Decluttering – a dream.

I dream of a decluttered house. And then every time I turn around, I add to the clutter here. I can’t turn down a hand me down, and I struggle to hand them further. (Which is partly due to the ages of my children and my friends’ children it has to be admitted.) Charity shop bags fill ever so slowly on the way out and trickle steadily back in. Books arrive for review and never leave and so few things have real homes of their own.

What is required is will power, and possibly, lists. Organisation. Oomph. I am enthused by my productivity today – I wrote a list and knocked off all the major items on it, as well as the standard items like making it to swimming lessons and cooking tea from scratch that weren’t on it. (The washing has languished either on the line or in the machine it has to be admitted.) The one item that I wanted to do and didn’t was take pictures of items for Ebay. So they will remain for a few more days unlisted.

I wonder if anyone has any hints and tips to offer. Is it possible to creep up on your clutter? To trick it into submission? Somehow sneak it out of the house when it least expects it? Has anyone attempted getting ppl in to declutter for them? I break out in a cold sweat at the mere thought I have to admit, at the idea of someone else going through my stuff and recycling, or even worse, binning it!

My worst habit is buying extra bits so that I can use up things I’ve already got. Like this week where I spent a pound on three small balls of yarn, so that I can use up a tray of beads making beaded scarves for Christmas or for sale. A lovely ambition, but unless I declare it here and get promises of nagging, it’s unlikely to actually happen. Instead the yarn will scuttle from bag to basket to yarn stash and just sit and stare at me, laughing at my inability to finish projects.

I need a decluttering buddy. Someone to lead me gently by the hand from this state of chaos into a more minimalist and happier way of life. To explain how I got to this stage, free me from my anxiety and guilt and show me a better way.

Any volunteers?

Written for the Friday Club carnival on dealing with clutter.

About Jax Blunt

I'm the original user, Jax Blunt I've been blogging for 15 years, give or take, and if you want to know me, read me :)

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  1. Hello
    I found your blog by searching under home education.
    I also saw your post about your pregnancy. Just a quick comment: my second birth was at 39 years and 10months. Hubby said I should have a homebirth because “you’ll never make it to the birth centre”. Short labours run in my family. So fought for it on those grounds, as suggested by an independent midwife who spoke to me on the phone (despite the fact that she knew I would not be able to affort her services, she was helpful). AIMS were brilliant, too.

    Daughter born 1hr and 45 mins after waters broke — so husband was right. (Yes, it was like a highspeed train going by — phwoom! A bit crazy.) Midwife arrived very quickly, but still was in house for only 5 mins before birth. She was v useful afterwards. First child born in birthing centre. I feel that you get better, more experienced midwives if you opt for midwife centres or home birth. In case of transfer to hospital, I wrote NO STUDENTS AT ANY TIME in caps, and drilled husband to ban them.

    I went to a uni with medical school attached. Would not let med student look after a gerbil, let alone me and my baby.

    All the best God bless you all

  2. I’m currently setting myself the goals of charity shop bagging, passing on or otherwise getting rid of ten things a day. Throwing things out is a bonus but doesn’t count towards the 10 items because otherwise when you’re desperate it’s too easy to just look for random rubbish which would get thrown away anyway and count that 😉
    We’re not at home enough to do the ten a day evenly, but I try to catch up on the days we are home and so far several boxes of stuff have gone off to various charity shops, so I know things are leaving, it’s just that when I look round the house I can’t quite see where they’ve gone from…

  3. So far the clutter posts I’ve read have all been cries for advice – including mine. I’m still hoping that someone will have the answer. I didn’t use to be like this – it’s the toys I can’t stand everywhere.
    Midlife Singlemum recently posted…Clutter: A Straight ExchangeMy Profile

    • Couple of good bits of advice in the comments thread here though, looking forward to reading around to see if anyone else had any good ideas.

