Firstly, you can relax. Your collection of Panini sticker albums isn’t going anywhere. Neither are we going to tell you to bin that box of mixtapes you’ve been carting around since forever ago (at least, not if you don’t want to).
That said, we do happen to be firmly on the side of the decluttering evangelists. Less stuff is good for you. And, if we each asked “Do I really need this?” before accumulating more of it, we’d probably all be better off in the long run. Decluttering is a positive, and it can easily be be part and parcel of any Spring clean. Better still; it’s possible to declutter without it feeling like a ruthless and permanent cull of many of the things we’d much rather hold onto.
The Spring clean
The less said about the actual cleaning aspect of the Spring clean, the better. The best bit comes before that, when we realise just how many of the items accumulated over the last year are still to find their proper place in the home. Cue a search for “home storage ideas” and many a happy hour spent browsing clever storage products on Pinterest.
Those quirky units and reclaimed driftwood shelves might look great, but there’s no getting away from the fact that by bringing them into your home, you’re introducing more stuff. You’re shelling out more cash as well. Yet, the laws of physics can’t be ignored forever: shuffling things around and finding new ways to stash them is really just a sticking plaster. Whether it’s a bijou flat or a rambling townhouse, there’s a limit on how much it can hold. So decluttering involves accepting this, embracing it, and cracking on with sorting out what you actually need.
Decluttering as a way of life
If there’s a bible for decluttering, it’s Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. An International bestseller which earned Kondo a place on Time’s 100 most influential people. The ‘KonMari’ approach now has its very own app and sets out a radical approach to tidying.
It’s beautifully simple. Take each of your possessions, ask if it brings you joy, and if it doesn’t, remove it from your home. For those joy-giving items that remain, keep them visible, easy to access — and always return them to their rightful place when you’ve finished with them.
Meanwhile, just as Marie Kondo shows us how to ‘joyfully purge’, thinkers such as James Wallman (author of Stuffocation: Living More With Less) provide lessons on how not to ‘re-stuffocate’, to buy less, and to buy better. It’s good for the planet, and frees up more of your own resources for what really matters: experiences over things.
How decluttering can help you this Spring
OK, your time is precious — so why waste an entire morning cleaning a 2-bed flat in the city? Well, less stuff means fewer surfaces to negotiate and less time dusting and cleaning; not just for your annual Spring clean but all year round. And then of course, there’s all that time spent rooting through miscellany for items that mysteriously seem to disappear (earphones, anyone?). Fewer items to track and store means you have a better idea of where everything is, and makes finding them quicker and easier.
A purposeful clear-out gives you a sense of perspective, too: you come to realise how much stuff you own, so you start thinking more clearly about future purchases. It saves you money in the long-run basically. Instead of having clothes crammed onto hangers or items squashed into overflowing cupboards, decluttering can give you a newfound respect for your possessions. They, no, you, have more room to breathe.
Decluttering without the heartache
There’s much joy to be had in finally getting round to a trip to the charity shop with the perfectly serviceable clothes you are never going to wear again. Even getting rid of that unused popcorn maker can feel like a burden has been lifted.
But what about the snowboarding gear under the stairs that you hope to put to use again one day; perhaps when the little ones are older? What about the guitar, photo collections, and wedding dress? Where there are two of you involved in the decluttering process, you soon realise that one person’s priceless memorabilia is often another person’s bric-a-brac. This is especially true when you’re a city dwelling couple where space is limited at the best of times.
Common ground can always be found. though. You can probably agree, for instance, that your quest for Shinto minimalism isn’t helped by the crosstrainer being used as a clothes horse in the bedroom. Nor is the “I’ll use it one day” bicycle that sits on the hall wall right in front of the bathroom door — no one needs a pedal to the face in the early hours.
That said, there will be things you really don’t want to say goodbye to forever. It’s just, at this moment in time, you could do without them in your living space. One day, it won’t be clutter, but right now, you’re basically a ‘Storage Seeker’. You’re not quite ready to permanently ditch absolutely everything but the bare essentials.
So the answer comes in locating the right Storage Provider, right? Well, that answer should be local, convenient, ethical, and cost-effective. That’s what we’re all about at Storemates. So, if you don’t want to say goodbye to various bits and bobs just yet, give us a shout, and we can sort you out with the ideal solution for a clutter-free home. If anything, it’ll help kick off last year’s spring clean you’ve been putting off.
For more information on using Storemates, head over to our homepage.