By Hannah Ashwell-Dickinson
Clutter has a way of overwhelming us. It can make us stressed and irritable. It even stops us from moving forward with other things in our lives.
Living with less can change all that.
You know the feeling when you clean out your fridge and you feel like you could take over the world? Imagine that feeling throughout your whole home.
Here are some ways to kick-start an uncluttered life:
Start by discarding items that are chipped, broken or have missing bits. Then identify items that you have multiples of and select some to donate. Who needs three tin openers anyway? You’ve heard the expression ‘life is short, use the fine china’? Get out the items you are saving for ‘best’ and start using them. Finally, create space on your kitchen surfaces by putting away the things you don’t use every day and enjoy a clear, uncluttered space.
Pack up your big winter jumpers and store them away to free up space for the clothes you’ll wear over the warmer weeks. Get winter coats dry-cleaned and store away from everyday use. Pack up winter boots, hats, gloves and store them. Anything wintery that you didn’t get around to wearing this past winter can be donated. When you open your wardrobe, the aim is to find clothes that are suitable for the season—items that you like, and that fit you. Anything else can be stored or decluttered.
Are you feeling the toy overwhelm and have children who seem constantly bored? Summer is a great time to declutter as children spend more time outside. Have a walk around the house and identify toys that your children have outgrown, ones that are broken or are missing bits, and ones that they never play with; consider what you can throw away and what you can donate. Children often play with only a small number of favourite toys and will admit that they are not too bothered about the others. If your children are 4+ now is a great time to start talking about donating toys to children who have less.
Meal planning means less food waste, less stress and spending less money too. Make a list of simple summer meals. Ask your family to get involved and brainstorm their favourite meals too. Then rotate them over a few weeks. Simplifying mealtimes has truly been one of the biggest game-changers for many of the families I work with. Batch cooking your children’s favourite dinners and freezing them means that you have easy meals to grab when the day has been busy.
Can you remove something from your schedule this season that will help reduce stress and feelings of being overwhelmed? Look at the week ahead and identify the things that are on your calendar that you feel obliged to do. For example, do you need to be at that work meeting that your colleague requested you attend? Or, could you drop one after-school activity for your child and go to the park instead? Then see if you can find an hour that is just for you and mark it on the calendar for everyone in the house to see—and make it a regular thing.
For more information on Hannah, please visit: www.declutterwithhannah.com
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