clearing out. We did our bedroom, we did the loft (a famous quote of my husband’s was ‘there is no rubbish in the loft’ and it is one I like to remind him of as, once we took a ‘proper’ look, we found many boxes, again, with things we no longer needed), we did the three sheds and the garden. The following photos are of the amount of 'stuff' that was cluttering up our lives :
The resulting relief was and still is indescribable. The bedroom has now been decorated and is a calm, relaxing space and one that I never thought we could ever have.
My Top 5 Hints and Tips for decluttering:
- Every member of the household needs to be on board –otherwise you will feel like you are wasting your time and begin resenting others that clutter up your new found space. My husband has a nasty habit of putting things away in any available space, so that when the item that ‘lives’ there is being returned, you find something already in situ!
- Look into the options available for disposing your clutter. What is rubbish to you may be of value to someone else and if it is in good condition you may be able to sell it or donate it to charity, saving the items from landfill.
- Check the rules at your local rubbish tip. I know our local one has just started charging if you take in items of furniture, for example a wardrobe or chest of drawers, that is still in one piece. They now have to dismantle it and separate all the parts into the correct skips, so wood like doors etc)in the wood section, metal (like hinges etc) in the metal section. If you have a lot to dispose of you could save yourself a bit of money by doing this before you go.
- Check your local Council. They usually offer a fixed fee for collection of unwanted large items.
- START – even if it is just one drawer at a time!
So, three years on and what have I learned:
- It is not over. It will NEVER be over but in a good way. I have realised that decluttering is not something that you can only do once. Decluttering has to be a lifestyle change. You have to stop bringing clutter in to your home and you have to constantly reassess your possessions to see if they are still loved and wanted. Something leaves this house at least once a week and there are many areas that I will be revisiting over the next couple months. I am determined to keep the calm!!
- You cannot see the real clutter unless you are prepared to really look at what you have. It was only when we decided to get a skip that the task became one that could be completed. If you feel you have no way of changing anything, it is easier to put it to the back of your mind and pretend it isn’t there.
- We still find things to this day that, at the time, we thought were important to keep only to realise later that they are not needed.
- We are now very conscious when buying gifts for others and we buy consumable items like smellies or chocolates or experiences unless we know there is something they really want.
- Although we tackled many areas all in one go, we still tackle smaller areas as needed. You have to work in the way that suits you.
- I still have too many clothes, even though I hardly buy any. I blame the fact that they must be good quality and keep lasting.