The only area where alone
we are in control
Yes, GloriousMe has a little more ginger, anchovies, flour for pasta and parmesan in the pantry during these times of the pandemic. But before things were rushed away, as usual, we radically cleared things out.
It’s shameful that when the pantry was radically cleared out, expensive specialties saw the light of day, some of which had expired decades ago: green walnuts from Austria, preserved lemons from Italy and other spices that were planned for very special meals.
Millimeter by millimeter, they slowly slid backwards in the pantry until, despite being naturally preserved, they seemed to pose a health risk.
This had four effects:
1. No excessive new stocks are built up, because at a glance you can see what is still available.
2. Culinary delicacies are now on the table much faster and everyone is happy.
3. The feeling of having created a really radical order is powerful and lasts.
4. Radical tidying up makes it easier and has potential for addiction — step by step it’s now all the other rooms’ turn.
It’s a different kind of control
People in whose closets or basements it is piling up are often personalities who are otherwise very well organized. You are often characterized by a high degree of discipline and are excellent at planning and organizing: in professional life or in voluntary work, for the family, for organisations, teams, employees and customers.
This commitment usually goes hand in hand with a high investment of time, so that in the few hours of free time, the desire to tackle the mountain of clean-up work is low and more interesting, exciting or relaxing activities take precedence.
In this way, only the essentials are cleaned up and without any real sense of achievement. For a short time, the apartment or house looks passable, but it doesn’t give the impression that you’ve really made any decisive progress in cleaning up.
In extremely exceptional situations and sometimes also in the professional environment, we notice that it is not possible to keep control despite great commitment and the best of intentions. Radically tidying up your own home creates a pleasant feeling of happiness.
Suddenly you regain control of all the things that have accumulated over time and which, sometimes imperceptibly, have begun to take our breath away. The result: More freedom and more joy in the things that are dear and valuable to us.
You can’t clean up radically between two conference calls or with a project’s tight deadline in mind. At the end of a long day, to use the time left over to effectively declutter and restructure? Forget it because that way you only manage to tackle the bare essentials.
However, if you really want to restructure your room, cupboards, basement or attic and keep the new order, then it is worth taking the following tips to heart:
Four hours is the minimum
Below that, it’s hardly worth starting. Because not only clearing out and restructuring takes time. The things you want to part with also take time. Especially if you don’t want to take everything to your city’s recycling center in big boxes, but want to dispose of things more sustainably by selling, giving away, changing.
Most of the things we want to part with are still good to use and have been produced with too many resources to send to the landfill.
Start with a manageable and visible area
Clearing out radicals requires a certain routine. The first room, the first closet takes the most time; after that, a certain clean-up mode sets in. Therefore, do not start with a huge basement with great ambition, but rather with a manageable area that you will often see in everyday life afterwards.
As good as the feeling may be of finally having the attic in good shape, seeing the new order and structure every day or even several times a day is the best incentive to tackle the next area.
Maybe it’s just a single shelf or window sill you want to start with because pictures, books or decorative pieces have accumulated there. Reduced by half or even 80 percent, every single part suddenly has the chance to have a unique effect.
Daylight lets you see more clearly
Bright day list is ideal for radical decluttering. You can see stains and damage better and “viewed in daylight” each individual object has to prove itself better. The emotional decision to part with things is easier in the harsh daylight.
ountdown: organize sacks, boxes and a large mirror
Garbage bags and various boxes are the most important utensils when clearing out. Because everything that you part with should be separated in the same way for further recycling or disposal. The boxes are practical for transporting heavy objects and at the same time boxes on the shelf or closet help to maintain the overview and order once achieved.
Everything must Go
Radical decluttering starts with clearing everything out of the shelf, closet, or other area. Seeing the empty cupboard or the empty shelf gives a good feeling. One is usually amazed at how much space has ever found space there – a first healing effect.
Every object, every piece of clothing, every can, every book, every candle, every glass, every bag, every folder should be picked up individually in order to make the decision afterwards: Can go or stay there.
Remains there but visible
The main principle of maintaining order is to increase the visibility of items. Nobody throws away food in good conscience. It usually happens because the food was simply not in view.
