This episode is all about clutter; what it is, how it affects us and how we can deal with it. Learn about the five types of clutter and what questions you can ask yourself to let go of the things you no longer need, use or love. If you’ve never decluttered before and are feeling overwhelmed by the prospect, this is a great place to start.
- Download our Organising Cheat Sheet
- Join the Little Home Organised Community on Facebook
- Read the 2017 Choosi Clutter Report
- Check out Little Miss Organised’s Donation Cheat Sheet to see where your goods can go in Brisbane, Australia
BONNIE: Hello and welcome. This week we are talking about the five types of clutter. We will chat about how our stuff relates to our identity, the hold items have over us and the simple questions to let go of items that we no longer use, love or need.
LILY: But before we get into today’s episode I firstly just want to do a little bit a quick shout out to those of you who have been rating and reviewing us on apple podcasts, it really makes all the difference to people finding us and hearing about us and when they open their podcast app. We really really appreciate it, some of the things you have been saying, they are so lovely and they are so kind… so thank you so much for the feedback you are giving us and please continue to do, if you haven’t had a chance yet we would love you to, jump on over to Apple Podcasts in your app and you just write a rating and review and send it off and we will get it and we will give you a little shout out on our social media as well.
BONNIE: Yeah thank you so much we really appreciate the time that you are taking to listen, subscribe and leave a rating and review, and if you have a friend or a family member who you think would be interested in Little Home Organised we would love you to show them how they can get it in their ears on their smart phone as well. So thank you very much.
LILY: So today is all about clutter but firstly what is it? So clutter is basically anything that gets between you and the life that you want. It is kind of that excess stuff.
BONNIE: Yes and that is a saying that a very famous organiser Peter Walsh has said is that “clutter is the thing that gets between you and the life that you want” and I think it is very true, like it is really stuff that is getting in the way and you can’t find what you need or you can’t get dressed on time, or your keys are lost, or hey mum I have lost my socks and how do I get dressed for school. So stuff only becomes clutter when it is actually impacting you in such a negative way that your life is not actually going as smoothly as it would be if you didn’t have all this stuff in the way.
LILY: Like that saying that you kind of referred to Bonnie as clutter, like every time there is an item in your house, view it, instead of viewing it as an item you view it as a task, so the more clutter we have in our lives the more time that we have to spend on those things, so we become time poor and so it gets to a point in our life where clutter just isn’t serving us when we have too much stuff, but it depends on who you are because that is the other thing about clutter one persons clutter is not clutter to another person, some people are comfortable living with a certain amount of stuff around and some people are not.
BONNIE: Yes and I think that is a really important point to make, is that everybody has different standards, so we hear this all the time when we tell people, we help people declutter and organise, everybody says oh I have got this great Aunt Mildred she so needs you and I think yeah that’s great but she probably doesn’t think that she needs us and she is probably quite happy living the way that she is living and unless they are in a situation
LILY: The stuff is affecting how you feel.
BONNIE: Yeah unless she is in a situation where she is unsafe because you know there are goat tracks and piles of stuff, they literally have being people who have been buried alive under their stuff, like it is really sad when you get to that scale of things, don’t put your expectations or your standards on someone else’s, don’t think hey mum, hey dad you guys aren’t living like minimalists like we are, you should declutter, because if they don’t feel that it is a problem, or it not affecting the way that they go about their daily life, then it is not a problem and don’t put your expectations upon someone else.
LILY: For sure, so the stuff that we have, it becomes clutter when we think about how it makes us feel so if we cant find things and we are becoming frustrated that is obviously an issue.
BONNIE: Yes and another way that clutter can affect us, and this is a way that you know that clutter is starting to become a problem in your home is that when we have disagreements or there is tension about it
LILY: Or there was that Choosi report back from 2017 and there was some really interesting statistics in it all about clutter and one of them was that 1 in 9 relationships clutter ends up having a long term affect and contributes towards the reasons for divorce. 1 in 9 based on clutter
BONNIE: I know that’s a lot
LILY: That was crazy to me, to read that
BONNIE: Yeah Yeah is really is actually and I think that report also talked about how more than 40% of people said that they have argued, it is not even just there is a bit of tension, they have literally fought with each other about some ones clutter.
