Simplify your life with a good declutter

simplify your lifeI have been doing a mega declutter of the sitting room over the weekend. We have just started a bit of DIY, so it seemed to be the perfect time to get rid of lots of accumulated stuff. It was very cathartic – I love a good declutter!! It made me think how good it is to simplify your life.

How many books can one person read?

Books – we have so many!! Even though I seem to be constantly getting rid of books, they soon find their way back onto the shelves. I have been really brutal this time. We have so many gardening books that neither of us ever read. I have cleared almost all of them.  I got rid of around half of the paperbacks as well.

I kept all of the girls’ Harry Potter books. They are too much a part of their childhood to give away. They still read them now when they come home. I also kept all of my yoga books. I am not teaching currently, but I hope to in the future. I need them for inspiration when I am planning lessons.

I have also kept some classic novels and other books I am likely to come back to. If I am honest, though, I could do without any of them; I just like having a shelf full of books in the house somewhere! I am a part time minimalist…

I read more books on Kindle these days but I still like an actual paper book. I can’t see this every changing but I think you can simplify your life with !

DVDs: a thing of the past?

One of my daughters pointed out that we had a shelf crammed with DVDs but no working DVD player. What madness! They are all in a bag for the charity shop. We watch the TV or Netflix now.

I have kept all of the CDs. We both listen to them in the car and still haven’t got into downloading music to our smart phones. That might be the next task.

Ornaments – who needs them?

I never thought I would be the kind of person who liked ornaments – how trashy! Then I developed an obsession with chickens and, before I knew where I was, I had shelves full of little china chooks. Every Christmas and birthday everyone bought me more. They had to go! I have been slimming them down for some time.

I have also found myself drawn in middle age to a shabby chic look. I am turning into a stereotype… Pretty floral plates vie with teapots, cups and jugs on the shelves of our two dressers. I have also developed a taste for bunting! In the sitting room, these have all been removed. I will keep the dresser in the kitchen but one is enough.

Instead, Mr S is going to put up a couple more shelves and make a cupboard where the dresser was. I have slimmed down the contents by half and will try very hard not to cram the new cupboard with clutter once it is built.

Simplify your life and find some empty shelf space

Also removed from the sitting room – a Wii that hasn’t been used for at least two years, a vintage sewing machine that I plan to sell, an old shredder gathering dust and a big pile of magazines.

The shelves look so empty! I still need to untangle the old DVD player and take that to the tip but other than that I think my decluttering task is complete.

Now the really hard work will start – peeling off the old paper and sanding down the woodwork. Because I am doing a no spend January we are using up the DIY supplies in the shed and won’t be buying any more until next month. This is fine by me. I am not a fan of DIY so happy to take it slowly.

Can you believe it? I have a car full of clutter which I attempted to take to the charity shop after work. They didn’t want it! They said they had too many donations at the moment. I will try somewhere else tomorrow.

It seems we all have too much stuff that we are trying to declutter. What do you do to simplify your life? Are you having a new year declutter?


14 thoughts on “Simplify your life with a good declutter

  1. If you haven’t already got rid of the books and dvds (and wii games, if you’re giving them away), maybe consider Ziffit? – if you download the app onto your mobile you can scan the barcodes in, so it’s really quick. Easy money (not necessarily lots, but more than nothing) and free postage. Also, if you go through tcb or quidco first you can make a tiny bit more 🙂 (Music Magpie is another option, but I find Ziffit accepts more items, usually) x

  2. Well Done! I am being very brutal with my clutter and getting rid – BUT – I cannot bring myself to donate my grown up daughters’ soft toys! Talking about charity shops – I went to a few yesterday and they all had signs on the door telling folk that they weren’t accepting donations for the time being. It seems everyone is having a post Christmas de-clutter – or is it all those unwanted Christmas presents?

