Articles (Blog), Decluttering

Why ‘Decluttering’ Isn’t Working For You.

You’ve tried, over and over. With the best will in the world, you were determined, you worked hard! You got rid of heaps, but somehow it always comes back. Or never really looks like you’ve done much. Especially when you show your hard work to other people…

Things have Gotten Out Of Hand.

There you were, back in the day, moving into your new home, with all your favourite things packed up. Unpacking was a real chore, things were put wherever they fitted. Since then you’ve been squirrelling things away (thank goodness for storage!) Then all of a sudden it’s getting hard to find space for new stuff. You can’t find things you know you own. You panic when guests come over. There’s things and stuff all over the place!

That escalated quickly, you think to yourself… But actually it’s happened over time. It’s at a point where it’s overwhelming just living in your home. The thought of sorting it all out, organising and decluttering… it makes you want to run away.

So you do what the hacks on the web say to do, little bits at a time, declutter this, declutter that. But it’s not enough! And more keeps appearing, from NOWHERE! You feel like you’re losing this battle. It’s enough to make you want to give up, but you’re still not happy.

Tips and hacks and other super easy things.

You know those posts, blogs and emails that tempt us with clickable titles like:

  • 10 easy ways to lose weight fast!
  • 5 minutes a day to calm your anxiety!
  • Super simple hacks to help you be a better mum!

Almost without fail, I’ve found they all start with meditating. Sigh.

They’re SO tempting aren’t they? Your brain flicks into positive thinking – I could do that! What’s 5 minutes a day? But you’re not getting the results they promised. So you drop that tip and try a different one, over and over again. Which can make you feel bad about yourself or exasperated with the writer of those hacks. What do they know anyway?!

I’m not trashing them, I’ve written a few myself. The thing is, they DO work (unless they’re silly and extreme.) The hard part is, you have to do them. And keep doing them, usually repeatedly. They sound a bit like a magic trick, BING! A hand waves and it’s all better! But even magic takes hours and hours of practice.

So maybe you just haven’t found the perfect hack for you? That magical tip that just syncs with your personality and makes you a Super Mum, effortlessly skinny, calm as an ice queen and organised as an Instagram influencer.

The truth is, to keep a home beautifully clutter-free and organised, you really need a bunch of hacks. Layers of tricks and habits and nifty ideas that you can incorporate into your lifestyle, permanently.

Balance in all things.

Your clutter tolerance level is probably different to mine. It might be different to your partner, your mum, or your sister. You might live with people who have a hugely high clutter tolerance. In other words, they don’t give a toss about mess. They’re happy clutter-makers, with priorities very different from yours.

Imagine for a moment, that everything in your cupboards and drawers fell out and landed on the floor… What’s that? Oh you don’t have to imagine it?… Messy hmm? Chaos right? That’s because stuff doesn’t put itself away. What comes out must be put back, and be put back by the person who took it out. Out = In.

The flow of stuff. Things leave your house and they enter your house. For most people struggling with decluttering, there’s an imbalance. There’s way more stuff entering than leaving your house. Flyers, mail, toys, giveaways, recreational shopping, way too many gifts, hand-me-down clothes, new clothes, more storage, more gadgets. More than we could ever need.

At the start of decluttering it’s a good idea to swing the flow of stuff from Coming In to Going Out. Limit the In stuff and maximise the Out stuff. When you’re at a good place with your stuff, that’s when you can start the One In and One Out rule to maintain the balance of stuff in your home.

Thinking small.

Simplicity, minimalism and tidiness… Seem impossible?

We have a habit of buying cool stuff that’s designed to make us spend money. Special things for one, unique purpose. Corn popping machines for example. Unless you have a movie theatre it’s just as easy to pop corn in a pan or the microwave. You don’t always need that extra thing because you probably have something else that will do the job just fine.

It’s all about your mindset. Thinking like a minimalist, or a tiny house owner, changes how you look at stuff. Even if you live in a big house with loads of storage.

Most non-minimal people see an empty space and think – Cool, I can fill that! – A minimalist will look at the same space and think – Cool, how can I keep that space empty? – A tiny house owner will think – How can I use this space most efficiently?

These tidy minded people are allergic to Stuff. They say no to freebies, no to school flyers, no to party bags. They think long and hard about buying things because their priorities are different. It’s not about Getting More Stuff. It’s about the quality of their life in their home.

What is your automatic reaction when you see an empty space in your home?


The Tidy Lady.

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