BONNIE: And if that’s you and you feel like you would like to get a little bit more organised we suggest that you head over to our website littlehomeorganised.com.au and download our Organising Cheat Sheet, it is a great place to get started, 5 simple steps that will help you organise any and every space in your home.
LILY: It affects our relationships when we are, you know fighting as we said but also it affects us when we can’t have people over, or as you mentioned in extreme cases it is unsafe and it doesn’t have to be unsafe in the sense that it, you know thinking of the most drastic end of the scale where we have you know the goat tracks or animal faeces and things like that in the house but is your home safe enough for small children.
BONNIE: Yes if you are grandparent or going to be a grandparent soon can you actually have your grandchildren over, is the floor clutter free enough that they can lie down on it as babies, is it clean enough that a new parent because you’re a first time parent, you know how
LILY: No I am not a classic first time mum, I don’t worry about anything…You know yes I do, yeah
BONNIE: I thought the same when I was a first time mum
LILY: I know. I know I am
BONNIE: And now I am a 3rd time mum and I think why did I worry about all that stuff but you just as you are going in the moment that’s your experience, that’s your knowledge and that is what you go with
LILY: But as a grandparent if you are having people, if you are having small children over, you know, do you know where all the hazards are in your house because if you have a lot of stuff you mightn’t realise that something that is hidden there that a child know doubt will find, it s a hazard. Think of those moments when your kids were small and you saw them grab something or pull something out and you thought, they shouldn’t have that, it is not that we are intentionally you know
BONNIE: Creating unsafe places
LILY: You know it is just life happens and so the more stuff that you have around you it makes it harder to keep things safe and so there are many things, there are many ways that our stuff can become clutter and it is no longer serving us and so today lets talk more about that and um I think first things first is we have to talk about the different types of it and explain that a little bit further
BONNIE: Yes so we have identified with Little Miss Organised that there are 5 different types of clutter and look there are items that will fall under more than one category, so lets just put that caveat out there don’t think that it only falls under one and not another because often they do come across a multiple of categories and that is okay.
LILY: So, there is 5 types of clutter and we will go into them in a bit more detail so there is useful, an abundance of stuff, homeless, aspirational and sentimental. So first things first lets start with useful clutter
BONNIE: Okay so useful clutter is always first because um this is the excuse we hear the most often when we are helping someone declutter, oh I might use this one day, yes you might but unless you have got 6 hands you can’t use 6 hammers at once.
LILY: So a great example of this might be something like lets say that you subscribe to a magazine, how old school and this magazine arrives and it comes with a free lipstick and you don’t wear lipstick, lipstick is useful but in your house it doesn’t make sense because you don’t even wear it.
BONNIE: You might have an allergy to lipstick, so this lipstick has no place in your house. So it becomes clutter if you hold onto it because you might think oh it is a great lipstick, I don’t wear lipstick but I can’t let it go to waste, I can’t throw it in the bin, you might not know where to donate it to or have anyone in your network that might like it, so you hold onto it. It is like you become
LILY: Because it is a useful item
BONNIE: Yes you become the custodian.
LILY: Yes the lipstick custodian
LILY: The cosmetic custodian
BONNIE: Oh I like that
LILY: Literation. So, another example of useful clutter might be say, oh let’s use our dad as an example, lets throw dad under the bus. Many many years ago Dad use to make these amazing rocking chairs
BONNIE: Rocking horses
LILY: Oh, sorry It was a sheep wasn’t it
BONNIE: Yeah yeah, rocking sheep, sorry
LILY: We no one is going to know what that means so what you said makes much for sense, um it’s a rocking sheep
LILY: An animal that rocks, anyway so dad made these and you need specific tools for it
LILY: Now even though one day, he doesn’t make them anymore so he, but there is specific tools that you need to make it, so if he was still holding onto the tools to make that, that would be an example of, it’s a useful tool, it is useful for that job but if you are not planning to ever do it again and it is not a part of your daily life or even when you do have time to do your hobbies, it you don’t use it, it is useful but it is clutter because it is not serving a purpose.
