The art of decluttering
Since, I have been cleaning and clearing a lot over the past few weeks and generally over the past year, I thought I would share some de-cluttering tips and thoughts today.
Christmas is just around the corner. Most of us crafty people have already started thinking about, if not making, gifts for people. We start to save up for the masses and mountains of STUFF we think we need to buy and give.
But where do we put all of our gifts and stocking fillers?
The above link has some good tips to de-clutter your life.
Ever see the TV programme How Clean Is Your House? Or Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners? Heaven help me if I end up like that!
I understand it is sometimes nice to be nestled in amongst your stuff…like a cosy bear den. That’s how I worked at university…all my books close by on this shelf…all folders on that shelf…all other stuff on this shelf. Organised chaos.
But it’s a good feeling to let go of stuff too. And once it’s gone that’s it. Out of sight, out of mind.
So here is a list of stuff I have ‘de-cluttered’ in the past 12 months.
A portable DVD player and everything it came with, an MP3 player, 3 pairs in ear headphones, 1 bin bag clothes charity shop, 3 bag for life clothes to charity shop, bag shoes, cushion, bag randoms like bowls and glass jars etc., 6 8 bags books, 2 bags DVDs, 1 bag CDs, all degree folders – papers, plastic wallets, folder etc (about 14), all PGCE folders (about 9), French Extension course folders (a whole tree worth of papers), craft supplies, sock drawer emptied, stationary drawer emptied, coat hangers, 2 back packs, 3 handbags, gift wrap and tags, Christmas old decs, toiletries, make-up, jewellery, electronic manuals, DVD boxsets, boxes, winter coat, sewing hoops, foam clock toy!!, Union Jack tray, craft papers, 4 bags magazines, DVD rack, plastic bottles and tubs…
And I know there’s more.
It’s a good feeling to see the floor!!!
The older I get, the less I want. Sure, it’s nice to get lots of toys and books when you’re a child, but how much of that do you still have now? Now, that I am nearly 30, I want useful, practical gifts (if I want anything at all) or experiences. A gift card or voucher is good, as is an experience with friends or something that lasts a long time.
The problem with clutter is that sometimes it doesn’t just sneak in – it invades! Like birthdays. I have just charity shopped or thrown out some things I got for my 21st birthday, like tatty teddy (his 21 key went rusty) and things like that. It’s a nice thought. And there is sentimental reasoning behind it. But there is no room for it. Be ruthless!!
So, back to Christmas. I like this time of year, but not just because of the gifts. In many ways I feel like Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory when it comes to gifts. No, I like the dark nights and the cold, crisp air. I like the fire being on and reading a book, while the smell of mincemeat fills the air. It’s the only time of year I have an alcoholic drink – a glass of sherry or two if you please!
Our tree last year (sorry my photography skills leave a lot to be desired!).
I think that we are under pressure from retailers and in a way from our peers to buy and give lots.
Your children won’t be happy unless they have this expensive games console and at least 10 different games at £40 a pop. Your wife won’t be happy unless you get her the Downton Abbey boxset – not just the first series…but EVERY series. Your husband won’t be happy unless you buy him that razor and that shaving cream and that brush…even though he doesn’t use a shaving brush.
But what retailers and shops and businesses don’t want you to know, especially at Christmas time is that YOU DON’T NEED TO BUY VERY MUCH!!!
LESS IS MORE.
LESS IS MORE.
LESS IS MORE.
So, what can we do?
Give gifts that are useful or practical. Is your friend a keen gardener? Give her a voucher for a garden centre, or a pretty basket with seeds and tools etc. Does your friend like cooking? How about some items for the kitchen…baking trays, storage jars etc. (I know I am getting old when Tupperware starts to look inviting and thrilling).
Or, how about something homemade?
Homemade jams and pickles etc. are especially nice at this time of year. How about some cranberry and apple sauce that can be used with the turkey? Or homemade sweet mincemeat? If you make a little extra you can put some in some small taster pots and give some to colleagues at work as well as friends.
Homemade Christmas pudding (I’m drooling already) or Christmas cake or Stollen…
Buy a nice Christmas tin and bake some gingerbread biscuits (or something you know the recipient will like). Or fill a tub/ jar with the dry ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies. Or bake some bread. Rum truffles, pork pies…
Galaxy chocolate melted into gingerbread shapes (how about in a Christmas mag with pretty ribbon?).
And above that is a yummy cake I made with sultanas, raisins, currants, apple, mixed spice, Bacardi…maybe a recipe post to follow soon?!!
Can you knit, sew, crochet? The possibilities are endless here as we all well know. How about something for the home like placemats/ coasters, washing bag, or cushion. There is always the usual hats, mittens, socks, shawls, scarves etc. But how about a doorstop or an apron or a blanket?
Christmas is the ideal time to make winter goodies like hot water bottle covers and stockings (big or small) or slippers.
Make your own face scrub from coarse salt and olive oil –add essential oils and package nicely for an exfoliator. Make your own eco-friendly soaps and body washes.
How about making a lantern from old baked beans tins? What about a quilt from old jeans? Candles from old wax crayons. Paint picture frames.
Host a Christmas Crafternoon Tea and make things together.
Make a Christmas hamper for your friends with things they like – a local shop near me called Lewis and Coopers always does nice Christmas hampers. http://www.lewisandcooper.co.uk/store/hampers.asp
How about a trading scheme? I’ll give you one hour if you give me one hour? I’ll teach you to crochet if you teach me to sew? You can make coupons for your friends / kids that are personal. This coupon entitles you to a free drink/ a cake of your choice/ a day out…
Is there anything you can make for charity? Whilst national charities benefit hugely at this time, don’t forget your local ones too.
You don’t need to buy lots of expensive decorations either…the more you have the more you need to store. How about going for a walk and looking for some real holly or ivy or greens? Edible hanging biscuit garlands. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/christmas/6811009/Make-your-own-natural-Christmas-decorations.html
Save space. Save the environment. Save money.
Ooh I’ve got ideas for makes now…just need to consult with some of Santa’s elves now.
Summer? What summer?!!