On my Facebook page ,Kashering Your Life, I have posted my new decluttering project. My bead room! I make and sell jewellery, as well as teach a jewellery class once a week. A couple of months ago I moved my work area to another location in my house and just never unpacked it all properly. I have tons of beads and just about all the accessories that go with it.
The mess in there has stolen my inspiration. I have not made a new piece that wasn’t comissioned since I moved the beads! I mostly sell the jewellery I make online and, to keep orders coming in, you need to put new stock into it at least twice a week. Any shop owner will tell you this. To counteract the clutter and to be able to find what I need for the class, I have learned to put the most important components into a bag that I unpack and pack after each weekly group. As the ladies get better at their jewellery techniques and will need less guidance, I want to use that time to create inventory.
Decluttering any part of your house is sometimes an overwheliming task. This is usually because most of us try to do it all at once. For people who are not naturally inclined to organisation, this causes more mess than anything else and then if you have a domstic worker, she gives you a shake of her head and tidies up in your wake!
Your domestic cannot be expected to declutter your house as she does not know what things are important to you or not. Items like accounts and receipts that may later be used for your tax return. A scrap of paper with a number written on it. An article in the paper. She can however, help you stay organised (and keep it that way), once you have decluttered and your systems are up and running. In fact she might even thank you for this as her work becomes a little easier.
So how do you begin?
As I have said, there are hundreds of blogs available and I follow/read probably all of them. Some are extreme minimalistic but almost all are American.
Here I have included ideas that will work for our South African homes, whether you have domestic help full-time, part time or none at all.
My way is a combination of a few ideas that I liked and think they will work for me.
I found a 4 box method, that I am beginning to use:
One box is trash with a dustbin bag in it. I also separate paper for recycling as part of the trash. Not only are you doing something for the environment, but you are helping the men walking the streets, collecting papers, make some money.
The next box is the donation box. The donation box has a few options. I am keeping some things to split between Yad Aharon and CHOC charity shop for them to sell. One decluttering blog suggests giving away one item per day, I am not going do this one as I am at work most of the day, but it might be something to consider. Choose one item (or more)to give away and put it in your car, as you drive around during your day, pick a person on the street and give it to them, clothes, childrens toys, books, stationary and even an old bag or backpack are all good items to give.
The next box is the jumble sale box. “One persons trash is another persons treasure”, the saying goes. I have planned my jumble sale for December as I mentioned in a previous post, this will give me time to clear a lot of rooms ,as well as price the items. A jumble sale does not only have to be clothes, it can be kitchen items, old working and non working electronics (remember to label them if they don’t work), old books.
Just remember, items over 25 years old are often considered vintage, iconic clothes, accessories and electronics especially. Everything else is just old (e.g. a paisley shirt is vintage – a plain white shirt is old). If you think something is vintage look it up on ebay or get it valued before you put it in the jumble sale. Items with designer labels are better off being sold on ebay, if you want to, at least get some of the money back you spent on it. For example, you cannot have a jacket at a jumble sale for the price of R200, people won’t buy it, but you can get that amount selling it on ebay or OLX. Anything that is left over from the jumble sale must be donated or given away within that week, otherwise it just becomes clutter again. The problem with the jumble and donate boxes is where to keep them, as they are actually also just clutter. I have a store room outside and that is where the boxes are or you can put them in the garage.
The trash box and the keep box are emptied after each session, the trash obviously out the door, the keep box to the rooms in which the items really belong .
The first thing I learned is never to try do an entire room or cupboard at once, this just makes piles of things, as I mentioned in the beginning of this post. I work full day and am too tired when I come home to take on another 2 or 3 hours of work and so the clutter has multiplied over the years.
Number one tip, only declutter for 15 minutes per day. Everyone has 15 minutes available. The first 10 is for the actual sorting, the last 5 is the clean up. How easy is that? Yes I will not have my house clean in a hurry but it will get done!
Another great tip is to take a black bag and wander through your house, room by room, only looking for trash to throw out. When your black bag is full, you are done for the day. If you need to repeat it a few more times then do so. I thought about how to adapt it for South Africa and came up with this solution. You can do this with jumble/ donation as well and you can also do this with the help of your domestic, your husband or your kids. Each person gets a bag, you see something to donate,the person holding the donation bag, puts it in, if you see something that is trash, then it goes to the person holding the trash bag. Don’t dig through piles to find stuff, it will just distract you and take too long. If there is some doubt about whether to keep or donate, leave it till you begin your formal declutter. (I will discuss ‘keep or donate’ in a later blog).
Now to keep it going! Set up some sort of system to keep from acquiring new clutter. We have implemented a box for the post, a box for papers (go through those at least once a week but preferably daily).
My two younger girls suggested a box for each member of the family. When you find something in the wrong place put it in that family members box and they are responsible for taking it to the right place. If it has not been cleared by the end of the week, it either goes to trash or is donated.
If you have a domestic worker, she could easily sort this on her daily cleaning round. I don’t mean she must put it away for the person (unless you want her to) but that she puts it in the persons box and then tells the person ‘I put stuff in your box, please look’. If the ‘lost’item is valuable, hide it away and the family member must earn it back and you can decide what you want the cost to be. An hour ‘me’ time from hubby (for one hour you can do whatever you want and he looks after the kids), a drawing from you kids, the car washed, the dog washed, anything at all, stuff that doesn’t cost money is best.
Find the right solution for the clutter problems in your house and implement them!