BONNIE: And that is a really good example to talk about the past, present, future strategy and this is a strategy that you can apply in this example where making that rocking sheep was part of dads past and so the tools made sense back then but it is not part of his present and he is not planning to do it again in his future so it becomes clutter because
LILY: Much to my dismay
BONNIE: I know
LILY: I really want him to make me one
BONNIE: Now that you have kids
LILY: I know
BONNIE: Oh you know what he could pick it up again you never know and the thing is he can get those tools again it is not like they have disappeared of the face of the earth
LILY: This is the advantage of living in the age of technology where we have got you know gum tree in Australia, we have got a Facebook market place, you know if something isn’t serving you anymore, you sell it, things are affordable and 10 years down the track if you want that item again you will be able to get it affordably.
BONNIE: Yes this is very true, so useful clutter is all about the items that have use and you might be someone who is a prolific seminar junky and you get lots of free notepads and they are really useful but you have got lots of them and you are not going to be able to use all of them
LILY: And it is hard because you are like oh this has a use but that doesn’t mean it is what you need in your life, in your house.
BONNIE: Exactly and so number 2 that we are going to talk about is abundance clutter and this is where we are talking about multiples of things, so this is where collections can come into it because people will say to me, oh well it is a collection, oh that’s fantastic that you have a magazine collection but if it is all getting stored up in boxes in a dusty old garage where they are actually falling apart
LILY: And you are not getting to enjoy them everyday
BONNIE: And you are not enjoying them or no ones is enjoying them, well I think it is actually just clutter abundance clutter rather than a collection, so there is that fine line between am I actually using this collection for example, um am I using it towards its full potential, am I appreciating it, honouring it, or is it really just stuff that I am holding onto that is actually not getting used at all
LILY: And you are going to hear us saying it time and time again throughout this whole episode, is it, you know I might use it, or just in case and it applies to all of these types of clutter, is the reasons that we hang onto it are valid but then we need to shift our perspective and think okay just because it is valid, doesn’t mean it is right for me
BONNIE: Yes, yes this is exactly true and so with these multiples this abundance clutter I want you to think in terms of your books, do you have more books than you could ever actually read, do you have more DVDs than you could ever actually watch, that is a really common one. Do you have more craft than you could ever actually craft with, this is when things that are useful become abundance clutter because we just have far too many of them.
LILY: And there is a difference to like if you are someone like, let’s throw mum under the bus, we threw dad under let’s bring her into it as well
BONNIE: Why not
LILY: So mum has a craft room and she has got lots of different fabrics and things in there for quilting and sewing and she makes lots of stuff for her grandkids and shout out to mum we really love it, we really appreciate it. She actively goes through that stuff and doesn’t really hold onto excess in that space because she actively uses it.
LILY: And so I think that you can have a multiple different types of fabrics provided that there is no so many that you never use them, or there is not so many that you don’t even know what you have to be able to use it
BONNIE: Yes so it is about having them organised in such a way that you can access them when you need them but also knowing I can’t keep two cupboards full of fabrics because there is no way in my lifetime I will be able to get through them all
LILY: Or I just simply don’t have the space
BONNIE: Yeah and often we can keep things but not realise that by keeping them and not actually using them, they are degrading in their quality, it is a bit like when you buy clothes from a lot of the bit chain stores, if we keep them in storage because you know we might be having another child or we want to pass them on to someone else, or we want to keep them for our grandkids often the clothes are not made of a high enough quality that they will actually last, and so by storing them rather than donating them, someone else has missed out on that opportunity to get some more wear out of that item, instead we just left it in a box and it just kind of disintegrated to a point where no one can actually get anything out of it anymore.
