After our first few sweeps of the house I thought there can’t be any more places to declutter. My wardrobe was decimated. My bathroom had whole cupboards empty. The pantry was organised and sparse. Under the sink was free of errant old sponges and broken spray bottles. I had even cleared two whole shelves of my precious books. BP had ruthlessly halved his DVD collection and even managed to part with a crate load of vinyl. Gee, I thought, we’re doing really well.
But us clutterish types are clever with hiding our clutter and hoarding our clutter and shutting our clutter into the deepest, darkest reaches of our homes. Here are five places I found clutter when I thought there was none (ish).
1. The jewellery box
When I call this a jewellery box I am not being entirely honest. I am not one for much jewellery and have never coveted expensive gold and gems. I did, however, spend many of my early years of employment working in the fashion accessory industry. And boy, do I have a lot of fashion accessories (which are, in most cases, definitely no longer fashionable). Recently I was looking for props for a class and I opened my jewellery box to find a whole lotta junk. I was able to halve it immediately, and look forward to going back for a second sweep. Are you coveting unfashionable fashion accessories somewhere, too? Or even good quality jewellery that you know you will never wear again?
2. The DVD and CD collection
As a society, we no longer collect media in the same way that we have in the past. Physical copies of movies, television series and music are no longer necessary to be able to watch our favourite films and listen to our favourite music over and again. It’s kind of hard to depart with some of our collections of DVDs and CDs though. We even have a bulk lot of VHS lurking around our house. Our first sweep of the CD and DVD cupboard left us with less than half our music collection (something I find sometimes troubling, considering the quality of sound tends to get reduced every time technology ‘advances’) and about a quarter of our DVD collection. I ticked that off a list and went off to find new things to declutter. Stop at this point. Go to your calendar. Schedule in a second sweep of the CD and DVD collections for a months time. Seriously. Do it. We have gone through ours twice now and I’m heading for a third run. The first time we got rid of a huge amount of stuff, the second time we got rid of just about the same again. It’s amazing how something that seems too precious to depart with in your first declutter can suddenly become an easy thing to depart with. Keep going through your DVDs and CDs at a regular interval. I bet you’ll be able to reduce it every time.
3. Linen press
The title ‘linen press’ always makes me giggle a little, as I don’t think ours has ever (or will ever) contain actual linen. All those neat stacks of sheets and pillow cases, blankets and pillow cases, towels and bathmats. They can hardly be called clutter, right? They fit so nicely, away behind that door. They don’t take up much room and they’re useful. Yes, to all of those things. If you’re anything like us, however, the more bedding you have the less likely you are to wash what comes off the bed right away. Let’s face it, washing sheets (especially if you don’t use a dryer, like us) can be a pain in the butt if the weather is poor. Sometimes we end up with two lots in the laundry, which takes up physical and mental room. We are slowly whittling our bedding down to two sets per bed in the house – eliminating the washing issue, and also giving us more linen press space. After our recent bout of illness we realised we also need to have an extra spare for the biggest bed that can be adapted for any of those beds. As for towels, we have upwards of six per person in this household. We are still working on this area but I believe 3 towels per person plus some guest towels is the maximum we need.
4. Outgrown baby clothes
If, like me, you have kept all your baby clothes for the hope of future children then you’re likely to have a cupboard / storeroom / attic / crawl space full of boxes or bags of baby clothes. As Little Fearse outgrows her clothes I put them, freshly laundered, into space saver bags and store these under our bed. She is now moving into size 3 clothing, so we have a lot of stuff stored under the bed. Recently when hunting for baby clothes for a charity drive I decided to go through each size of clothing an eliminate 10 items. I found it quite easy to find 10 items from each size, whether they were gifts that never quite fit, items that were a little impractical, things we had doubles of or clothing we just never really liked. In fact, since it has been at least 9 months since any of these items have been worn I found it quite easy to distance myself and think practically about the clothing instead of being sentimental. I ended up passing on 135 items of baby clothing. I imagine that this is another area I can further reduce in the future.
5. The storeroom
Wherever you happen to store your items that you no longer need in your home but are not ready to get rid of I’d bet it is overflowing with things you could probably discard. In our storeroom we have things we hope we will need in the future, such as the baby bath and cradle. We have many tubs of work related books and resources for me, which were moved out of the house when I lost my office. We have sentimental items. We have things that were moved into there because we didn’t know what else to do with them. The storeroom is a place that we put things we want to forget about. I have made a promise to myself – this summer I will declutter our storeroom and aim to get these items down to a reasonable minimum.
So, where do you think I might have forgotten to clutter hunt? I’d love your ideas.