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.

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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…)

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