Clean Start

We haven’t really talked about it, so at the risk of sounding reckless, I’m introducing a new ‘category’ to my blog posts.  Cleaning is the friendly relative of organising and decluttering.  You don’t have to do it, but while you’re in the process of moving your stuff around into a solution that suits you better, it is worth doing a bit of cleaning.

It really is ‘just a bit’, too.   We’re talking about stuff that’s been sitting around for a while, it’s going to pick up some dust – but usually it isn’t half as bad as you thought it would be, and pretty easy to get back to where you want it, i.e. nice and clean again.

Clutter tends to build up over time, so it gathers dust like anything else.  But a quick wipe over with a damp cloth could be all it takes to fix the problem.  We’ll be looking at a few examples of light cleaning tasks and useful ideas over the next few days, so stay tuned for updates.

Time for this to Go – ‘Leave by’ dates

Hello, Neil here
Many years ago I had a house with a little brick-built shed on the side of it. This was in the dark ages before people realised how cool sheds were, so I just called it the outhouse, on account of it being ‘outside’ of my ‘house’.

It was a useful little space too. I used it to keep my stuff in. My stuff included:

• A lawnmower
• A bicycle
• An unusually long wooden pole
• a whole lot of assorted junk

The weird thing is, looking back I cannot remember a single item that would have been included in that last bullet. So it must have been – well, junk, right? As in rubbish. Yet at the time, I could not bring myself to part with any of it. “I might need it for something,” I would say to myself, without ever managing to define what that ‘something’ was.

So my outhouse continued to be a largely useless space largely full of useless items, rather than a really cool shed, where I could be all creative and interesting. My own junk was stifling my creative juices, and that’s very bad. Ask any artist.

How did I break out of this mindset? Dates.

That’s right. Boring old target dates. I decided to look at all the things I had accumulated in the shed, and put dates on them, like ‘use by’ dates on food. If I hadn’t used it or found a use for it after, say, one year, it would have to go.

I recall a few items that I felt needed more time to ‘decide’, so these were given longer stays of execution, but there were also a couple of things that I felt could go in six months. Thus, you see, an approach like this often inspires fresh thinking, and that’s usually good.

Just setting this plan in place was helpful. Within a year, much of the ‘dated’ stuff had already departed, by fair means (or foul, but more of that later). It was as if I had prepared it all for the big heave-ho without the mental stress of physically ‘removing’ it from my life. I gave myself time to adjust to the new situation.

If there’s something in your life that has no defined purpose, why keep it?

It has no purpose;
It has no use;
It’s useless to me.

We all know what to do with useless stuff.

But Neil, I hear you ask. It’s all very well to talk about these things, but – did it really work? You got rid of stuff, but surely you had formed an ‘attachment’ to some of these items? There still has to be a date when, ultimately, you have to get rid of that stuff – and that’s hard.

Possibly, but when the day came I felt I was more prepared for it. I could look at those remaining items and say to myself “I haven’t used these things since … so why am I keeping them?” It made that final action so much easier to achieve because I had given myself enough time to justify it reasonably.

Well, almost all of it. You see, one night the outhouse was broken into. Nothing was damaged (I’d just forgotten to lock it) and some little opportunist sneaked in – and stole my unusually long wooden pole.

Evidently, even thieves couldn’t find a use for anything else I kept in the outhouse.

Which speaks volumes really, doesn’t it?

Testimonial

I would like to thank Christine Durrant for her help in cleaning and tidying my home. Thank you Christine for giving me the strength I needed to do this project and thank you for becoming a good friend as well. I would like to say that it’s people like you who help others to understand and get over their problems.
Thank you again,
Your friend,
Paul Hawkins

Working together to live apart

You have made the decision.  It is time to go your separate ways.  One of you has left already and the other has decided it is time to sell the family home. It is crunch time and you need to bite the bullet and get those final things sorted. BUT you are both dreading it.

Is this you?  Book a session and get that job done.

We act as impartial advocates for both parties helping you to see it through.

Devon Clutter Busters

I help my clients put systems in place designed to meet their specific needs; some might want to sort a set of cupboards or reinvent a room or just find the floor! Whatever your needs I have a sympathetic, fun approach which leaves you feeling good about yourself and your home.

I have helped people who have hoarding disorder to take charge of their homes again and recover a sense of who they really are.

I also deliver talks and workshops and run Clutterbugs, a friendly, confidential and supportive group for people who have problems with clutter and need ongoing support. Clutterbugs meet at CentrePeace Community Centre in Paignton on the third Monday of the month from 9.30am to 11.00am.

For more information please call me on 07794 978095

I look forward to helping you

Christine