LILY: Considering we are talking about abundance clutter is this the appropriate time to mention hording toilet paper
BONNIE: Toilet paper gate, oh goodness me
LILY: No lets not go down that road but I would say the one thing about the whole toilet paper thing is, I am always going to need toilet paper, I should, its on sale I am going buy 10 bulk packets of it or there is a pandemic, or whatever, lets just say there is a pandemic
LILY: But if you do that it is clutter when you can’t fit it in your storage cupboard, you know like, so this is where we have to weigh things up about having, or I am going to have 5 pens that fully function um in my desk draw versus 30 pens that all function but now my desk is cluttered and I can’t fit other things in the space
BONNIE: This is true and I am thinking when you said toilet paper don’t have so much that you could never actually use it before it runs out or because you have too much, you know you don’t have enough space.
LILY: Or you have nowhere to store it. So our next type of clutter is homeless clutter
BONNIE: Yes and homeless clutter is all the items in your house that you have never given a home to, so these are the things that just float around and you can never find them because you have never actually given them a home. It is like they are on perpetual holiday, but they never actually stop and make a home anywhere
LILY: A holiday from hell
BONNIE: It is a holiday from hell
LILY: So I guess I can relate to homeless clutter a little bit when I do my shifting of things, when like I put them down and then move it to another place to another place
LILY: I am a shuffler, yeah put it down but if it doesn’t have a designated home and you are trying to deal with it, you just end up like you know moving it all around but it needs somewhere to live, it needs somewhere to be organised so think of the classic batteries in your junk draw
LILY: They just kind of roll around
LILY: We all know that junk draw, we have all got one, or hopefully not
BONNIE: I don’t
LILY: Of course you don’t
BONNIE: That would be a bit weird if I did I suppose
LILY: Yep, or no it would just make you normal
BONNIE: Or Normal, does that mean that I am abnormal?
LILY: I mean…. We really haven’t got much time to go into that Bonnie
BONNIE: Lets leave that for a therapy session hey
LILY: Lets do that, but yeah homeless clutter is those floating things, so think about lets say you have a designated space for your shoes but you have so many shoes that there is an overflow of shoes that are just in and around the house, so maybe you have some shoes when you walk into your house, some shoes that are at the back door, some shoes that are, you flicked off when you walked into your bedroom ,some that are actually in the shoe cupboard. Some that are in boxes, you know that’s where those items, they all should have one home and they don’t, and so that is when your house can start to feel cluttered because there are things that are kind of everywhere but don’t really have the proper designated home because the home that you have assigned for it or the space that you are currently just using for it doesn’t actually fit all the stuff and then you know you have systems in your house where you flick things off here, there and everywhere. So your shoes just end up everywhere.
BONNIE: Mmm yes, so think of like your unopened mail as well, it you don’t have a system for your paperwork, go and listen to our paperwork episode if you haven’t got a system for paper but when that unopened mail just gets plonked on the bench or um you know a flat surface as you walk passed because flat surfaces are magnetic if you didn’t know that already, that is homeless clutter because you haven’t given it a home anywhere.
LILY: We have a crock pot that we have just made a home for which is a perfect example of homeless clutter so it was something that was useful, we like to do slow cooking but we didn’t have a designated space for it in the kitchen, we brought it out of our storage room of doom and it ended up sitting in a really odd spot in like the dinning room area on the floor for a couple of weeks because we just couldn’t find a spot for it but we didn’t want to take it down back downstairs because we knew we wanted to use it more regularly now it was winter and then last weekend we finally went no lets make a space for it and it actually fits in a cupboard now nicely so it is no longer homeless and it is no longer an eyesore for me.
BONNIE: Can I just broach something for you and this may feel like I am sharing too much of your personal life but
LILY: Here we go
BONNIE: I think it is really important for people to know you are currently sharing a kitchen with another couple, you are sharing with your in laws so you have to make sure that you are making decisions as the four of you about how that space in that kitchen is used.
LILY: Yes because it is their home
BONNIE: Yes so you are invaders, you need to be courteous and that is why the crockpot has sat on the floor for a few weeks until space could be made
LILY: Is it really courteous that I am putting the crockpot on the floor?
