Clutterfree Life Transitions – Preparations – Part 7

This is the seventh and last article in a series:

‘PREPARATION OF YOUR DECLUTTERING PROJECT’

CLICK HERE to read all articles.

So far, we’ve discussed the first 3 parts of the decluttering action plan:

    1. Your action goals
    2. A detailed schedule of the decluttering sessions
    3. A comprehensive list of the support, the resources and the supplies which have to be organised

Today, we prepare

The last part of the action plan:

    1. A list of ideas for the disposal of no longer needed items

HOW DO YOU ORGANISE THE DISPOSAL OF ITEMS?

The disposal of all the objects that are going to leave your household has to be organised.

It is better to make a plan – what could go where – before you start to sort out. You don’t want to end up sitting in the middle of various piles of no longer needed stuff, not knowing how to get rid of the clutter!

Consider these disposal options:

Asking family and friends

Talk with family and friends and find out who would be interested in taking furniture and other big items (such as pictures, sport equipment) or in selecting items from the various categories of belongings you intend to clear out (such as books, magazines, clothes, kitchenware, crafts materials, etc.)

Selling

Do you plan to sell some items? Do a quick research first (for example, on eBay), to find out whether your assumptions about the current value of your belongings are met by the market.

Giving to charity shops

Visit the charity shops in your area and learn what types of household items they will and won’t accept. Some facilities offer pick-ups at your home, whilst others expect you to drop off at their facility.

Asking the local community

Do some research and find more alternatives for giving away things that are in a good condition or haven’t been used at all. (For example: Does the local library take used books? Is the kindergarten or primary school interested in unused craft supplies?)

Booking council rubbish removals

Contact your local council and get information about the rubbish-removal and recycling services offered in your area.

Are residents provided with free household clean-up collections? (Scheduled? To be booked?) What items do they pick up? What objects and materials does the local recycling centre accept?

Booking a skip

You might consider ordering a skip or booking the services of a professional clean-up company if you have a whole lot to go to landfill. Ask around or search the internet to find suitable service providers.

Knowing exactly where you’ll be able to dispose of the things you intend to discard will make you feel well-prepared. It will make it even easier for you to make let-go decisions.


Some useful addresses and links (in Sydney):

Find your council and rubbish-removal/recycling services

If you are not sure which council takes care of your area: www.olg.nsw.gov.au/find-my-council. Also check here: Sydney City Directory, list of councils: www.sydney-city-directory.com.au/c-page/councils-local.thm .

Organise / buy rubbish bags

Large rubbish bags can be bought at discount shops, Bunnings or other hardware shops, or even at your grocery shop. Make sure that you get strong bags! And plenty of them!

Organise / buy boxes

Walk around your home and collect any empty cardboard boxes or plastic containers that are suitable for collecting and carrying smaller and medium-sized items.

Buy moving boxes at Kennards (kks.com.au/where-we-are/sydney/) or other self-storage centres that often sell not only new but also second-hand boxes at reduced prices.

