emmelinewe

January 2016 decluttering challenge!

Emmeline Westin
5 years ago
last modified: 3 years ago

Who's in? What are you going to declutter? Make your plan here and report back on your progress!



Comments (61)

  • PRO
    Pat Oliver Interior Design
    5 years ago

    After the Christmas decorations are back in the loft, I plan to tackle my office. There are loads of old brochures and catalogues that will be cleared out and sent to the recycling bin. Also to go are art supplies that I no longer use like rapidographs (showing my age) and some markers.

    When shelves are clear, I will gather all the folders and boxes and store in a cabinet, newly painted.

    Finally, the desk area will be reorganised. Then it's back to work, designing for others.

  • Laraine Clarke
    5 years ago
    I can identify with Alison. we moved back to England from France and downsized too. We then had he house we bought remodeled, I put lots of stuff in the loft waiting to see what would fit in the new house. We are nearly there now and we are determined to clear the loft and perhaps do some car boot sales and charity shops. I'm dreading it, but am determined mm
  • silyab53
    5 years ago

    Started the HUGE declutter, with the help of a (paid) friend. She said I seemed to be moving things from one room to another!!! Restart this week, with renewed vigour, conviction and determination to get the job done, BUT - so much somehow found it's way into the loft!!! Oh dear....will keep you posted.

  • PRO
    Revive Your Space
    5 years ago
    As a Professional Organiser, I'm often asked about the state of my own house! Well, I am having my own post-Christmas declutter! I confess to having stashed random bits in boxes and hid them away before guests arrived(!) so now I need to fish the boxes out. I'm going to sort through each box one at a time, in the (now clear!) space in the spare room. My favourite charity is collecting bags from our house tomorrow so I have a deadline to work to. Good luck everyone!
  • Clare Ross
    5 years ago

    Clare, Before Christmas we've been doing a lot of decorating around the home and some still in process, so I have already started to declutter a while ago. I'm sticking with the Industrial look, so I'm only keeping what fits into that look and buying new items to suit, which I will keep forever more. The trouble is once you start decluttering in one room, it over spills into the rest of the house, but this is not a bad thing. If feels good to get rid of things you don't use or doesn't fit into your home, but also good to buy new things that can offer you better storage and make you more organised. My decluttering has only just begun!

  • Rosie G
    5 years ago
    We moved house from an over filled 4 bed Edwardian house to a rented 2.5 bed modern house. In the previous ten years I'd acquired lots of furniture from my Mum's house and a new husband (2 bed flat worth of stuff!). So we had some serious clearing out to do! Our rule was if it doesn't fit in the rental house, get rid of it. We feel great having done it! Amazing how all this stuff weighs you down.
  • Sarah Sinclair
    5 years ago
    Betty and Sandra, sympathise! In much the same boat, need to declutter to get big house sold in sluggish market and move to bungalow, but both me and husband old and not very fit. Wish we'd done it years ago, but hey-Ho, wish us luck!
  • Betty Davies
    5 years ago

    Sarah, I've got ten days left now. On my own now and disabled too. Mind is very sharply focussed! Looking at stuff with different eyes.

  • aoibheann1
    5 years ago

    Sarah, Betty and Sandra, I hear you! We downsized to a small bungalow and I have a garage full of 'stuff'. For instance, I have collections of china and glass which I have no space for anymore, are valueless in today's climate yet I spent a lot of money collecting and can't let go. My furniture doesn't suit the new house (boring brown furniture) and I should replace everything. I have too many clothes for my wardrobe, too many books, cds etc. It feels like a little death to get rid of so many of my things.