  4. I would just do a very ruthless clean out–it’s the only way to do it. We are lucky enough to have a roomy, open plan house–but I don’t have many places for storage–but this is by design. People buy drawer units and put things in them, and never see them again. People buy a million book shelves and put a trillion books on them–never to be read again. Makes no sense to me what-so-ever. Books are for reading-not staring at! Only keep the ones that are unforgettably meaningful to you, those of any value–the rest will make a charity shop enough money to run their electricity for a few months. I don’t even keep a kitchen gadget that isn’t used almost weekly. Then again–I just don’t buy it to begin with. You just have to decide what will make you happiest–keeping all the clutter that is suffocating you and your family or clearing the house and giving you all some breathing space?

    • See kitchen gadgets really aren’t my problem. Home Ed resources on the other hand… And I can do ruthless every once in a while, but struggle to do it regularly.

  5. I used to keep track of items in and items out, aiming to have decluttered 365 things within a year. I did it in 2009 and 2010 and ended up with far more than 365 things fewer than I’d started with, but it did mean counting every item in every bag of handmedowns I was given, etc. (Wednesday, in: 13 socks, 4 vests, 9 bibs, 2 exercise books, 4 biros = 32 items. Out: 3 ancient bras, 2 full notebooks, 23 misc kitchen utensils etc = 28 items. Total decluttered = -9 items, must try harder).
    Ailbhe recently posted…ClutterMy Profile

  6. Isn’t it Layla who actively enjoys decluttering? Maybe invite her for a few days?

    Clutter is something we suffer with too (no? really?) and I do need to get a grip on it because it makes me feel ill.

    How about you set a challenge, maybe to do one of those scarves over a set time (a night? a week? not sure how fast they would grow) and aim to at least remove that from your guilt list and into your “I’ve got my Christmas gifts all sorted” list??? I’ll nag if you like 😉
    Tbird Anni recently posted…A little excitement in the dayMy Profile

  7. Jax,
    Although I am hopeless at decluttering (as evidenced by this post- … it looks slightly better, but I still need to be ruthless with lots of stuff.) I often read – it has some great tips on decluttering. From the comments on my cry for help in decluttering I was pointed to the Fly Lady. She has some pretty good tools to get you into the right habits too.
    Monika aka Mumonthebrink recently posted…MAD Blog Awards 2011My Profile

  8. Sometimes it not just the clutter it’s organising it! Upright filing can hide a multitude of sins (says me with spare room brimming fool ot STUFF!). I only feel bad about clutter if it disturbs my sense of equilibrium and then makes me stressed – I always have to write in a clear place. That said, I hate going to tidy houses, they look sterile and no evidence of life within them, so at least you have oodles of that!

  9. I know I’ve suggested this before and you’re not keen, but I swear by the FLYlady approach to clutter. Just a few minutes every day of getting rid of things or finding a place for them. One of the crucial things is making sure they don’t sneak back in – as soon as something is bagged up for the charity shop, stick it in the boot so you don’t start sorting through it again.

    Books: our village hall has bookshelves where people leave books, and borrow them on an honesty basis. If you have something similar, could you take books there, then you have the reassurance of being able to go and take them back if you find you really *need* them.
    Kirsty recently posted…Silent SundayMy Profile

  10. Could you have general places for things? Books on the bookcase, toys in a big wicker basket, paperwork either in a filing cabinet or a pending tray, too-big clothes in one storage box, too-small clothes in another – that way everything would have a home and I think that’s the trick to start being less overwhelmed by clutter.

    Having said that, when you have children and a busy life I think it is very difficult to live clutter-free. We did a massive de-cluttering effort and it has paid off and a few months on we are still living clutter free but only really because of the threat of having to pay to move stuff! And small children require so much stuff, it’s only now we’re getting past that stage that I realise how much stuff.
    Ella recently posted…Dealing with clutter: decluttering, home organization, storage solutions and tipsMy Profile

    • That is what I’m working on, but to get to that point I’m going to have to get rid of stuff. I find it so difficult, but we are getting to the point where it’s a real physical problem, which is making me take notice and get on with it. Got to get more ruthless. Thanks for popping by – good to see you online.

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