And who doesn’t know it, the hectic search for a specific T-shirt. The stack flies apart in a hurry until the part you are looking for finally turns up. Worse, sometimes you buy a piece of clothing only to find later that you’ve already had the nearly identical piece stored in the back of your closet.
It is therefore important when putting away to keep an eye on all parts in the future. T-shirts, socks, tops, pants, towels, etc. can be folded and then rolled. The rolled parts are then sorted into a drawer or box so that in future each individual part can be seen at first glance. Books in the second row have had their day.
Stacks of any kind are only a solution if each part of the stack is clearly identifiable. Once you have sorted through a first area, you get a good feeling as to how many boxes you need and which boxes are best for you.
Same and same
The second general principle is: like to like. So you can see at a glance that you have three bottles of maple syrup but only one pack of the much-loved sea salt that you need several times a day.
In the closet, it makes sense to organize things by type of clothing and then by colour, or separate them according to specific functionalities such as summer and winter, types of sports, prom wear, etc.
Tightening – the ultimate endurance test
Even if it costs time and nerves: It is worth putting on every piece of clothing that you want to put back in your closet beforehand. Hence the recommendation of the large mirror and the harsh daylight. You can imagine why.
Alone or in pairs
Separating from objects is not always easy emotionally. We often associate objects with transfigured moments from the past. That’s where the raised eyebrow of a constructive friend can help when we start arguing why we’re attached to certain objects.
A professional tidying consultant, whose fee is usually billed by the hour or day, can also be helpful in speeding up the decision-making process and not repeatedly pulling things out of the garbage bag that you actually wanted to get rid of.
Marie Kondo, probably the best-known decluttering consultant, advises to consider whether the item makes you happy and only keep the items that still bring you joy. This works with some things, but not with all.
Most of the time, we start wanting to keep things for reasons that don’t bring us much joy. We or our parents once paid a lot of money for it, we haven’t worn the item of clothing for years, but we might need it when we get older. The item was a gift and we don’t want to seem heartless. The piece of furniture is an heirloom and we are not yet done with our mourning.
Radical cleanup is the best therapy
If we come across objects while clearing out that we didn’t even know we had, we obviously didn’t miss them.
When we help friends clean up and the cleanup never ends. we often get a more distant picture of the extent of our own possessions.
Parting with objects is never heartless if others can be happy about it.
Shared happiness is double happiness
When it comes to radical decluttering, most of us end up with a large amount of items that we want to get rid of but have value to another human being. The recycling yard should therefore use the last
There are numerous online platforms where you can sell things, clothes, books, household items, furniture, etc. In every city there are social department stores, clothing stores, social services, antique dealers, bookcases.
After the first radically tidy cupboard or the first completely tidy room, you get a pretty good feeling about who might need which things or who can help you and whom you can help.
Less means more euphoria
Sweeping a little from left to right isn’t really fun. Seeing an entire closet or a room radically tidied up and restructured creates euphoria and the feeling of a fresh start with less ballast.
So the euphoria remains
The simple rule here is that something new only comes if a previous item is replaced. When you have reached the last page of the book, you are guaranteed to think of a second reader who you can make exactly this book happy. A new piece of clothing only goes into the closet if an old one goes in its place.
If not, think honestly about why you want to buy something right now. Is it really about the subject, or have you been terribly upset, has a decision made you frustrated or sad, do you feel like something is out of your control?
There are many reasons to buy and we basically know that the euphoria when clicking on the shopping cart or when leaving the shop often does not last very long and does not change the basic problem.
It often helps to remember the radical clean-out process and the time invested in it, rather than enjoying the things that are there. The time before sales events of any kind (whether Black Friday or summer sales) are good times to start radically clearing out.
And the new clarity helps to see that you already own five pepper mills and that your Christmas card supply will last until the year 2090.
You are free to decide
Once the things you want to part with are out of the house, it feels like you can breathe easier and face the future with less worries. And the rarest and most beautiful thing: tidying up is one of the few things that we have completely in our own hands.
Anyone who has ever had to completely clear out someone else’s apartment usually decides to radically create order in their own home and reduce the number of things so as not to burden anyone else with this task. So, if there’s energy left after this emotionally difficult task, move on to the next radical clean-up.
If not now then when?