  • minnie101
    5 years ago

    My husband has a plan for us to tidy/declutter literally every cupboard in the new ŷear :( I admit our house would on the face of it always appears spotlessly tidy and clutter free but the cupboards are another story with random bits all over the place...Most of it isn't clutter tbh but more total disorganisation in it's worse form. I have been shamed many a time by guests opening drawers or cupboards! Not so long ago I had friends stay, I'd left towels on a chair in the bedroom which they clearly missed and they then used my dirty towel from the bathroom cupboard! The shame and no I haven't got told them yet! ( I should say btw it was on a different shelf to the piles of clean towels and I'd put it there just before they arrived!) Anyway stage 1 was accomplished last weekend. The previous house owner had left numerous pairs of good quality curtains which were really long and all interlined with pelmets etc which took up 90% of my airing cupboard. I tried selling them to a curtain exchange when we first moved in and also giving to charity but didn't have any luck. Finally I advertised them for free on streetlife last week and they went within minutes so I now have an airing cupboard for the 1st time! Next on the list are 2 under stairs cupboards where I normally keep xmas trees and decorations (obviously not together as would be sensible!) amongst other things! My husband won't let me put the xmas stuff away until the cupboards are sorted so I now have a dining room filled with bits of trees and a spare room filled with boxes of decorations (actually very neatly organised and bubble wrapped!), charity bits and stuff for the tip which is driving me mad already as I hate the mess! Rather weirdly my husband loves sorting cupboards. I think the problem is he does a 90% perfect job and then leaves the remaining stuff just lying around to sort whenever. That drives me mad so I then go around picking it all up and putting it in various cupboards and drawers wherever they'll fit so we just go back to square 1 again!!

  • alant1000
    5 years ago
    I need to declutter my garage - mission accepted.
    I'm a bit weird about hoarding things like brackets and nearly empty paint pots. Time for some serious brutal chucking out. I just need to make sure I don't go too far and create a 'minimalist modernist' garage interior with nothing in it!
  • kr4eshun
    5 years ago
    I started with kitchen and got rid of old pots, utensils and plastic containers....never realised how much I collected! Then going on to cupboard on landing as there is stuff that I have not seen in 1 year so can't be that important. Then bathroom, bedroom, underbed storage and finally getting rid of unnecessary documents and papers!
  • chris
    5 years ago

    Will start tomorrow with paperwork in my bedroom and take it from there throughout the house, attic, garage and garden. It is a massive project but I vow to get rid of at least one item every day.

  • Betty Davies
    5 years ago

    Biggest problem is my 20years plus craft hoard. Have started to box up but it is pushing my anxiety level very high as I'm worried I will never find anything again. I could always find what I needed really easily but if it is all in a loft which has to be accessed via a loft ladder I feel I will never see it again. Have thrown some away

  • kr4eshun
    5 years ago

    All of you guys have made me smile. I can see the common denominator between us all is that we are on a mission in 2016 and I can relate to you all @ Alan your comments about making sure not too go too far in your quest for minimalism made me chuckle because I last year in one of my decluttering fits I shredded money in my eagerness to get rid of the mounds of papers...so be careful...It wasn't so funny at the time but I can laugh now...ha! ha! @ rosiehopehouse less is more... less stuff weighing you down will no doubt give you a feeling of lightness @ Betty, Sandra and Lou thank you for your likes. I have enjoyed reading your experiences in your quest to declutter. Have a happy and a decluttered 2016 and beyond to you all. Finally thank you Emmeline for proposing the challenge.

  • turquoisetree53
    5 years ago

    Betty, just remember that stuff you send to charity shop will get discovered, loved and re-used by someone else. It's what I am comforting myself in downsizing to a 1-bed flat....losing a lot of books which have travelled with me for over 40 years, as well as my Great Aunt's embroidery silks !

  • Betty Davies
    5 years ago

    Dear turquoise, yes that's just what I'm doing. Hundreds of books have already gone. It's the " brown furniture" that won't fit in my new home which is upsetting. A huge solid mahogany dining table in immaculate condition. Ah well, you don't live your life for a dining table.

  • asaulnier1
    5 years ago

    This morning's task was to go through the Christmas cards, and update my annual list with new addresses, names, births, deaths, etc. Then the cards go to recycling. I keep photos of kids' friends etc. in a keepsake box along with photo thank you letters from them. I don't keep Round Robin letters, but I will read them one more time before they are recycled.

