I am a hoarder. Maybe not a crazy cat lady hoarder who has kept every single newspaper since 1964 but more of a I’ve carted my life around in belongings for the past decade kind of hoarder. I moved out young, lived in several share houses and generally didn’t feel very settled until my (not then) husband and I met, later deciding to take that next step and live together. Years later we are married and have owned our own home for two years. And can I tell you we moved sooo much stuff moving into this house from our old apartment.
Given that buying a house is stressful enough I was not going to start sorting through our accumulated belongings pre an post togetherness. When we unpacked, alot went and over the past two years alot more has also been given away/ gotten rid of. But now we are renovating and to renovate properly it means no longer having full cupboards of ‘I’ll get to that later/don’t know what to do with it/ I might need that one day. We also have limited storage and a little cottage which I like as it makes you really assess every object for its value, usefulness and appeal. And to be honest I want our home to be filled with things we love and use, not crap taking up dead space.
And here’s where I confess what I found we hoarded….
We both had very large collections of clothing. I have spent the last decade atleast working in fashion styling and Mr B was (before I met him) a guy who bought new clothes instead of doing laundry. Mind you at the time he worked at a surf/skate store so it was quality for dirt cheap.
I love kitchen stuff. A lot of it was bought and used at the time or with the excuse of I’ve always wanted to try that. Although now my kitchen may store most of the 200 vintage plates I collected for our wedding I actually use them. And everything now has a proper place.
I studied art, Interior design and theatre. I have alot of stuff from this period but what mostly stood out was the folders upon folders filled with design magazine tears pre Pinterest. These had to go.
My fabric collection, the giant tub of cords belonging to god knows what and the extensive range of toys from My B’s childhood that my Mother In Law decided to keep.
Anyway, you get the idea. Our goal was for a tidy home with only what we loved and needed. In the process of sorting and culling we found we had made up storage solutions to store all of the stuff we didn’t want and need for the sake of having it. We removed a large chest of draws and two sidetables from our bedroom. A buffet from the lounge and seats from the dining area. The bedrooms no longer have piles of crap in them and our cupboards are no longer brimming with crap and are nicely organised. But I’ll be honest, as I get to the end of it. It was hard work. It was time consuming and tiresome and emotionally draining. So I though I would share how we did it.
Sorting through your life is daunting and I can easily see how people become hoarders wether they know it or not. I think we were accidental hoarders. To make the job seem less overwhelming and to get Mr B onboard I would focus on a shelf or a draw or a cupboard at a time.
WHAT YOU NEED
Garbage Bags for rubbish
Bags or Boxes to put things in to be donated or given away
A Large Plastic Tub or Box to empty draws ect into
Cleaning Supplies spray n wipe, cloths, a bucket with warm water and soap, vacuum.
Enlist a Friend someone who is honest and will tell you if it is crap and you no longer need it. Perfect if you think you will decide you need to keep everything. Remember to reward your friend for helping by returning the favour or taking them out to lunch afterwards.
Pick your area that you want to sort through. Empty the contents of that draw/shelf into the plastic tub. Clean the area you just emptied, vacuum it out, wipe it out and make sure it’s nice and dry.
Now one thing at a time, take an item from the tub of death and evaluate it.
DO YOU USE IT? Not will you ever use it, or you used to use it, have you used it recently? Very applicable for clothing, does it fit? Do you look good in it? Do you feel good in it?
DO YOU LOVE IT? Does it really make you happy? Is it nice to look at? Does it hold a nice memory for you? I had several grainy photographs of crowds a concerts I had been to, I don’t need to keep an accidental photograph.
DOES IT SERVE A USEFUL PURPOSE?
IS IT JUST JUNK?
IS IT A DOUBLE UP?
And my all time favourite;
IF YOUR HOUSE BURNT DOWN TO THE GROUND WOULD YOU REPLACE IT OR MISS IT?
Once you ask yourself these questions with each item you should have two piles. Stuff you don’t want and stuff you do want.
Let’s start with stuff you don’t want. Anything that is broken and irreparable to be donated or given away THROW OUT. Just junk? THROW IT OUT. Can it be given to someone else and loved? (I gave a lot of unused makeup to a friends younger sisters, unworn shoes to friends and clothes to co workers). Can it be donated? Separate these things, bag them up put a name on them and get them into your car ready to be moved on.
Things you do want. Fix anything that is broken that you have decided to keep. Do it then and there you only have this one spot to focus on today so get it done. Alocate your keepers to a new home, organise things that are like minded together and give them their own space to be always returned to. (I had alot of paperwork in my underwear draw, now everything paperwork related has a filed system in an allocated space in the laundry cupboard.)
And my number one tip? Stay organised, if you go to all this effort take 10 Minutes in the morning and at night to return things to their home. it also makes your weekends a lot nicer because you aren’t spending all of it cleaning.
What do you struggle with when it comes to organising? Or getting rid of things for that matter? Ask in the comments and if I can offer an insight I will.
Happy organising, Nadia. xx