BONNIE: Probably not
LILY: Bringing my stuff upstairs
BONNIE: Its your not so subtle way of saying I want this in the kitchen somewhere
LILY: I think it was more the, I just didn’t want to commit to taking it downstairs because I knew I had to do something with it and then I was like oh its fine to live here and then after a few weeks I was like it not fine to live here, my son is about to start crawling and that is what we are doing at the moment, we are totally trying to get into the mindset of grandparent house, small baby and making everything safe for him, but I digress um let us. You know let’s take a break, lets do a clutter confession
BONNIE: Yes lets do it
Anonymous caller: My clutter confession is I have a draw full of old phones and you might be thinking oh yeah he has got a couple of old iPhones, no I have got six iPhones all the way from the iPhone 1 to a couple of iPhone 3GS, I have an iPhone 6 and an iPhone 7. I have got 2 HTC, an M8 and M9 and I have a got a Samsung galaxy 8+ and that is just the ones I haven’t thrown out.
LILY: I like how he really knows exactly what he has got.
BONNIE: There was an iPhone 1.
LILY: I guess there would have to have been an iPhone 1
BONNIE: I mean the only one that I heard about was the 3, that was first one I got so
LILY: Wow maybe it is worth something now
BONNIE: Yeah what did I miss out on
LILY: Oh isn’t that interesting like the way some of us keep technology like that,
BONNIE: yes some people are really keen on honouring the creative genius of things like that and especially as an apple user myself there are a lot of people who like really love and celebrate the cool things that apple has done over the years.
LILY: I feel like, yeah the technology that they have created has definitely changed our lives for the better in many ways
BONNIE: Oh, it definitely has but isn’t that interesting I wonder what he is planning on doing with all of those phones one day. Is he going to donate them to a museum or have a museum himself?
LILY: Yeah, his own little museum in his bedroom draw
BONNIE: Yeah because I actually had a client years ago who was also a tech person and had this amazing amount of tech stuff downstairs, like computers and typewriters and all of these devices that he wanted to keep and honour but you know they were all getting all kind of dusty and dirty and stuff but it is a cool thought
LILY: Yeah there is something cool about the stamp in time that they represent.
BONNIE: Mmm yeah that is really true
LILY: That’s cool
LILY: Alright so we are talking about the 5 types of clutter, we have already talked about useful clutter, abundance clutter, homeless clutter and now we are going to talk about aspirational clutter and this is a juicy topic
BONNIE: I love aspirational clutter because everybody has got it and if you don’t know what it is, it is items that have potential, so the classic aspirational clutter example is the treadmill,
LILY: Oh yes
BONNIE: Mmmhmm yep and what happens when we buy a treadmill is we think yep I am going to get up early, I am going to watch TV or listen to a podcast, Little Home Organised
LILY: Great idea
BONNIE: While I am exercising on my treadmill and you might do that for a little while but it just never sticks and then it is one of those foldup treadmills so you kind of shove it in a corner and then whenever you have a rainy day and you need some extra hanging space there is the treadmill
LILY: Oh, but that treadmill sits there because no you are gonna get in shape
BONNIE: Yes and you are going to get back to it
LILY: Strengthen those bones by doing for walks every morning on that treadmill and you know what good intentions, it is all about that self bodement, the things that I want to do for myself or how I want to grow as person and you know when I think about aspirational clutter that I have currently got at the moment I have got these awesome little, they are these small glass jars that are designed for making your own dressing so salads and things like that.
BONNIE: Oh that is very elaborate
LILY: Is it
LILY: Oh, so
BONNIE: I am lazy I just can’t be bothered.
LILY: Well I like the idea of knowing what’s in my food
BONNIE: Oh fair call
LILY: Right and so like it is so simple to make your own dressings but it is, the reason I haven’t done it yet is I want to make sure it is a dressing that I make that I don’t have to worry too much about when it goes off
LILY: I want to, I have to think about having a variety an effort that goes into making it and then putting it, there is just like a few things about it but it has become like an effort for me.
BONNIE: I was going to say
LILY: Do I really want to do it
BONNIE: It sounds just too hard
LILY: But I figure if I make it once and put it in these little jars and then put it in the fridge and it can sit in there for no matter how long I am like sweet it is done but I don’t know I have made a road block in my mind but that is aspirational clutter, that is oh I am going to be the person who makes their own dressings that’s why I am keeping those jars.