    All Done. It only takes 30 minutes or so, but the relief of not having the cards cascading over the kitchen table again and again is great!


  • asaulnier1
    5 years ago

    Today and tomorrow's task is to declutter our bedroom. I think it's beginning to affect my sleep, going to bed and waking up to clutter/mess. Floordrobe syndrome has set in, and the corner with the perpetual overflowing ironing basket has become a no go area and is depressing to see every day. Using your tips I read last night, I am going to use a small bedroom chair each for our clothes, the rest have to go to the laundry, or hung/folded away. Ironing pile will be taken to utility room, where I hope to have the ironing board set up constantly, so I can do a quick 20 minute spree now and again, rather than be overwhelmed by 2-3 hours' worth.

    Tiny steps and all that.

  • Trisha Goodwin
    5 years ago

    I declutter regularly, as love to reorganise things! The Christmas stuff has gone away in boxes now the guests have gone home, I have taken tree down etc today and need to clean through/tidy the house as how viewing from possible buyers in 2 days time! Needs to look appealing post Christmas, so back to boxes to get "interesting things out" that still look cheerful after Christmas. With two couples waiting to sell before buying ours, I have to keep an eye on what to keep in storage and what not to beyond the present period as well, as could have to move within weeks once everything gets going; here is Scotland everything goes through faster. A bit of a balancing act at the moment.

  • chris
    5 years ago

    My living room is an oasis of calm in my very cluttered home. I want to achieve a similar feeling throughout the house but have too many things. Went out today, instead of beginning the project. Am having improvements to my kitchen so at least I will be forced into clearing that. Will attempt the paperwork tomorrow. Sure you will have your home looking lovely for your viewers. Good luck with your house sale.

  • denise7125
    5 years ago
    I'm about to start the annual clear out...how can so much Tupperware end up without a matching lid?! I spent a couple of days helping out people in my village who were flooded and to see people's collections having to be skipped because of water damage or contamination from the river has put things in perspective for me. They just got on with it because there was no choice so if they can cope then so can I. Heartbreaking though, it's amazing how attached we can get to our stuff
  • PRO
    All Organised
    5 years ago

    Hi Betty, Have you thought about maybe sorting your craft into categories so that you have a small selection of everything you need accessible and then putting the rest into storage so you can replenish your supplies as you use the stored stock? Also, there are some companies who will up cycle furniture, i.e. they will paint it for you; it may then fit comfortably within a more contemporary setting. If anyone has hit a "decluttering road block" and needs a little advice we will be very happy to answer any questions. Heidi & Nicki

  • Betty Davies
    5 years ago

    Thanks All Organised, Have already filled a garage sized storage unit. ( Another long story). If I could fit in the furniture I would but I'm going to a small bungalow from a four storey house. The scale is completely different. Am planning to up cycle a couple of things. Craft stuff is more or less sorted but will be in loft to start with which will not be very accessible for me. Your comments are very helpful. Thank you.

  • PRO
    Free Your Space
    5 years ago

    I'm a Professional Organiser too and have just packed away my Christmas decorations. This year I decided to store them so next year I can find them in the order I need them (see pic)


    I set myself a big challenge this year- going through all my non-digital photos & digitising the important ones. (Last year I went through my digital pics & set up a simple chronological filing system).
    Good luck everyone- decluttering makes a massive difference to reducing stress & overwhelm!

  • PRO
    Ensign Accessories
    5 years ago

    I love de-cluttering, and would happily do it for anyone. A big trick for anyone who hates throwing away is to pack "stuff" away in boxes, put them away - garage,loft, another room, anywhere for 6 months. If you cannot remember what is in the boxes after this time, - you do not need it!!! We all keep bits and pieces "just in case" and that day seldom comes, but we still keep the bits. Do the de-cluttering on a day when you are in a positive mood, and spend the whole day. After a while you will actually enjoy it. Have several bags - charity shop, re-sale, skip. Good luck - you will feel so much better afterwards, and you will be able to find other things.

