Minimalist living is a very intentional lifestyle choice, but for some people, the journey to living with less isn’t a linear one.
Many people find themselves inspired and embark on a huge de-cluttering phase, perhaps getting so far as Marie Kondo-ing their clothes, only to find that there’s a slow creep of useless possessions back into their lives a few weeks later. In these situations, it truly can feel as if you don’t own your stuff – it owns you.
The answer lies within our bad habits. We aren’t perfect, and our bad behaviours emerge usually as a result of seeking comfort or being lazy. In order to break the cycle, it’s important to address the root causes of your bad habits and stop the clutter creep becoming a regular feature in your life.
If you need a little inspiration when it comes to de-cluttering and continuing that ‘Spring Clean’ habit often, then the tips below may give you some guidance. There’s also a great guide on deep cleaning your home here.
No Dedicated Home For Your Things
Do you spend a lot of time hunting for house keys, searching for that one thing you put down, or spending part of each morning frantically trying to find your mobile phone? If so, then you’re in desperate need of better storage solutions to streamline your life.
Focus on known clutter hot spots – adding hooks or storage baskets into your hallway for example – so that things can live in a place that makes sense for you and your needs.
Think about how often you’re using items. You need some large storage that can be a little more inaccessible for things you only use occasionally, whereas frequent use items need to be kept somewhere that you can grab them in a hurry, yet store away ‘tidily’. When things are left on show, it’s the first sign of ‘mess’, which makes you rush to clean your house more often, and the tidying and cleaning/putting things away never seems to end. Who has the time for that countless times a day?
Being able to put things away quickly and without any fuss is key in maintaining organisation and keeping a tidy home. And if you find there are some things that you haven’t used in a year, donate or recycle them rather than keeping them hanging around.
Make Being Tidy and Organised a Habit
They say it takes six weeks to form a habit, so imagine if keeping a home tidy and organised was your actual habit you couldn’t break out of? When you are fully invested in how to clean your room too, it makes a huge difference with reducing all the ‘things’ you collect.
It’s certainly a good one to have! The best way to do this is work tidying into your daily routine. Perhaps it starts with 5 minutes in the morning making your bed, picking clothes up of the floor and shaping up your sofa cushions, putting things in drawers and just ensuring things are left everywhere. Then, when you get home from work or just before bed/after dinner, invest a 10 minute time slot to tidying the house.
Being organised is a different ball game: that involves having a clear out first, and working on different areas of the home to get things into organisation. Files, paperwork, kitchen cupboards, beauty products, wardrobes…
Look at making a plan to do these, and you’ll be surprised how much junk you realise you have that needs going to charity shops or recycling.
Buying Things Without a Function
Many of us have been encouraged into mindless consumerism – but that isn’t good for the planet, our homes or our mental health. Break the habit of feeling like you have to shop to be happy, that you always need the latest model of something or of getting into something new and immediately having to buy all the kit.
If you’re one of these people who gets an itchy feeling whenever a sale email lands in your inbox from Topshop at three in the morning, then you need to get those compulsive habits under control. Firstly though, it’s important to just recognise the bad habits you have may and admit to having them, before you can control them.
Make it a rule to leave at least 24 hours between seeing something and making a purchase to give yourself time to cool off and to do a quick comparison shop to see if you can source the item at a better price.
Most of the time, when you have a little distance, you realise that you don’t really need that ‘must have’ item, whatever the price or the marketing spin.
Just a few little pointers to help you if you’re currently in a clutter-rut!