LILY: Jars are a big one, you know
LILY: I’m going to keep these jars because they are really pretty for decorations or a party
BONNIE: I am going to grow plants in them
LILY: I am going to put tealights in them, I’m going to put plants in them Yeah like I can bring them out the decorate when you know it gives me options or I am really going to get into making jams or whatever it might be and you know even potentially you are one of those people who wants to go from plastics over to glasses
BONNIE: Yes, yes
LILY: But you want to do it all at once and you want to make sure they are matching and so you are storing them ready to do that but you have never done it.
BONNIE: Mmmm yeah
LILY: Things like that
BONNIE: Yeah that’s true or you are someone who wants to preserve all their own food and do all their own tomato paste and their pesetas and stuff like that and yeah you are storing up the jars for when you get the time to finally switch over but it just never happens.
LILY: And it is especially when you feel really strong about it, like there is a lot of stuff in the kitchen for me where I am like I want to do that, I want to make a lot of my own stuff, you know I make sauerkraut I have been making my own sourdough bread. I brew Kombucha tea, I have been doing that for a couple of years
BONNIE: Kom what?
BONNIE: Yes, see we have this little disagreement about how to pronounce this, I think it is Kombucha
LILY: Oh I think it is Kombucha
BONNIE: But I think that is because you have been in America for to long, I mean you say zeee instead of z
LILY: I do say zeee, I do say zeee, alright well if you can let us know we will put a poll up on the Facebook group
BONNIE: Is it Kombucha or is it Kombucha let’s have a pole
LILY: Now I don’t know which one I say
BONNIE: You say Kombucha
LILY: Kombucha like boot
BONNIE: Kombucha baby
LILY: I’m a Bucha baby, the point is I make it and so I like doing lots of those things in the kitchen and I would love to do more and so that is why I hold onto these, I even do cheese making. Having said that since I have had my baby I haven’t actually done cheese making in about 5 months now and it is really not that hard, like it doesn’t take long and I really enjoy it but it was like a timing thing. So I think when you are looking at cluttered stuff that you have and it is aspirational is it something that you are just putting off and you’re like no I will get to it this year. Or is it something that you have been aspiring to do for 10 years and it is time to maybe take a step back and think okay am I actually going to do this.
BONNIE: Mmmm I think of a client of mine a few years ago and he was an older gentleman in his 70’s and he had a bike and we were doing the garage declutter and I said to him oh you know are you riding because he was quite over weight and he was such a sweet man but he was quite overweight and had a lot of health problems and he was very stiff when he walked and that sort of thing, and I said oh have you ridden lately? And he said oh no it has been a while and then I talked to his wife and his daughter and they said I think he last rode it 12 years ago or something and I said oh and what does your doctor think about you riding and he said oh yeah no probably shouldn’t be doing it, and so I said okay what do you want to do with this and he was like yeah we should probably let it go but had we not gone through that kind of discussion
LILY: It’s challenging isn’t it
BONNIE: He’s like I am getting back on that bike one day but he had to get to a point where he needed to realise actually that is really dangerous for me now, I can’t do it
LILY: Or I can’t do it all, so think… Lets use an example of lets say you are a grandma now and you love making quilts and you start, your aspirational clutter is you start, you end up with 100s of quilting books and 100s of fabrics and you don’t have the time and you are well meaning and intentional and you just really do want to make quilts but it has just not happened for you because of your life that’s when we have to start to look at this and think all this stuff it isn’t actually serving me, you know my aspirational clutter is too much maybe I need to pick you know one quilting project
BONNIE: It is also like when you see a catalogue coming through for roller-skates oh my gosh roller-skates are so cheap I can get a pair for $59 and you are like I have always wanted to learn to roller-skate so you buy those roller-skates and they sit in the garage and you look at them and think yeah I am going to learn to roller-skate
LILY: Because how cool would that be
BONNIE: I know so cool and then they just sit there and years go by and all of a sudden those roller-skates that you had great plans and intentions for become aspirational clutter because realistically you have never wanted to do enough to sacrifice something else and spend the time learning to do it.