Charity shops – Visit the shop(s) in your area

Specialised charity organisations

    • The Bower, Reuse & Repair Centre, www.bower.org.au – Donations directly to be dropped off at one of the four locations. Free collection in some areas in Sydney – Check website to see which items they will take (e.g. furniture, electronic appliances, books, hardware and tools) and which items they won’t accept (e.g. clothing, linen, office furniture).
    • Dandelion Support Network, www.dandelionsupport.org.au – Donations of good quality such as preloved and new nursery furniture and items for babies and children. (Drop off in Caringbah)
    • The Beauty Bank, www.thebeautybank.org – Donations of unused and unopened toiletries and makeup, zippered hand bags or tote bags. (Contact them for drop-off points)
    • Dress for Success, https://sydney.dressforsuccess.org/ – Donations of (women’s) business/work attire and accessories in excellent condition. (Shop/drop off in Marrickville)
    • Dress for Work, www.dressforwork.org.au – Donations of (men’s) business/work clothes, shoes, new socks, hygiene items such as cologne and aftershave. (Drop off at 62 Meredith St, Bankstown)
    • Project Uplift, www.upliftbras.org – Donation of new and (in excellent condition) used bras. (A few drop-off points in Sydney)
    • Achieve Australia, www.achieveaustralia.org.au – Donations of needlecraft and fabric for sale (Drop off at outlet ‘Fabric, Needlecraft and More Shop’, 112 Bowden Street, Marrickville)
    • MobileMuster, www.mobilemuster.com.au – Free mobile phone recycling program. Accept all brands and types of mobile phones, plus their batteries, chargers and accessories. Drop off at Salvos stores or at one of the 3500 collection points (see website for nearest drop off)
    • Lions Recycle for Sight, www.lionsclubs.org.au – Donation of eyeglasses. Collection points at some local Lion Clubs (see website) or post to Lions Recycle for Sight, PO Box 3021, Clontarf MDC 4019.

Skip bin providers

A quick Google search will reveal several of the bigger companies that serve Sydney areas. It also makes sense to ask around / search for a provider who focuses on your suburb.

Selling decluttered items

Sort & Sell (Contact: Lauren Star) – www.sortandsellforyou.com.au

Now start to collect some ideas where you could discard of the things you no longer want to keep.

    • Selling on-/offline – Do I have items I don’t want to give away for free? Where and how could I try to sell them?
    • Donations to Charity – Charities in my area: Opening times? What do they accept? What not?
    • Rubbish removal – When is the next scheduled council pick-up? Shall I order a free council pick-up? Do I need to order a skip?
    • Other ideas?

Clutterfree Life Transitions – Preparations – Part 6

This is the sixth article in a series:

PREPARATION OF YOUR DECLUTTERING/CHANGE PROJECT’

CLICK HERE to read all articles.

So far,

Now it’s time to get into action:

PLAN FOR ACTION

DEFINE YOUR GOALS AND PREPARE THE DECLUTTERING PROCESS

Decluttering – sorting out what you no longer wish to keep and getting it out of your home – is a strenuous physical activity, is mentally demanding, often gets very emotional and takes time.

Depending on the size of your home, on the number of clutter areas and categories, and on your ability to make quick decisions, it can take several days, or even weeks to get the job done.

You want to avoid feeling overwhelmed even before you start or losing momentum during the process. Thus, it is important to prepare the work carefully and realistically.

You have not only to plan your own time and energy, you might also need support from others and you want to organise all necessary resources and supplies in advance.

Your Declutter-Action-Plan should include:

    1. Your action goals
    2. A detailed schedule of the decluttering sessions
    3. A comprehensive list of the support, the resources and the supplies which have to be organised
    4. A list of ideas for the disposal of no longer needed items

This article focuses on the first three elements of the action plan, next time we will discuss the disposal of stuff.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE DIFFERENT? – YOUR ACTION GOALS

Based on all the work you’ve done so far (see previous articles), you are now well prepared to think about how you would like your home and your life to be different, and to define your action goals.

Start compiling your action plan by determining your goals:

Declutter goal 1 – These are the areas / rooms of my home that I wish to declutter/change:

Declutter goal 2 – These are the clutter hot spots I wish to clear out:

Declutter goal 3 – These are the treasures I wish to take special care of:

Declutter goal 4 – This is how my home will look and feel differently after the decluttering process:

Declutter goal 5 – This is how I will celebrate the success of my declutter project and the positive changes in my home and life:

HOW MUCH TIME, EFFORT AND ENERGY WILL YOU INVEST?

Start and finish of the decluttering project

Plan to invest sufficient time, keeping in mind that any decluttering project usually takes longer than assumed.

Accept that at this point in time you can’t be sure about the exact amount of hours/days you will need to go through the whole declutter/change process from start to finish.

As soon as you’ve finished the work on the first clutter area, you’ll have a better understanding for the process and you’ll feel more confident (and realistic) when you plan the time for the other areas to be tackled.

