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Monday, March 18, 2013

Our Simple De-Cluttering System

I have written a year or two ago that I aim for simplicity. Since then I filter what comes in and out of our lives and at the same I have become more vigilant in de-cluttering not just material things but habits that never do us good.

The road to simplicity is a journey. It is a process, a paradigm shift, a lifestyle choice. One of the ways to live simply is to get rid of clutter. At home, we try to find systems on how to not accumulate things we don't need which later on becomes clutter.

Our simple system includes:

1.) Mini de-cluttering sessions every weekend. This involves getting rid of things on the interim like newspapers, food inside the fridge, mails, bills, etc. I set aside about one to two hours for this on a Sunday afternoon.

2.) Major de-cluttering sessions every quarter. This involves going inside closets, organising clothes, shoes; getting rid of things we don't need; revisiting book shelves, etc. This usually eats up a whole weekend for the Husband and I. 

3.) Taking note of expiry dates of toiletries, cosmetics and food. We put labels on things that have expiry dates and arrange them on the shelf were we can see them all the time. We follow the FIFO principle (first in, first out).

4.) We avoid collecting items. We do keep some things we like but we make sure not to overdo it. Space inside the home becomes a concern whenever I think of collecting stuff so we keep things to a minimum and manageable number. We're a bit lenient though when it comes to books because the Husband and I love to read and books are important to us (We have resorted to e-books to keep from buying too many books). 
I'm sharing our simple system to you because two weekends ago, the Husband and I had a super major de-cluttering session. It was doubly-major because other than a quarterly de-clutter session, we also had in mind that we are travelling soon and we had to make space for some things we might buy during travel.

So I started with toiletries and cosmetics on Saturday. This was a pretty easy task as I only have few cosmetics now. 

The following day, we spent 8 hours sorting out clothes into three categories: (1) for charity (2) to be "vacuumed" up and (3) to be brought out for the Autumn and Winter season. This was a big task as we had to let go of about 25 kilos of clothes. We had to vacuum up a few clothes we didn't want to part with such as shirts that have cool graphics in it. I plan to someday make an artwork or quilt out of them. 

On Monday (I took a day-off to finish everything), I took the task of de-cluttering our pantry. This took me about 2 hours.

It was an exhausting weekend but the Husband and I were proud of ourselves to be able to let of some things most dear to us. There will always be a sentimental part of us when we let go of clothes and shoes because they remind us of happy memories but we get courage from the fact that we want a clutter-free home.

The thing with de-cluttering is it's not enough that you organise your things, it's also a matter of cleaning the space and putting systems in place so that you have a home where you can easily find things. That is also one of my premise on living simply, that is having a system that is friendly and doesn't make your life complicated.

De-cluttering is an art of letting go and living simply.