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Clearance vs Clutter: Is Your Stuff Making You Unhappy?

Do you have too much stuff ? De cluttering tips to help clear the junk

Original post by Houzz

Many of us dream of a perfectly organised home, an immaculate and serene space with no fingerprints in the kitchen or dust on the shelves, a large walk-in closet, and the books sorted by colour or author in the library.

But in reality, ( i blame pinterest and Instagram ) many of us find ourselves with a too-small home full of stuff - too many shoes , books and paperwork everywhere.

As the number of things in our home increases as time passes - unless we move house or renovate, the space remains the same. So what to do? Throw everything out without looking back, move every seven years, sell everything, or accept chaos ?

Should we stick to the hard and fast rule of ‘one thing in, one thing out’, or follow the ‘life’s too short to declutter’?

Below, professional home organisers and declutterers from around the world tell their stories, before tackling common junk clearing dilemmas.

Championing minimalism in Japan Japanese book editor Fumio Sasaki shares in his book “Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism how he went from living in a cluttered apartment reeking of dissatisfaction to a 215-square-foot abode full of freedom and contentment by reducing his belongings to just 150 items.

His version is extreme, with a very short list of necessary items he lets into his life and home, but it’s proved a success among Japanese readers in the generation now hitting their 30s.

Marie Kondo is also extremely popular at the moment, and even has her own TV series on Netflix - her methods include her now-famous concept of only keeping things that “spark joy "

She has a 3 month waiting list for her de - cluttering and now trademarked service .

‘I think many people have learned that gathering things does not make you happy.
The older generation (over 40s) experienced the bubble economy, which praised material abundance, but our generation didn’t,’
You can feel more liberated by having fewer things around you. Japan is an earthquake-prone country, but if an earthquake hits, I can run away with all of my belongings, which can easily be piled into a small case.’
Sasaki became a minimalist in 2013. ‘I happened to Google the term “minimalist” in Japanese, and learned about Andrew Hyde, a famous minimalist blogger, who lives with just 15 items,’ he says.
‘In retrospect, I was frustrated with my life and wanted to change it. It was almost a sudden enlightenment.’

Paulina Draganja is Sweden’s unchallenged queen of organisation, with a popular blog, TV performances, lectures and a new book coming out on how to declutter and stay on top of stuff in the home. She believes the Swedes are a very practical people, which you can see in everything from cooking to fashion and design.

‘We want things to look good, but still be easy to maintain, to suit a lifestyle where both parties in a relationship go out to work. So no complicated, pedantic solutions, but smart and simple systems, and with a pared-back look,’ she says.

‘The hallway seems to be a recurring challenge in Sweden,’ she adds. ‘Clothes are the trickiest things to store, especially as we have cold winters and a lot of bulky clothes.’

Get some ideas here from the Ministry Of Calm

Tackling paperwork in France

Pauline Levasseur has been a home organiser in France for six years. She created her own method and trains other pros. ‘France has a very specific issue: the incredible volume of paperwork people have. French homeowners, who are called “paper kings”, receive a huge volume of administrative paperwork (a record in Europe!) and they have to keep it all. So paper is one of the prime sources of clutter,’ she says.

She believes clutter is more often than not linked to life issues (illness, divorce, death, etc). When a life-changing event happens, homeowners don’t take the time to declutter, thinking they will ‘do it later’, but then find themselves snowed under. They often call a home organiser when time has passed since the event and they decide it’s time to clean up the house and make a new start.

‘French people struggle to throw things away; they are stuck in the “it-can-always-be-useful” approach,’ says Levasseur. ‘Also, the French are attached to souvenirs, and feelings are very important in the decision of whether to keep things or not.’

Take a look at these ingenious storage ideas for small space living

‘When you design a house or apartment, remember to plan for 2.5 times more storage space than is sufficient for all the things you currently own.’

tell yourself you can hang on to as many mementos as you like, but only up to the storage capacity of one curio cabinet. keep old letters ,papers & artwork, but only up to the storage capacity of two large sealable bins. keep the books you love, but only up to the storage capacity of three bookshelves.

when people claim to have a strong attachment to something they don’t use, the true test is whether they place it in a position of honour in their home. If it’s relegated to storage, often a photo of the item will suffice as a memory prompt and the item can be released to others

Keep the floor tidy and put away everything lying on the ground at least once a day. Ask yourself: Laundry? Waste? Into the closet? Into another room? The box with decluttered clothes sitting in your corridor for months? Forget it!

Donate it instead, and be happy about losing this burden.’

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Book the team and you can put your feet up while they do the rest.

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