However, you should fix a broad schedule and determine the maximum time frame before you start.

Take your calendar out and add to your action plan the starting and finishing point of the project.

This is the broad time frame of my declutter / change project:

My declutter project starts on    ……………….         

and finishes on  ……………….

Duration and times of the decluttering sessions

For most people, the ideal duration of a decluttering session is 3 to 4 hours.

If we have less than 2 hours of time available, it’s actually too much effort to get out all the supplies, and prepare the working area.

And after 3 or 4 hours of decluttering, our fitness and energy resources are usually depleted. In that case, it doesn’t make sense to continue working – we risk to lose focus and might start to make hasty and ill-considered decisions.

Are other family members involved in the project? Are they going to participate in the work? Arrange suitable times with them!

Now make a realistic commitment:

Times and duration of my decluttering sessions:

Each week, I’ll work  ……….  times on my project.

These are my declutter days:   ……….

These are my working hours on each declutter day: 

start at  ……….  

finish at  ……….  

These are my decluttering partners/supporters: ……….

WHAT SUPPLIES DO YOU NEED?

You can expect to produce lots of piles of stuff that have to be discarded. You will likely fill numerous bags and boxes during the sorting / decluttering process in Step 4.

Get your basic kit ready: rubbish bags, carton boxes, plastic tubs, bins, tape, tape gun, sticky labels, marker, notepad, pens, scissors, packaging paper, gloves, cleaning supplies.

Any type of container should be suitable to collect and carry discarded stuff without tearing. Boxes should be sturdy enough to contain heavy items like books. Invest in large heavy-duty rubbish bags.

Gather some cleaning supplies, such as a bucket with a mixture of water and white vinegar, and some cleaning cloths or paper towels. Plan to put on gloves if you have to clear up very dirty areas or places where spiders and cockroaches and other little ‘friends’ love to gather.

Also important: Plan to wear comfortable clothing and to have soft drinks, coffee/tea and snacks on hand.

PREPARING THE WORKING AREAS

The activity of decluttering tends to create its own mess, at first, and it needs space.

You need empty areas / rooms to spread out your belongings and sort them, and then you need space where you can collect and store the give-aways until you carry / drive them away.

Folding tables can be used as working areas during the sorting phase of the decluttering process. Regular tables such as your desk or the dining room table are suitable as long as you don’t need them for other purposes for the duration of the sorting session.

If you don’t have any free flat surfaces available, you could place an old blanket or sheet on the floor and use it as your working space.

That’s it, for today.

The next article in this series will focus on HOW DO YOU ORGANISE THE DISPOSAL OF ITEMS.

Clutterfree Life Transitions – Preparations – Part 5

CLUTTERFREE LIFE TRANSITIONS

This is the fifth article in a series: ‘Preparation of your decluttering/change project’.

CLICK HERE to read all articles.

In the previous articles, we talked about ‘Where you are now and ‘Where you want to be. You’ve also developed a ‘clearer understanding of your home and your belongings and you’ve gained some insights about your ‘clutter hot spots.

The next step is to uncover your treasures.

What are your treasures?

We all have things we truly love, things that we cannot imagine parting with, even if sometimes other people can’t understand our attachment to those special things.

These are our treasures. Their worth is not measured in money, but rather in the meaning and significance they hold for us. Often, they represent very special experiences of our life, and they reflect of what is unique about us.

Treasures are the things that you definitely want to preserve from the past as you move into the next phase of your life.

Only you can identify your personal treasures

However, you have to be careful not to declare too many things as treasures because that would belittle the value of each of them.

