21 October 2011
How to Live Clutter Free
By: Laura Trotta
I don't know if it has been the recent change in season or parenting an increasingly inquisitive little boy that gets into anything that's lying around, but I have been reducing clutter with a vengence in my home of late. Last weekend my wardrobe was attacked and the spare room now has three extra boxes to hopefully find new owners at our garage sale in a few weeks time.
I'm a firm believer that clutter free living (mainly living with less stuff) is one of the first steps to living more sustainably, however, it is not a skill that comes naturally to me. I'm one of those annoying people that move onto the next activity as soon as they finish the one they were doing, often without packing up the first activity properly. Unpacking suitcases from trips away (or should I say not promptly unpacking them) is a case in point.
The drive to learn how to live more clutter-free was behind my choice to attend a presentation by Helen Butler of Clutter Rescue at the recent AusMumpreneur's Conference. Exuding calm and organisation, Helen talked us through the benefits of living clutter-free and steps we could take to remove unneccessary stuff from our lives and prevent it from entering our homes in the first place! I was so inspired by Helen that I've asked her a few questions so you can perhaps live a little more clutter free too.
Have you always been an organised person?
I'd like to say that I was born with the organising gene but I also know that my organising skills have been learnt over time – and definitely developed growing up as a child. I grew up in a household of six and we had to take on our share of responsibility. From a very early age we were doing jobs, organising our own school resources (including sewing our own school uniforms) and helping Mum and Dad around the house. My Mum was always very organised (she had no other choice with such a busy family!) and I definitely learnt a lot from her.
What are your top five tips for how people can live clutter-free?
- Focus on what kind of life you want. Work with your vision in mind to clear the clutter in your space, time and life.
- Only have items in your home that are useful or beautiful. The rest can go. Surround yourself with the things you love and you can’t go wrong.
- Every item has to have a home. As soon as you bring something into your home find the perfect place for it to live – and return it there if it’s ever moved.
- Create routines around clearing the clutter. Enlist the help of all members of your home to follow the “one in one out” rule. Routines will bring clarity to your life, time and space.
- Think twice when shopping. Do you have something similar at home that is just as good? Only buy what your need (not what you want).
How do you believe living with less clutter is beneficial for our environment?
We live is such a disposable environment. Regardless of whether we are buying disposable plates or new electronic equipment, a lot of people tend to throw out the old and replace it with something new (even if the old item is not that old!). If only one person decided to buy less – less toys for the kids at Christmas, less clothes that look nearly identical to everything else in the wardrobe, less 'new' items because the other one is 'old' - our environment would thank us for it. I firmly believe that if each and every one of us was to focus on our life experiences instead of our life possessions we would live a much more fulling life – and the environment would thank us for it.
In your business, where do you find people need the most help?
Initially my clients contact me to help with a specific area of their home – quite often the office space or kid-related clutter – but then we usually end up moving through every area of the home to organise and declutter. Quite often once the bigger decluttering problem is solved the client sees the benefit of the process and asks us to continue in other problem areas of their home. After we've sorted the physical space we usually then move onto organising their time through time management coaching. As I work with busy mums there are a lot of things to juggle – and we help them find time for themselves in their schedule.
Are there any other benefits to de-cluttering that you'd like to add?
Making the decision to get on top of your clutter – whether the clutter problem is Space or Time-related – really gives you a sense of control and clarity. With a sense of control and clarity you are able to make more effective decisions relating to your life and what you want to achieve. Our time on this planet is so short – I don't want clutter to weigh you down and stop you from living your best life!
Below is a before and after example of a cupboard where Helen has worked her magic. We need to tackle those old photo albums in our home too!
To receive ongoing inspiration on leading a more organised and clutter free life, follow Helen on Twitter or Facebook and/or subscribe to her newsletter to receive her FREE E-Book "The Insider's Guide to a Clutter Free Life."