Decluttering is good for the soul. Not only does it create more space and lessen stress, sometimes you can find unexpected treasure.
One of my closest friends was telling me how they were having a decluttering session, and that it made them feel so good that they were going to carry on the next day. But what they didn’t expect was to find was a soft toy that used to be cuddled by a much-loved relative who had passed.
Coincidentally, during one of these sessions, my friend happened to be having a terrible day. Finding this toy brought them a lot of comfort and found a new special place in their heart.
If it wasn’t for decluttering, that treasure might have remained hidden for many more years, unable to offer the comfort that was so desperately needed.
How many times have you tidied or had a spring clear out, only for your jaw to drop and you to shout , “So that’s where that went!”
How many times have you discovered something which warmed your heart, but was found among meaningless objects?
When was the last time you felt guilt for finding something special tucked away in a cold, dark place or buried under piles of clutter?
That’s because through minimalism, you can discover what’s important to you, which can, in turn, help you realise that maybe those other things aren’t as important as you first believed. Sometimes, the recovered space might be your treasure.
On the flip side of the coin, you might also find objects which trigger pain or sadness: a letter or gift from an ex, for example. If you find anything which makes you feel bad, consider letting go to carve a path to the future rather than treading back over the past.
If thoughts about finding and dealing with such objects make your stomach churn, then this post on decluttering sentimental objects is for you.
In the meantime, here’s a simple list of things you can start decluttering today. Perhaps you will find a hidden treasure…
Living room/Office/Junk drawer
- Old paperwork
- Old magazines (unless you happen to be collecting a certain one)
- An excess of books – keep only the ones you love or are definitely going to read. Beware of ‘someday’. If ‘someday’ creeps into your mind, donate.
- Pens – they multiply like rabbits, disappearing and reappearing in random places seemingly at will.
- An excess of notepads
- Old receipts
- Out of date medicines
- Out of date makeup
- An excess of cleaning supplies or half-used ancient products.
- Half-empty but unused toiletries
- Freebies that never got used
- Out of date toiletries
- Jewellery you’ve fallen out of love with
- Clothes you’ve fallen out of love with or that no longer fit
- Handbags – do you really need one for every outfit?
- Shoes – too many lead to decision fatigue and lack of space. My shoes are nice enough to be useful both for evenings out, and for a casual summer day in town. I also have a pair of Vans I use purely for casual wear.
- Coats and other outerwear (if you’re one of those people who has a coat for every outfit in their wardrobe and at slightly different thicknesses for every type of weather)
- CD’s you no longer listen to or that you own digitally
- DVD’s you no longer watch or prefer to just watch digitally
- Videogames you no longer play, or that you own digitally (unless you’re a collector)
- Cables – do you really need 20 USB cables?
- Broken or extremely outdated technology that’s useless
- Plates and dishes
- Cutlery and other utensils – watch for duplicates
- Cups and glasses. These tend to build up over the years until you could run your own cafe/bar
- Out of date food and condiments, or food that people don’t seem to eat. Certain types of food can be donated to foodbanks as long as it’s all in date and unopened.
Airing cupboard/Under bed
- Old towels – animal centres often need these
- Old bed sheets, or an excess of bed sheets- once again, an animal centre or homeless shelter could make use of them.
- Old school work
- Old toys your children outgrew
- Gifts that you’ve never used or secretly didn’t want or need
- Photos – ones that trigger bad memories, are bad quality, or have a hundred duplicates
- Anything broken that you said you would fix ‘someday’
- An excess of tools such as screwdrivers, hammers, spare screws etc. Watch for duplicates.
- Souvenirs from holidays that mean little to you (often, it’s the actual memories that bring you joy, not the mug with the landmark or country on)
- Keyrings (I used to have about 6 on my house key, plus a few more to choose from). Now I have one for my key, and another on my favourite bag. That’s it.
- An excess of ornaments and trinkets. These can be a source of hidden stress without you even realising. They take up loads of space and make cleaning tasks take double or triple the time than if that surface was clear.
I talk about some of these things in more detail here
But what if I actually want to refill my space, or bring life to that empty corner?, I hear you panic. In that case, let me tell you; It’s far more uplifting to get plants, instead. House plants give you a sense of being in nature and will help to filter and oxygenate the air. Just don’t be like me and forget to water them.
Have you found any hidden treasure from decluttering? Let me know in the comments.