This month, it was half a dozen presentation folders – card folders to present a file of papers attractively. I think I bought them about 23 years ago and they’ve been in the top drawer of my filing cabinet ever since. Didn’t look like I was ever going to use them did it? Someone on GreenCycleSussex was delighted to have them though.
About five years ago, I noticed how anxious I was becoming about the amount of stuff I owned, and the sense that it was ever-increasing. I’d been living in my house for about seven years by that point and, without a house move forcing me to go through everything, I was starting to forget what I’d got. I’d find myself buying something only to realise I already had it, not to mention running out of storage space.
So I came up with a schedule for decluttering my house. I created a Word document containing a table, in the first column of which I listed, by room, every drawer and cupboard in my house. And each month since (give or take a few busy periods, when I’ve missed a month or two and caught up later), I’ve gone through the next cupboard or drawer on the list, seeing what I can get rid of (usually by Freegling or Freecycling it). I then put the date that I decluttered that place in the next column, creating new columns each time I’ve been right round the house (which takes about three years).
Without fail, every month, I think to myself ‘I doubt there’s anything in this drawer/cupboard that I can get rid of’. And there always is. Plus stuff I find a new use for, or a more logical or handier place to keep.
It takes me no more than half an hour a month and, as a result, my stuff is well-organised, my house is clutter-free, I’ve got plenty of storage space and my environmental impact is lower (because stuff I don’t use gets used by others and because I don’t buy things I’ve already got). When I pick up something from a charity shop or freegle/freecycle, the pleasure of the new (to me) item isn’t sullied by anxiety about constantly adding to the stuff I own and the clutter in my house.
Try it for yourself? If you do, please comment below to let me know how you get on.