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Declutter your home, declutter your life!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Statistics suggest one-in-four Australians feel anxious and overwhelmed about their clutter.

We're all guilty of it — filling our homes with useless junk we don't need or use. But a cluttered home can lead to a cluttered mind, so stop putting it off - take some time to clear out your clutter. It's a positive, empowering action that will create more time and space for a fresh new you!

From the piles of mail on your kitchen table to the boxes stacked on top of your wardrobe, clutter is a part of daily life. It might not bother you. You could be so used to those mounds of clothes and piles of shoes that you simply don't notice them anymore. But clear them out and you'll gain space in more ways than one.

"Our homes are a reflection of ourselves,"

says professional de-clutterer Julie Zullo of Your Personal Organiser, a service that helps people organise their lives.

"People often have a cluttered space because there's something else going on. It's not always just about the stuff. But it works both ways — a cluttered space equals a cluttered mind.

It's very difficult to relax and feel in control when you can't find anything. It takes longer to do everything, which becomes frustrating and depressing. Being organised and clutter-free brings clarity and peace of mind."

Statistics suggest one-in-four Australians feel anxious and overwhelmed about their clutter.

So, conquer your clutter and take control of your life? It might sound far-fetched, but it's a good place to start. And there are other benefits too, like saving money.

"One of the biggest problems with clutter is that it means you often overlook important things, like bills," says Julie. "So you end up paying a late fee or a reconnection fee if a utility has been cut off. In extreme cases the debt collectors could even be called in."

You might even shop less once you've had a clear out — are you likely to buy another black top when you realise you already have five? And you can stop yourself doubling up on things.

"Clutterbugs often duplicate items because they can't find the first one they bought," says Julie. "They're often wasteful with things like gift vouchers too. They go missing and by the time you find them they're out of date."



You could even turn your clear out into a money-making scheme — hold a garage sale to get rid of all your junk and you might make a tidy profit. But don't use it to buy more junk. Treat yourself to a nice meal, or put it towards paying the bills.

How to get started...

  1. Focus on one area at a time. "It's easy to feel overwhelmed when you look at the big picture," says Julie. "Break the project up into smaller pieces that are more manageable."

  2. Ask yourself these questions for every item you pick up: Do I use it? Do I like it? Do I need it? If you answer no, chuck it out.

  3. If you're struggling to let go of something, put it in a box and store it away. If you haven't used it or needed it three months later, or you've forgotten what's in the box, it's time to let go.

  4. Accept your mistakes and move on. That dress you bought for $10 because, well, it was $10, should never have found its way into your wardrobe. Send it to a new home.

  5. Acknowledge the fact you're a different person now to who you were five, 10 or 20 years ago. Hobbies and interests change, so if you used to use your rollerblades every weekend but you haven't been out on them in years, let them go.

How to keep up the momentum...

  1. For every new item you buy, get rid of two old ones.

  2. Get into the habit of putting things away. If you find yourself constantly leaving the same things out, find a new, more accessible place to store them.

  3. "Remember the 80/20 principle," says Julie. "Most people use 20 per cent of their stuff 80 per cent of the time." This is especially relevant where clothes are concerned, so start rotating your wardrobe. If you still avoid certain items, send them to the op shop.

  4. If it's offered, choose paperless billing and eliminate piles of mail while saving the rainforests.

  5. When you hit the sales this January, follow this mantra — if in doubt, leave it out. If you're unsure about something in the shop, you'll probably be even less sure when you get it home.

Check out Your Personal Organiser for more advice on de-cluttering.


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