The following exercise will help you discover your personal treasures – those of your belongings that are truly and closely attached to your heart.

a) Decide how many items you wish to declare as treasures before you start to select them. – The smaller the number, the better. You might want to constrain yourself to 10 treasures, or 15.

b) Think about which of your clutter-champion categories might hide some of your treasures. – For example, if books belong to your clutter champions, decide whether you wish to assign 3 or 5 of your favourite books the status of treasures. – If your kitchen appliances are clutter champions – you have too many of them or several duplicates -, decide to declare the 3 most used/loved ones as treasures. 

c) Imagine the house burnt down and you lost everything (Only the most important personal documents could be saved.) – Which belongings would you badly miss? Which of them could not be replaced? 

Take all the items with ‘treasure’-potential out, hold them in your hands for a while, try to ‘feel’ how truly important they are to you, and then assemble all of them in a ‘treasure collection area’ or – if you don’t have the space for such an area – take photographs.

Spend some time with your treasure candidates during the next days and evaluate how meaningful they are to you.

You might want to ask yourself questions like these:

    • Is it something that reminds me of a happy memory? Is it related to a special accomplishment?
    • Is it closely related to me, to the very special person I am?
    • Would I be very sad if it suddenly disappeared?
    • Does it refer to my values and to the vision I defined for the next chapter of my life?

Now make you final choice and compile a list of your personal treasures.

This list and the insights gained about your treasures will be very helpful later, when you start to make decluttering decisions.     

Clutterfree Life Transitions – Preparations – Part 4

CLUTTERFREE LIFE TRANSITIONS

This is the fourth article in a series: ‘Preparation of your decluttering/change project’.

CLICK HERE to read all articles.

So far, you’ve already started to think about Where you are now, and ‘Where you want to be.

And you’ve developed a clearer and more objective idea of your home and your belongings.

The next step is to get to know your clutter better.

What is clutter? 

‘Clutter’ can be defined as any obsolete object “that weighs you down, distracts you, or depletes your energy”. It “is symbolic of your attachment to something from the past that must be released in order to make room for change”. (Julie Morgenstern)

If we consider clutter as being ‘anything that no longer serves’ us, the process of ‘decluttering’ loses its negative image. Instead of being the unpleasant activity of just throwing things away, it evolves as a powerful ‘change assistant’.

Knowing for sure what you wish to leave behind because it no longer serves you, makes it is easier to decide how to move on and what to take along when you enter a new chapter in your life.

In fact, decluttering can be a positive and productive experience, it offers the opportunity to free up space in your home and in your mind. It’s also an opportunity to learn about yourself and your values.

You don’t have to hate your clutter or feel ashamed of it. You can accept it as what it actually is: a collection of belongings that no longer serve your needs but that were useful at some point in time. And it probably still has some meaning today, otherwise, you wouldn’t have kept it.

What are your clutter ‘hot spots”?

Take your notes from your home-discovery-tour and walk from one cluttered area to the next.

Clutter hot spots’ are those areas in your home, those categories of belongings, that contain an accumulation of things that no longer serve you. It’s the stuff that holds you back because it belongs to the past.

It could be, for example,

    • areas of a room or furniture no longer used, such as an inherited armchair nobody sits on,
    • books you are no longer interested in or no longer intend to read, or recipe books from which you never cooked a recipe,
    • piles of paper you never touch but expand by continuously adding new pieces, or papers from former phases of your life, e.g., materials from school years or a previous job,
    • kitchen appliances that don’t fit your current cooking habits,
    • a dresser drawer you never open because it contains out-of-fashion tops,
    • a wardrobe full of clothing that no longer fit you, that you hope ‘may come back in style’, that you don’t wear but keep because it was expensive,
    • a 24-piece cutlery set never unpacked but kept because it was a wedding present from your aunt.

Do you see a special pattern, – certain areas in your home or categories of belongings where the clutter accumulates? These are your personal clutter hot spots. (E. g., areas such as the kitchen. Your wardrobe. The garage. Or categories, such as books. Clothes. Papers.)

Imagine the clutter hot spots had been cleared up and would be clean and neat and free of any obsolete stuff. How do you feel? Are you getting excited and motivated to make your life easier and lighter?

