This week I’ve started making a conscious effort to declutter my life so I can eventually fit everything I need in one bag.
But, I’ve got a lot of stuff. Like anybody, thoughtless purchases and lazy recycling means my room is cluttered with clothes, paperwork and knickknacks that although sentimental, are essentially worthless.
We’ll be putting some items into storage – ski gear, winter jumpers that we won’t need in Southeast Asia but will need in the future – but most of our things will be cleared out. It’s a slightly overwhelming thought, but the more I read about a minimalist life, the higher the pros stack up.
Even if you’re staying put, decluttering your life has many wonderful benefits. Just a few that I’ve read about include:
- A calmer environment
It’s hard to feel relaxed when your life’s possessions are literally spilling out around you. A minimalist life, talked about in detail by one of my favourite blogs Zen Habits, can lead to a far calmer, more relaxed environment.
- A happier you
In the same vein, less clutter can lead to a happy life. When you’re free of pointless possessions weighing you down, you can embrace more opportunities and the freedom a lack of material possessions brings you.
- Extra income
If you’ve got clothes or old furniture that hasn’t been touched for years, you could be sending them to a good home and making a little extra money for yourself at the same time.
- Help others
When you declutter your home, you’ll be left with bags of stuff suitable to donate to charities. Create a calmer environment for yourself with less material possessions, and put them to a good cause to help others.
A cluttered home will gather dust far quicker than a house with a place for everything.
- A better budget
Making a budget, and sticking to it can be easier said than done. However, freeing up your life by clearing out the clutter can help you identify what you really need, and what are just frivolous purchases. Over time, this change in perspective can help you create a far more achievable budget.
Here’s how I’m decluttering my life, and making some money along the way:
eBay is King for selling second hand items, especially clothes. I’ve put up all the dresses I bought, wore once, and haven’t touched again for sale and hope to make some money back on these.
It’s easy to get sucked into the trap of thinking that you deserve more money for your possessions, and hanging on to them because you don’t think you’re going a good enough deal. Fact is, the money spent on those dresses is long gone, and I’m not making any money off of them looking nice in my soon to be gone wardrobe.
At the least, someone will get a better wear out of my clothes and I’ll make a few quid while cutting down my clutter in the process.
Obviously, you don’t need furniture when you’re travelling. Even if you’re not, you probably have at least some furniture just collecting dust in a forgotten corner of your home. Put it up on a site such as eBay or Gumtree, you never know who will be looking for exactly what you have.
Anything I don’t think will make any money on eBay and still want to get rid of will be donated. Of course, I’m not just going to throw all my threadbare garments in donation bags – those sorts of clothes need to be recycled, not donated.
However things like t-shirts, summer shorts etc are unlikely to be as popular as dresses on eBay, and not worth the time it takes to list them online, so anything nice that’s left over and I’m not planning on taking away with me is getting donated to local charity clothing stores.
Some things you might not need right now, but will in the future. There’s no point getting rid of this stuff if you’re only going to buy it again a few months or years down the line, so anything that falls into this category is getting put into storage.
Even if you’re staying put in your home, storage is a great cheap option of freeing up some space in your home – but make sure you do actually need whatever you put in your unit, or you’ll be spending money on items that should have been sold or donated months ago!
If you can’t make money or donate something, and it has no sentimental value, you’ll have to toss it. Recycling makes you feel a lot less guilty stripping random bits and bobs out of your life – but a bit of ruthlessness is best to make a clear difference when decluttering your life.