Please share your decluttering secrets!

woman-clutterDo you ever feel like you are drowning in your ‘stuff’?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful that I have everything I need and a lot of what I want, but often I find myself tired of putting things away, cleaning things and most importantly LOSING things!

I’m a minimalist at heart, I know she’s in there somewhere. The trouble is, Mr Green is a hoarder!

I’m also a bit slovenly; it’s not unusual for me to walk past a pile of stuff that is on the stairs waiting to be put away. I know! How bad is that? Honestly, these piles of things, looking to find their homes can sit on the stairs for DAYS before I do anything about it. Thank goodness we have a broad staircase and no one has taken a tumble on a pile of books.

I get annoyed that so much of time seems to be taken up caring for my things. They need homes, space, cleaning…

Wouldn’t you rather be using the time you’re caring for your stuff doing something more meaningful?

For the past three years my new years resolution has been to do with organisation and decluttering. Am I any further forward than I was three years ago? Well yes, but I still have heaps more boxes and bags and cupboards and drawers to go. And as I get older and my values change I find myself become more and more intolerant of STUFF everywhere.

Most of all I get annoyed because we end up late due to losing things; that drives me CRAZY.

Thankfully, Small Footprints and the Change the World Wednesday gang are right on board to help me. This week we’ve been challenged to create a list of unneeded household items that we can donate to charity. Hot on the list of suspects are clothing, books and bedding.

Now we all know there is nothing quite so great as a good declutter, but my issue is lack of motivation. The task feels so overwhelming. Plus my inner critic won’t let me take a rest – she is always taunting me with ‘not good enough’ and pushes me to do more and more until I burn out and become defeated.

I understand the Flylady approach of working in 15 minute bursts, I get the baby steps approach, I appreciate you can’t allow anything new into your life until you’ve released the old, but I still struggle with the words in my head. I find myself feeling depressed because I’ve been working hard yet everything seems even MORE messy. I make excuses that I’m too busy, too tired, or lament over the point, seeing as I’m living with a hoarder any way…

So what’s the answer?

I don’t know, perhaps you can share your advice with me …


  1. The Organic Blonde on January 30, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    You know, no matter how much we donate, I seem to hoard too. For me it starts as papers and being a beauty and other green product reviewer, I am constantly adding “stuff”. Sound to me like we have an ongoing challenge. Maybe we could do something together to encourage others to find their “inner minimalist” by finding it ourselves.

  2. FreshGreenKim on January 30, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    I suffer from that too, I get caught in the “how to recycle or reuse it” dilemma and it piles up. One of my best hints is to know exactly where to recycle or donate or castoffs and get on their regular pick up schedule. A lot of times they will call if a truck is in the neighborhood, or if you actually drive by the place, just make it part of your errand loop. Get in the habit of listing stuff on Freecycle too, if there is such a group in your community. Think of it as free hauling!

  3. chris levey on January 30, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    My problem in the decluttering battle does not get any smaller.
    I have a lot of wool[I mean a cupboard full] amassed over 40 years of knitting. Last year I knitted myself a strippy jumper similar to the one Mick Aston wears on Time Team, you can always find me in a crowd now as the main colour is red. Then I knitted one each for the grandchildren but the hubby has declined my offer to knit him one too. I also knitted a load of Build a Bear cloths for the School Fete. We all have wooly hats, but I still have a cupboard full of wool, now I need some new ideas.

  4. Good Girl Gone Green on January 31, 2012 at 1:47 am

    The last year I have really tried to minimize our stuff. In September we did a big clean up and gave so much stuff anyway. I am starting to hate stuff! Hopefully this will be the year of decluttering for you!! 🙂

  5. Mrs Green on January 31, 2012 at 10:56 am

    @The Organic Blonde: I like the idea of working together; accountability certainly keeps me on top of things!

    @FreshGreenKim: Oh yes, Freecycle is brilliant and I must get in the habit of putting in a charity shop drop to my weekly errands; that’s definitely something that could work for me – thanks!

    @chris levey: LOL! so much wool you don’t know how to use it up. Hmmm, there is a dilemma. Time for some freecycled magazines to give you inspiration perhaps. What about knitting blankets for orphanages? Like this

    @Good Girl Gone Green: Thanks for the encouragement! Well a month has passed and I’ve not gotten terribly far…

  6. Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking on January 31, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    I have been the same way but several years ago we started going through stuff about twice a year. That has made it so much easier than once a year because there isn’t as much to go through if you do it more often. Anyway that is one way that has helped us keep the clutter way down.

  7. Jennifer @noteasy2begreen on January 31, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    EcoCatLady mentioned that something that helped her was the idea that clutter was simply delayed decisions. This is very true for me — I hate making quick decisions and often just let things sit until later. Hearing it spelled out has enabled me to realize when I need to make a decision about something. There’s also the OHIO principle: only handle it once!

    Kevin and I are thinking about downgrading to a small house, so that has been extra motivation for us to buy less and get rid of more of what we have.

  8. Mrs Green on February 13, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    @Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking: Great tip Alicia – thank you! Small accounts is definitely the way forward on this

    @Jennifer @noteasy2begreen: Delayed decisions; that’s genius isn’t it? Thank you for sharing. Hubby is always talking about OHIO (great coming from a hoarder mind you LOL!)