You will become even more excited as soon as you start to uncover the buried or forgotten treasures under the clutter, – the next step of the preparation of your decluttering/change project.

Clutterfree Life Transitions – Preparations – Part 3

CLUTTERFREE LIFE TRANSITIONS

This is the third article in a series: ‘Preparation of your decluttering/change project’.

CLICK HERE to read all articles.

So far, you have started to think about ‘Where you are now, and ‘Where you want to be.

Now you take the next step to prepare your project, – you get to know your home better.

How ‘mapping’ your home can help you to understand it – and yourself – better

If we have been living in our home for some time, we tend to no longer ‘see’ how it actually looks like:

    • We don’t pay attention to the order or disorder of things,
    • we don’t think much about how we use the different rooms,
    • and why we keep our belongings where they are currently stored.
    • Often, we forget what we have, and where and why we actually got it.

But all the things in our life profoundly affect us, either at a conscious or at a subconscious level, either in a positive or in a negative way.

If you wish/have to change your living situation, you first have to understand its current condition and core elements. That’s why it makes sense to get to know your home again.

Walk slowly through your rooms. Take notes about what you see, and what you think and feel.

Taking photos also helps you to see your place with fresh eyes. Don’t judge about what comes to your mind, just write it down.

While you walk through the various areas in your home, take three different perspectives

to ask yourself some questions:

First, pretend you are a stranger, visiting for the first time. Ask yourself:

    • What’s this room’s purpose?
    • What do I like about the room? What not? Why?
    • What should be in the room? What doesn’t belong here?
    • What do I think about the people who live here?

Then slip back into your own current shoes and start the second round of observation and discovery. Ask yourself:

    • What are the major activity areas in this room? How often do I use them? What exactly do I do in these areas?
    • Which are my preferred areas? Which are the most neglected? Why?
    • What do I store in this room? Why here and not somewhere else? Do I know what’s in the cupboards, drawers, boxes, behind the wardrobe doors?

Now imagine you have already arrived in the future stage of your life, the time after the change. Pretend you’ve already done the hard work. Ask yourself:

    • Which pieces of furniture and other belongings will no longer fit into my life?
    • What has become obsolete and now takes (storage) space that I should reserve for things I really need, use or love?
    • How would this room look like if it was fully adjusted to the necessities of my new life?
    • Do I actually need this room any longer?

Finally, go through your notes again and ‘digest’ what you have learned about your home and your belongings (and yourself).

Your observations will come in handy when you start to analyse the ‘clutter hot spots’ and the ‘treasures’ in your home.

Clutterfree Life Transitions – Preparations – Part 2

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CLUTTERFREE LIFE TRANSITIONS

This is the second article in a series: ‘Preparation of your decluttering/change project’.

CLICK HERE to read all articles.

So far, you have started to think about ‘Where you are now’.

Now it’s time to think about where you wish to be in the future.

Where do you want to go? What’s your vision of the next chapter of your life?

It doesn’t matter whether you came to your change situation voluntarily or didn’t have a choice, you can easily get paralysed if you are not sure what to do next:

    • It’s hard to figure out how and where to move on if your mind is still occupied by the past. That’s one of the main reasons why managing change can be so demanding and frustrating.
    • It can happen that you feel stuck and clueless because you are surrounded by too many options or opportunities, too many choices.
    • Or you might feel lost and desperate because you don’t see any alternatives at all, no way out of the chaos.

Focus on your life after the change

A good way to dissolve the dilemma of feeling frozen and stuck is to separate yourself from your current situation and feelings and instead focus on your future goals.

You decide that you no longer push yourself to find quick solutions today. Instead, you concentrate on your future life, your life after the change. What do you want to do, how do you wish to feel, think and live?

Defining your vision of the future in a very open way – a simple powerful statement, just a word or a short phrase – can help you to get unstuck and active. The vision for your new life provides you with a filter which any upcoming decision has to go through.

How to find ideas for your new vision

Start by describing the theme of your current life phase.