  • asaulnier1
    5 years ago

    Sarah Bickers - great minds think alike! Last year, I put the decorations into boxes by room (we have a large victorian house, thus three Christmas trees!) eg. sitting room, dining room, hall, study, outside, advent (includes strings and pegs for hanging Christmas cards up as they arrive = less clutter on surfaces). And what a difference it made this year in terms of speed, tidiness and ease. Also means if needed, I can just do one room. I also have a Miscellaneous Decs box for odds and ends - each year, I will get rid of a bit more from this, as we don't use them. And the boxes are clear plastic (easy to see what's inside), with good fitting lids, to stop the mice getting in and chewing and weeing on the decs, like a few years ago!

    AND as the boxes are nearly full, I know NOT TO BUY ANY MORE decorations.

  • kazza_hayward
    5 years ago

    As William Morris said "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." It's a good rule to live by if you can.

  • Gerry Rust
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I'm loving the comments in this thread, which are very inspiring. I plan to sell my house this year and move my worldly goods (which are pretty numerous) and my workshop (which is even more cluttered) and I don't know what terrifies me more! I have already tried to declutter the house so I can really relate to Minnie101 regarding a fairly ordered house but very scary cupboards ;) but when it comes to work I am a terrible hoarder. I have bits of broken furniture, piles of wood and other miscellaneous items that I keep because I'm convinced I can upcycle them into something but, as my partner keeps pointing out, it's hardly cost effective to transport a lot of rubbish halfway across the country 'just in case'! If only I didn't always find a week after ruthlessly culling my 'collections' that I really, really NEED something I threw away :D

  • PRO
    Free Your Space
    5 years ago

    Gerry- I talk about this a LOT with my decluttering clients- we are all tempted to keep things 'just in case'. One of the issues is how we deal with it when we have thrown something out we subsequently miss. To address 'just in case' we could be a little kinder and more forgiving to ourselves and accept this WILL happen occasionally and that we are resourceful enough to deal with it. You could take an intermediate step and decide to cull the tiny pieces which wouldn't cost too much- or the big pieces which take up the space. It's all about re-visiting the decision-making process you use.

    The logical consequence of following 'just in case' is that you keep pretty much everything, which means a steady accumulation of stuff (and inability to find things which means you buy duplicates!)

    Good luck with your move- it's a great trigger to think more deeply about what you keep and why!

  • Betty Davies
    5 years ago

    Free your space- wish I'd realised this sooner, not 5 days before I move.

  • PRO
    Ensign Accessories
    5 years ago

    Betty Davies - how I wish people would also do this BEFORE they even think of moving. They often find that freed of all this clutter, their requirements for their next abode changes.

  • PRO
    Free Your Space
    5 years ago

    Betty Davies- I think most people feel that way! But hopefully you can take some time when you moving in decluttering again as you unpack and find spaces for everything. I helped my parents declutter two years ago- we probably decluttered a third of their belongings (respecting their limits of course), but once they'd moved in they realised that they needed to be more ruthless and probably got rid of another third!
    Moving really sharpens the mind and I wish you a successful unpacking. Don't beat yourself up as you unpack stuff you realise you don't need- just take the time to re-evaluate how you want to live in this new home. Onwards and upwards!

  • Betty Davies
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I'm having to get rid of three quarters. Problem one, my now deceased husband's huge collection of stunning prints. He was a well known amateur photographer who had several solo exhibitions during his lifetime. He also had a huge collection of over 40,000 negatives. Unfortunately they are not catalogued as he always moved on to the next project. Problem two, he lived here for 45 years and I did for 22 years. Problem three, I'm going into a small two bed roomed bungalow from a four storey four bed roomed Victorian semi with attic and cellar. For the last 45 years I have always lived in a four storey house. In the bungalow there is nowhere to hide stuff. It is a challenge and I'm looking forward to a simpler life.

