I’m a bit of a hoarder, and yet I love minimalist spaces: the clear and spacious surface areas, the seemingly never-ending walls and the small splashes of colour here and there, are all a haven for productivity and clear-thinking.
But there’s no denying that the conflict between being somewhat magpie-like in nature and having a love for the minimalist aesthetic can cause quite a struggle.
If, like me, you have a tendency to collect clothes, books or general trinkets (or all of of this and more), it can be difficult taking the time to part with things when they start to pile up. It might be because of sentimental value, thinking you might ‘need it later’, or purely because making decisions on whether to keep or throw things is just a little daunting: whatever the reason, it can really hinder your efforts.
One of my new years resolutions was to completely declutter my room and get rid of the things I no longer need or use, and it’s meant I’ve had to face my hoarding demons head on! So here I am, halfway through 2018 now, with a more organised room, and a list of things I’ve done that have helped me cut through some of my clutter, and create a more minimalist bedroom.
1. Do Little and Often
If you’re like me, and are easily distracted when trying to clear out your things in bulk, then it might help to split your decluttering task into sizeable chunks.
Every month I pick an area or two in my room for me to work on downsizing, such as going through one of my clothes drawers, the box of shoes in my wardrobe, or clearing out a couple of my bookshelves.
So figure out what you need to go through. Make a master list of everything that needs sorting before you even tackle it, split them into smaller tasks, and pin your list up somewhere you’ll always see it. Then take a task off that list every now and then, and slowly cross it all off over a period of time.
2. Be Honest with Yourself
Will you ever need those school notes? Will you ever read that book again? Are you going to wear that dress any time soon?
Be honest with yourself when you sort through your things. If you can’t say yes to whether you’ll need it again, be brutal and give it away to a better home.
I’ve gotten rid of loads of gorgeous dresses over the past few months (I’m crying slightly as I write this) because realistically, I know I’m not going to wear them very often: they were great when I was at university and going to bars regularly, but now I work full-time I don’t do that as regularly, and therefore just don’t need them all! It was brutal, because if I could, I’d wear them a lot more, but my lifestyle has changed a lot since then, and that meant my wardrobe needed to as well. And besides, they’ll hopefully find a much better home where they’ll actually get worn!
If you’re still umm-ing and ahh-ing, ask yourself: is it irreplaceable, and I do I use it regularly? If you’ve never used it, you likely won’t use it in future, and if you know you can get a new one in the future, then say goodbye and donate it to charity.
3. Be Kind
Be kind to yourself. If you want to keep something, don’t feel guilty about it.
This links back to being honest with yourself, and the question of ‘can I replace it further down the line?’. If you can, but it still has some kind of meaning to you, then by all means, keep it. I’ve kept a lot of my grandmother’s old jewellery and a few personal things that I know I would feel sad parting with, because through them I still have a connection to her.
But I’ve also given away a lot of things that had a little sentimental value to me too, such as a dress I bought when I was with my nan that she absolutely loved on me: I was almost going to keep it because of that, but when I thought about it, I realised I was never going to wear it again, so it made sense to donate it to charity where it will go to someone who will.
So to clarify, be brutal, yes – but if your heart is really saying yes to keeping something, then listen to it. As long as you feel you’re making headway through your things, then it’s fine to keep things.
4. Skip the Maybe Pile
The Maybe Pile is a trap I’ve often caught myself in: things that I sometimes think I could keep, but deep down know I don’t need often end up in this pile. Then surprise, surprise! They get put away with the intention that I will ‘look over them another day’, forever encased in a miscellaneous jumble I’ll likely never look at again!
It’s fine if you know you’ll sort through the dreaded Maybe Pile, but it is especially difficult to avoid if you have a tendency to procrastinate on having to make decisions.
This means that for some, having a Maybe Pile is just a little dangerous and gives you an excuse to keep things, or procrastinate on sorting them out. If you fall under this category, then avoid it altogether and refer back to tip #2!
5. Reward Yourself
To be honest, decluttering feels like a reward in itself! Having a nice clear space to live in is a freeing feeling. But the path it takes to get to that point can be long and a little tiring, so it shouldn’t go unrewarded.
So when you set a goal to clean up your clutter, give yourself a reward for each one you’ve finished.
Aiming to clear out ten dresses from your wardrobe? Buy yourself a couple of new ones. Getting rid of a shelf of old, read books? Buy a couple more. As long as you’re not replacing old stuff with even more new stuff, you can still keep your space minimal without depriving yourself.
Or perhaps if you want to steer clear of getting more material possessions (and potentially creating a new jumble to clear up!), then set more appropriate rewards for yourself. For me, I’ve set myself a half an hour period where I declutter my things, and when I’m finished, I reward myself with a Netflix binge!
My natural inclination towards creating clutter seems to be deeply ingrained in my DNA, but it’s something I’ve been able to reign in and gain more control over by using the above methods!
If you’ve had the same problems, I hope these tips will be helpful for you! How do you declutter your space? Comment below if you have more tips!