What’s been your main focus of the present chapter of your life? The ‘big-picture’ goal? Your current identity? If your life was a book, what would the title of the current chapter be?

Now continue ‘writing your life-book’ – what’s the header for the next chapter?

Try to define a vision that is broad enough to cover all areas of your life (personal, professional, social, …) and keep it simple. Find an inspiring phrase.

Listen to your intuition and not to what others might expect of you.

And ask yourself questions, such as:

    • What are you hoping to gain from the change?
    • Are there any activities you enjoy doing but neglected for years?
    • Which interests do you have that you would love to invest more time and energy in?
    • Which dreams have you been unable to pursue so far?
    • What do you like about your current life? What do you hate about it?

Don’t rush through the vision-finding process

Sometimes we need time to process the change challenge. That’s especially the case if we experience an unexpected or unwanted change. Only you can know/feel when it’s time to move on.

However, starting to play around with some potential scenarios will ‘loosen the knots’ in your heart and mind. Give it a try.

No matter how confident or sceptical you feel about the new vision you come up with, begin to ‘use’ it whenever you have to make a decision about an aspect of your future life.

Continue the preparation of your decluttering/change project Get to know your home better, and your clutter hot spots.

Clutterfree Life Transitions – Preparations – Part 1

CLUTTERFREE LIFE TRANSITIONS


This is the first article in a series: ‘Preparation of your decluttering/change project’.

CLICK HERE to read all articles.


The purpose of the series is to help use the home-decluttering process to confidently and successfully manage all kinds of change:

    • Expected or planned transitions (e.g. becoming an empty nester, moving to another place, entering retirement)
    • Sudden or unexpected life-changing events (e.g. loss of a partner, loss of job)
    • Changes of lifestyle or circumstance based on a personal decision (e.g. moving to another country, starting a new career, changing to a minimalist-lifestyle)

By sorting through your belongings and letting go what no longer serves you, you gain clarity, focus and new energy on your journey into the next stage of your life.

The decision to release all forms of clutter (physical/mental/emotional), is the first and most important step in the process of positively changing your life:

You are determined to do the work and to create space in your home and mind for new things and opportunities to come in.

Where are you now? How did you get there? What’s your change challenge?

To plan and organise your declutter/change journey properly, you need to have a clear idea about where it begins. And why.

Start with an assessment of the causes and the consequences of the upcoming transition:

    • Why do you want/have to change?
    • What type of change are you going to go through?
    • Is it a natural transition or a forced/unwanted one?
    • How do you feel about it? Are you looking forward to your new life? Or do you feel afraid and worried about it?
    • Will your life change slightly or significantly? How will it affect your life style and living circumstances?
    • Are other people involved? How do they think/feel about it?

Now think about your current situation, your daily routines, your home and your belongings.

    • How would you describe your living/personal style?
    • Do you feel comfortable when you are at home? Easy to relax? Why? Why not?
    • Do you know exactly what you own, and where you can find what you need/wish to use?
    • Do you look forward to sorting through your stuff? Why? Why not?
    • What items are most essential to you?
    • Are there ‘things’ you feel emotionally connected with?
    • Have you accumulated a lot of possessions over time? Too many? If yes, why?
    • Do you think there is a lot of physical clutter? Things that belong to the past? Or to the present that you’ll leave behind soon?
    • Is there a special type of clutter/disorder you tend to be struggling with?
    • Will it be difficult to make decisions about what to keep and what to discard? Why?

You don’t have to find the final answers right now.

Just start moving around in your home with more attention. Look around in every room and ‘study’ your belongings.

Notice what you like, what you don’t like, what you need and use, what you have neglected for some time.

Now you are ready to think about the future, about ‘Where you want to go. It’s also helpful to look at your home and belongings with fresh eyes, and to discover your ‘clutter hot spots and your ‘treasures”.

Take the first step of your mind- (and life-) decluttering journey today.

Schedule your free Getting-Started Session