    The other problem is that as a second wife I have his sons to deal with. Don't want to be accused of getting rid of something I shouldn't. Even selling the house has not gone down well in some quarters.

    It will happen though.

    Got rid of literally hundreds of books.

  • Sandra Rickard
    5 years ago
    I have been decluttering before I put my previous house up for sale, after I sold and after I moved. I have been a hoarder and still need to declutter more. After reading everyone's comments I realise that I need to be more ruthless and not to keep too much 'just in case'. Space costs money and you can't see the beauty and usefulness in the things you have if you have too much clutter. Can't see the wood for the trees comes to mind. This is a journey for me and made all the more difficult by my long term illness and the need for me to pace myself all the time. I feel I need to prioritise and take a small amount at a time. For every item I get rid of I am nearer my goal. Wish me luck and I will keep you posted on my progress.
  • chris
    5 years ago

    Decluttering going slowly. But I do have a small pile to take to charity shop tomorrow. Paperwork still on hold. I keep going out rather than concentrating on task in hand.

  • PRO
    Free Your Space
    5 years ago

    Betty, it sounds as if you've done an amazing job! What did you do with the negatives? I know there are companies who can convert negatives to digital. I agree, working with others differing views is always a challenge but it sounds like you're nearly there...
    Sandra, if you find letting go of things tricky join the majority of the population- most of us have stuff we hold on to. Doing it in stages as you have done so far is actually the best way in that situation, start easy & go deeper (and get support from a non-judging sensitive friend or a Professional Organiser for the really tricky stuff.) Decluttering does get easier with practice as you make shifts in your thinking- change is definitely possible!
    Best wishes with your journey...


  • PRO
    Ensign Accessories
    5 years ago

    Betty - I was in just the same position when it came to disposing of my late husbands belongings - there were, again, his 4 children to consider. He had over 2,000 books, and dozens of boat paintings - none of which interested me. I gave all the children a chance to have anything they wanted of his possessions- needless to say they only wanted one item each. The remainder were either sold easily, or donated to charity shops for someone else to enjoy. I also had the unenviable task of disposing of my (hoarder) mothers possessions. We had a house sale one day, sold 50%, and threw the rest away. Whilst the possessions had sentimental value to her, they were literally rubbish to everyone else. This is why I keep a very careful check on what I keep, as if anything happens to me (or us), I do not want others sifting through our sentimental belongings and then throwing them. Sometimes keeping one sentimental keepsake is more important than piles of them.

  • Betty Davies
    5 years ago

    Have to say thanks to everyone in this discussion. Helped me realise I am not alone. Don't think I could afford what it would cost to digitise 40,000 negatives. Geoff had done quite a lot himself and published two books on blurb of some of his best images. The prints are exhibition quality and there are hundreds. Created a memory box for all the bits and bobs, letters etc. It is only small and has solved a big problem, where to keep all those special things that give you comfort.

    His work is a different category as it has significance to the locality. He was president of the local documentary photography group and president of local camera club. He specialised in street photography and was admired by many including Denis Thorpe who was staff photographer for the Guardian for many years so I can't just get rid of it. I have had many requests for copies but not had chance yet to crystallise my thoughts. Storing it in a warehouse warehouse had given me chance to defer my decisions and get on with downsizing. I am lucky enough to be able to afford that.

  • PRO
    All Organised
    5 years ago

    So glad to hear that this has made things a bit easier for you Betty. You are very definitely not alone!

    Once you have settled and things are a little less frantic for you it could be that some of the local historical societies may be interested in the images. It is often easier to part with possessions when you know someone else is going to have joy or use from them. We often find it difficult to discard a sentimental item as the item is perceived as triggering the memory; but the memories are truly stored in our heads and hearts.

  • Betty Davies
    5 years ago

    Local History societies in Bolton have tremendous storage problems as does the central library. As someone who has worked for Bolton libraries and the British Library I know about storage problems. Would go for The National Media Museum but I've been behind the scenes there and know you have to be in the very high echelons to warrant space there. If you are interested In seeing where my problem lies look on blurb uk for Geoff Davies Photographs. My problem is there isn't just a "sentimental " attachment there is a community responsibility.