LILY: Yes and this is the big message right, everything that we are talking about getting organised, decluttering is to create more time for you, reclaimed time for the things you love. If you had more time, if you do declutter your home, if you do get more organised, you get to stage where you can just maintain your home then these things that you are aspiring to do you may find one, actually I don’t even with all this time I am clearly not interested in it as you mentioned or two you may find you suddenly have the time to be the person who roller-skates but we can’t sit there and pretend and wait and assume that it is going to be option B.
BONNIE: It is a bit of a vicious circle because people will say to me, oh I really want to do this and kind of hold onto it until we finish decluttering and yes for some of those things absolutely go ahead and do it but then for other people that holding onto it until you have decluttered and gotten organised is actually the mentality and the mindset that is stopping you from getting organised in the first place
LILY: Yeah yep
BONNIE: That is why letting go of the old does make space for the new, so if you want new stuff or new opportunities or new relationships or new experiencing to come into your life, that is where letting go of things from the past that are no longer serving you is really important.
LILY: It is a beautiful thing to be someone who wants to aspire to be more and to do more and I think that is wonderful but I also think we do need to be a bit more realistic with our aspirations.
BONNIE: Yeah now lets talk about the last type of clutter,
LILY: Oh, this one is hard isn’t it
BONNIE: It is
LILY: Sentimental clutter, this is something that affects all of us and it is a really challenging topic
BONNIE: Yep yes it is because we have all got stuff in our lives that is sentimental to us and I think back to some clients I am working with at the moment and the husband he is so I don’t really have much stuff, like I’m not very sentimental but you ask him to get rid of the football jerseys or the kids football jerseys and he is like no way Jose that is my football team and I am not letting go of that paraphernalia
LILY: Because it is sentimental
BONNIE: Yeah so we all have stuff that we love to hang onto and that’s, I think that’s okay it is just about having the boundary and the space for it
LILY: Yeah what limit are we putting on the things that we do value and hold sentimentally
BONNIE: Yes, so what are the types of things that we would consider being sentimental clutter Lil
LILY: Oh okay lets start with photographs, like I cant even begin but for those of us especially who still have all these physical photos like once it has been physically printed and you can hold it and touch it in your hands and you know engage with that memory it is so hard to not feel sentimental and not have all these emotions come up when you look at a photo.
BONNIE: You know it is really interesting, I have had so many clients over the years especially people who are grandparents look at a photo of one of their grandchildren that they are not using, it is not in a frame, there are digital copies of it and they can’t let go of it, they are like, I feel like I am throwing out that child. And it is like a real physical feeling that you give out letting go of just what is in essence a piece of paper that has been printed on but like there is this whole psychology behind that attachment we feel to it and that is what I find so fascinating.
LILY: Oh yeah there are so many things that are sentimental, there are things that we name and everyone would go oh year that is sentimental and then there are other things that is just particularly sentimental to a person so a wedding dress that you have hung on to because it represents this amazing time where you got married, you know maybe it is baby clothing, clothing that you put your children into that you have held onto and is really special to you and you want their children to try it and wear it as well, maybe you did an amazing cruise or trip overseas, hopefully not on the Ruby Princess
LILY: Topical um but maybe you went on this amazing trip and you know you kept your plane ticket or there are things that you keep and you hold onto and you are like oh when I look and hold this I feel really strongly all these memories come up
BONNIE: Yes and furniture is another really big one for people so if you have had parents or grandparents or even great grandparents who have had you know amazing furniture maybe it is the writing desk, maybe it’s grandmothers china, like if you look back to kind of 100 years ago people, society um when you got married you would get other peoples furniture passed down to you and you would be so grateful for it
LILY: Furniture for generations, tells a story
BONNIE: Yes and now days when people get married it is like please just give us money so that we can buy stuff that we want
LILY: Let us buy our own furniture, decorate our own house. I have a piece of sentimental, I have a sentimental item that our Oma and Opa our Dutch grandparents who are no longer with us had in their house and had for many many years, the globe is no longer accurate because it is so old like obviously it got updated, it is beautiful
BONNIE: Yes, yes it is
LILY: And when I look at it I just feel connected to them
BONNIE: I often look at that and think how did she end up with that, I wonder if she would notice if I just took it
LILY: And I look at your opal ring and I think the same thing
BONNIE: We it’s a good thing we are so good at sharing right, we have to teach our children that
LILY: But there are these items and they just bring out all these like these feelings and that is an interesting point that especially when we talk about grandparents and holding onto the things from the generations before us is sentimental items is it can really become clutter when we start to feel like we have to hold onto everything.