  3. Hello, Jane, and it’s good to hear about all your de-cluttering. However … don’t mistake trashy ornaments (and I know exactly what you mean!) for genuine collectables/antiques if you have any. Don’t denude your home of all the things which give it character is what I’m saying. OK, the sitting room isn’t perhaps the best place for an old shredder but books and magazines, cushions, paintings, a few personal pieces (provided they are kept clean and tidy) make a house a home.
    Of course, there are readers and there are book lovers. I read, of course, I do, but I also love books and have many, many hundreds, perhaps thousands of them, but they are kept in order. This is the secret, I think: keeping things tidy and organized, but don’t get rid of all the things just because you’re not using them right now. Where would our historic houses be if every generation ridded the places of clutter? We’d have no antiques, no ephemera, no old photographs, nothing of the past to pass on to the next generation.
    I appreciate in a normal-size house, i.e. 3 or 4 bedrooms with one main living room, it’s not possible to keep everything, but just take care not to chuck out the baby with the bathwater, Jane. De-cluttering is what we’re all advised (nay, told!) to do in January, it’s a common theme in magazines and the features pages of newspapers. I’m for cleaning and tidying, not keeping all the jiffy bags that arrive containing books, or all the Screwfix catalogues that Sir thinks he needs, but not for huge de-clutters which denude our homes of their character and charm.

      • Glad to hear it Jane, that you’re not getting rid of anything really good. Of course, not all antiques are good, some are tat; it doesn’t always follow that if something is over 100 years old (the definition of an antique) it is good. Many things were made, just as they are today, for people simply to buy and fill up their homes with, such things as Staffordshire flat-backs, which the growing middle-classes would buy to sit on their mantelpieces. In Victorian times, having a lot of ‘stuff’ indicated that you had spare cash to buy it, so weren’t on the poverty line, hence the over-stuffed Victorian parlours of the growing middle-classes. I agree we don’t need all the things we tend to keep, and perhaps it was time for your chickens to go.
        Margaret P

  4. I need to go through downstairs cupboards and drawers and get rid of the stuff jammed into them. I don’t like much visual clutter but pile it up behind closed doors and drawers instead!!
    We also brought back a lot from when we were clearing mother-in-laws house a year ago, so that needs thinking about. I know there is a set of wild bird mugs, that we’ll never use so they can go. I’m sometimes guilty of finding myself thinking “it’s too nice to give to the charity shop” but what a Victorian thought!! Just because people can’t or don’t want to pay the full price doesn’t mean they should just have tat to choose from!

      • Can’t be bothered with all the hassle involved in selling stuff.
        I pass the charity shop each week when I get the groceries, so it’s easy enough to fill my wheelie bag with stuff to donate, before refilling it with the groceries!

  5. What about freecycle? Most areas have one. Benefits whoever wants your stuff comes and collects it. Or offer on facebook if you ‘do’ facebook, again people will collect.

  6. I declutter every winter and took a trolley full to charity shop yesterday. She nearly didn’t take it but then inspected the items and said ok. I think the town centre doesn’t get so many donations as the out of town shops which have car parks. I am hoping to move to a smaller home this year so need to keep up the decluttering. It does make me feel good.

  7. I tend to do a declutter before Christmas of my two boys’ rooms not after. Luckily they are getting to an age where they are not wanting lots of what you could call toys. I have mentioned in my latest blog post that they were both given a new axe this year; they can’t help chop logs and kindling if they are fighting over Jon’s axe! I regularly take things to charity shops, at least once a month, when things like the boys’ clothes become too small. Also we have the Bags for School arrangement once a year where we can raise money for school by taking unwanted clothes etc. We are lucky that as a family we don’t really have too much trouble getting rid of things when they really are not wanted. What I do throw out and replace is crockery; I would rather have an old, interesting looking bowl, terrine, plate etc than something just plain white.

  8. I moved 2 years ago into a very tiny cottage. I could have started my own second hand shop with all of the “stuff” that I had to dispose of, but instead the local charity shops got almost everything, but my box of yoga philosophy books, plus yoga dvds, went to a friend who had never had enough spare cash to buy any. Now I am moving again, and sharing a home with someone else, and the clearout has started again…….

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