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Decluttering. Really, what’s the point?

If it’s not Marie Kondo telling us how to stack our jumpers, it’s professional destuffocators saying our crap is making us fat.

When it comes to decluttering, for once I got to the party early.

I’ve chucked out 80% of my belongings and I’m living happily with nine dresses, 10 pairs of sandals (it was 40) and a couple of sacks of winter clothes stashed in a wardrobe.

It wasn’t always that way…

A year ago I had a sizable house with plenty of cupboards, but still the ‘stuff’ was winning. Today, I could pack my wardrobe into two suitcases and I don’t own enough jumpers to stack, the Marie Kondo way or otherwise.

So, what is the point of decluttering?

From a getting dressed point of view, it makes it very simple. At one time my website brandished the well-worn image consultant question: ‘Do you have lots of clothes and nothing to wear?’ It’s with huge smugness I can say: ‘I have very few clothes, love them all and always have something to wear’. And to prove it, here’s me with my entire wardrobe! (Though I can only count eight dresses, including the one I’m wearing; there must be one in the wash…)

IMG_3477 (2)So why bother? Well firstly, you have to know WHY you’re decluttering. If you don’t have a reason, why do it?

My reason for getting rid of most of the furniture was twofold: Firstly, I was moving abroad and had to empty the house. I have no priceless heirlooms and most of our furniture came from auctions. Doing the sums, the cost of putting it into storage far outweighed buying it all again.

And I’d come to the point where I was tired at looking at the same old stuff. Just because I’d always had it didn’t mean I had to keep it. The few things I did keep I ADORE. The idea of starting afresh, if the time comes, fills me with excitement.

What I did learn is that stuff can hold us in a place, a thought process and a life we no longer want to live.

I definitely feel lighter without it.

Let me tell you about Shirley, who asked me to help weed her wardrobe after her lone efforts yielded some holey socks and two aprons. Clothes were spewing out of four over-stuffed wardrobes, boxes under beds, the garage…

Shirley, a hospital manager, loathed her job, but loved looking after people, and was a sensational cook and cake baker. She dreamed of running a seaside cafe, but felt trapped because she had a hefty mortgage on her former marital home, where she lived alone following her divorce six years ago. Her dream seemed impossible.

She kept the big house because she had so much stuff, though much of it belonged to her grown up sons and things her mother had bequeathed. And then there were her clothes, some from 30 years ago, most of which she didn’t wear.

So Shirley was doing a job she loathed to pay for a house stuffed full of things she didn’t like or want…

I gently suggested her sons should come and get their stuff, or not complain if she dumped it. And her mother would probably turn in her grave knowing Shirley felt trapped by a legacy of G-Plan and Royal Doulton.

During the sorting process, Shirley came up with her own solution:

Get rid of the stuff. Start living.

We reduced Shirley’s clothes to two wardrobes – garments that fitted her essence, intention, colouring, body shape and lifestyle. I asked Shirley to make a vision board of her dream – her little cafe near the sea with blue stripey crockery, smelling of freshly brewed coffee and carrot cake. Her reason to declutter. We pinned it on the bedroom wall as we jettisoned fifteen sacks of stuff she never wore.

The thing about decluttering with intention, is that once you start you can almost see the dream becoming real. Last I heard, Shirley was calling estate agents, investigating premises, had a sassy new haircut and was receiving welcome attention from a gentleman caller.

So once you’ve found your WHY, you need to know HOW to declutter your wardrobe. And what’s this stuff about essence and intention?

Well, apparently most blog readers get bored after 300 words, and you’ve probably drifted off to Facebook to watch kittens cramming themselves into tissue boxes, so I’ll leave that until my next blog.

So you don’t miss it you can sign up to my newsletter and it’ll pop into your inbox.

Til next time,

Sarah, Being Lois x

(If you want to know more about Marie Kondo, here’s a quick resume courtesy Woman & Home magazine)

What would be YOUR reason to declutter? Big life goal? (Or maybe you just can’t find your favourite black trousers…)

6 comments

  1. Very inspirational – I started decluttering last year – with your words ringing in my ears, I now have a job after being a stay at home mum for 9 years and and determined to declutter my overweight body too! This year is the big change for me, and thanks to you, I have been gently pushed in the right direction! One of the main things I have changed is, ” don’t look back”. I had started to buy things that I once had to try to rebuild my own what? security? self worth? So I was buying things twice in a lifetime – it didn’t make sense. Now I can look forward to a new lifestyle, with my belongings fitting round that. My new me hasn’t got a name yet though!

    1. Wow Carole. That’s all really inspirational. I don’t begin to understand the psychology behind decluttering and body weight, but I know lots of people say they feel ‘lighter’ after letting go of too much stuff, and therefore letting go of the past. I do know that people hold onto stuff as a security blanket, and maybe that’s linked to weight. I am really excited by your new mindset. Do let me know if you come up with a name! Sarah, Being Lois x

  2. I seem to move every 6 to 12 months, (out of choice!) and love de-cluttering! My rule if I have not used it or worn it for a year it needs to go! It’s a good discipline!Ilove change and re-invention, out with old and in with the new! Still haven’t got a gentleman calling but maybe he wouldn’t know which door to knock at! Lol Angela X

    1. You clearly need a chap who can keep up with you Angela! Your one year rule works for me too. Have just done my lipsticks – some must have been years old. Yuck. x

  3. Im getting a big urge to declutter and your idea of making a vision board strikes a cord with me. It makes a lot of sense. I look forward to the next instalment of this blog. On another note, I have ordered the Feng Shui book you told me about and it’s on it’s way from the UK as we speak. Thank you.

    1. Wow! With Feng Shui I always say ‘take what you want and leave the rest’. It’s more about placing your stuff with the intention of a particular outcome than the whole Buddha and windchimes thing. But every time I feel ‘stuck’ I have a good clear out, and something always happens. It’s like clearing a blockage! Happy decluttering Dianne!

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