Decluttering and why it’s good for your health

A clean sweep. A fresh start. A new beginning.

Advocates of regular de-cluttering say that staying organised in your home is good for our health.

Being constantly tidy and avoiding the build-up of clutter leads to a more relaxed life. Certainly, it removes the need for the time-consuming task of sorting through belongings and deciding what to do with them before either putting them away or getting rid of them.

Do you enjoy having a clear out? If not the actual work, perhaps you feel a sense of gratification at the finished result?

Before moving to a new house, having a clear out is essential. It may at first feel like hard work but most people express a feeling of relief, catharsis, a job well done. Some people even find it inspires them to change or start something new because something from the past sparked an idea.

Let go of your old possessions

This may be the only time you thoroughly go through all your possessions. When you do, you may find it brings a mix of emotions. There will be cherished memories – the ones you wish to keep. And there may be reminders of a past you are ready to let go. De-cluttering is a way of letting go the past to enjoy being in the present moment.

Holding on to possessions is something which takes place gradually. It starts by putting things to one side for the short term when you see a use for it. Then it gets forgotten and that temporary storage becomes a hoard. When clearing out, you may remember your original reason for keeping it, and think the same thought. Don’t be tempted.

Make a rule and stick to it.

If you haven’t used something for one year or more, let it go.

If ever you find yourself tempted to keep it, think of this. Imagine unpacking all your belongings in your new place. Will you really want to keep everything you’ve taken? When you move into a brand-new house, you’ll find your old possessions much less appealing. What you don’t want to do is to waste time on a second clear out of things you may never use.

You’ll feel happier knowing all your possessions are in the right place and to hand when you need them.

Clearing out your wardrobe

How many times have you attempted to clear out your wardrobe only to get rid of fewer items than you’d planned. You put everything back and wonder why you’ve created no more space.

Take everything out and keep to your 12-month rule. Which of your clothes, suits, bags, shoes, accessories and personal bits and bobs have you worn in the last year? Which ones are you like to wear during the next year? If it’s summer and you’re looking at winter clothes, will you wear them next season? Or will you go shopping for new items? You may need different kinds of clothes for your different lifestyle. Perhaps you will join a rambling club and need walking boots, coat, and protective clothing for severe weather conditions.

Collections

Do you have dozens of books and CDs? Do you need them, or would it be better to stream your music through your phone or home pod using online services? Why not catalogue your CDs, books and vinyl and have the media available to you anywhere on any device whether you’re at home, in the car or away – letting technology work its magic for you. Keep the 5 you cherish most – the LP whose cover artwork you’ve always admired or that special edition CD or hardback book. Keep them in a special place when you move.

Email inboxes and computer files

Phones and computers easily fill up into disorderly chaos. De-cluttering email inboxes and folders on your hard drive helps make it easier when you need to find something important. Reorganise your folders with titles which help you locate information more easily.

Thanks to the digital age we all take many more photos than we ever used to. It’s now so easy to snap away taking numerous pictures and instantly share them. Keep only your favourites and label them. How many times have you recently looked at all your photos? If you still have old photographs you want to take with you, remove them and store them in boxes to save space.

Experts say a build up of excess clutter risks affecting our mental health and it’s worth devoting the time to a thorough clear out of anything you don’t need.

Allocate a set time each week or make a list and focus on one drawer or shelf at a time. As soon as you start, you’ll feel refreshed and a little unburdened. Moving day will be easier. And as you sit down with your first glass of fizz to celebrate your new home, you’ll be happy and comfortable knowing everything is in its place.

Happy moving.

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