  • ehowick
    5 years ago

    Update to my last message 8 days ago - utility room is now done & looks great! I don't think its been this clear since we moved in 5 years ago. I actually have a completely clear worktop to deal with the laundry - amazing! The study is next... Getting updates on this thread over the past week has kept me motivated - thanks all & good luck with your de-cluttering!

  • PRO
    LOVEDECORATELETTERS
    5 years ago

    Everyone must be doing this because I tried to take 5 bags of stuff to 3 different opshops today and all of them said they weren't taking any donations due to too much stock! With the help of my kids (some more than others) I'm attempting to declutter the kids wardrobes and rooms. On Monday I bought my daughter a new bed on ebay ($50!) and it's being delivered Thursday. That has given us a big impetus to rework her room where the baby-sized furniture no longer works (she has almost finished primary school). Am feeling quietly confident we might have it all done by the time school goes back!

  • Emmeline Westin
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    How did you all do? I cleared out my wardrobe (bye bye clothes I never wear!) and tidied the kitchen cupboard. On to the next task for February!

  • teenytinyhouse
    5 years ago
    I'm finding all these responses very inspiring, keep them coming! 5 loads to the charity shop, some extremely lovely binmen who took the massive stack of boxes that wouldn't fit in the recycling bin, and many, many freecycle sessions. A friend is taking my old sofa. Another the massive box of energy saver lightbulbs I've been sent by the energy company over the years. The aim is to have half empty cupboards too. Though I do find tackling one zone at a time best, or I run out of steam!

    When the weather improves, the shed will be next... (dons hard hat and boots!)
  • Betty Davies
    5 years ago

    In answer to the question Emmeline posed " How did we all do?"I have moved and am now living in my not quite completed renovation with lots of packed boxes. Have decided more must go. Furniture that is just too big for a start. When I get to the warehouse unit again I've decided to get rid of a good bit of stuff there because what I would make selling it would not cover the cost of storage. Prints and negatives will be stored in my loft which has been altered and shelving has been installed. Am hampered by the fact that I don't drive so have to rely on others to take me to the warehouse unit.

  • turquoisetree53
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    well done Betty, sounds like you are thinking and acting clearly. is it too expensive to get a taxi to and from the warehouse. if it speeds up your decision-making on getting rid of costly storage on items, it might be a cost-effective expenditure..

  • Betty Davies
    5 years ago

    Have considered a taxi but will wait until I've got more sorted here. Am enjoying seeing all the plants coming through in the garden at the moment. All my married life I've never had much of a garden. Lots of snowdrops and early crocus plus hellebores all in flower. Daffodils coming on and irises. Rhododendrons covered in buds. Birds fluttering around too. Lovely.

  • turquoisetree53
    5 years ago

    What a delightful description Betty. Nature's just marvellous, and the more we observe and appreciate, really the more wondrous it becomes. And isn't it a treat to benefit from (and appreciate and give thanks to) the previous gardener's planting too! Maybe time to hang a bird nut/feeder out too, so you get all that bustling Springtime bird chatter? I used to have a pair of wrens nesting in the hedge facing my kitchen. Darlings.

  • silyab53
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I'm back - lots of 'stuff' went to charity, house looking better but still a loft full! That will change as I'm selling loads to support both my Church funds and a children's charity which I'm cutting off my hair for!!!

    They make wigs for children who've lost hair due to cancer. I've got about 10 inches so far and I'm hosting a supper, auction and haircut night in the spring - want to grow a couple of inches more for 2 wigs. It costs the charity £350 per wig so need twice that & I'll be a happy shorthaired bunny.

    My paid helper is a little prone to not quite finishing jobs so next week it's that, then up in the loft to have a good sort. I WAS a compulsive shopper - she's put paid to that and made me see sense - so all of my beautiful items, brand new, tags on, have to go!!!!! Cathartic or what!

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