BONNIE: Yes and I think that’s what is really important to remind ourselves is with all these types of clutter they are all fine to have in small amounts but it is when they become excess or abundant or things that are no longer serving us because they are aspirational then that’s when it becomes an issue and we have got a couple of questions that if you have never decluttered before these are the questions to ask yourself so that you can let go of the things that are no longer serving you.
LILY: So firstly: Look at this item, how does this item make me feel?
BONNIE: So what I wanted to say about that one really quickly is if you have got something that is not sentimental say it’s a dress and you have gone to wear it a couple of times and it just makes you feel frumpy but yet you keep trying to hopefully wear it one day and it will make you feel better
LILY: Keep trying to make it work
BONNIE: Yeah, let it go, if that item is making you feel negative every time you try and wear it or look at it, let it go, let is fulfil it’s potential with somebody else.
LILY: So firstly how does this item make me feel? Secondly Do I have more than 1? Thirdly Have I used this in the last 2 years?
BONNIE: And you can change that, if you are someone who gets rid of things regularly you might say okay I am going to look at the boundary of 6 months, have I used it in the last 6 months? If you are someone who likes to hold onto things a little bit more maybe you are going to use the boundary of 5 years, this is all very personal, you have got to make it work for you.
LILY: Next is this part of my past, present or future? Like Bonnie was talking about earlier, it may have served you in a previous time but is this a part of your presence now, it is actually going to be a part of your future going forward?
BONNIE: That’s right, am I using this item to its full potential? A book is to be read, are you reading it, or can somebody else get that joy out of it?
LILY: Would this item be easy or cheap to replace if needed?
BONNIE: And my favourite question, what’s the worse than could happen if I let it go?
LILY: And one of the things that really helped me get into to decluttering process and embrace letting go of things is knowing that when you let go of something you can be giving it a new life
LILY: By passing it on to someone else who might really need it. So potentially you are donating it to a certain charity that is going to give it specifically to someone who is going to get such job and practical use out of it and that is really, like that makes it easier to know, like if I can donate responsibly
BONNIE: Yes, and that is why I think a lot of clients love giving stuff to us because they know that we are really passionate about making sure that their donations go to a good home
LILY: And on that note I will mention if you are local in Brisbane you can head to the Little Miss Organised website you actually have a Donations Cheat Sheet. I really love it because it really clearly shows of I have baby clothing, where should I send that and so you can look for the item and then see the different organisations that are best appropriate to send that item
LILY: And if you are ever not sure feel free to reach out to us and ask and we can definitely point you in the right direction as well
BONNIE: Yes we are all about the networking and the resources. Now if you have never decluttered before and you are wondering where do I start let’s talk about this week’s tidy task because this one is just for you. So we often find that our bedside draws have got a mixture of clutter in there, we have got sentimental items, like our baby’s hospital bands, and maybe mothers day artwork that our kids have given us, that sort of thing, mixed in with books that we are reading, hand creams that we may or may not be using, that kind of thing. So the tidy task this week is I would like you to go through your bedside table. So if you have too many draws, just pick one draw to start with and pull everything out and give the draw a wipe over and actually do a sort through and see what types of clutter do you actually have in there? Is this hand cream something useful that you are going to use or do you have 5 of them and it becomes abundance clutter because there are too many. So, work out what is in your bedside table, sort it into the type of clutter that it is and make some decisions on whether is going to stay in your home or go elsewhere.
LILY: That’s it for this weeks episode, thank you so much for tuning in, we know how busy life can be and we really appreciate you guys lending us your ears
BONNIE: And remember progress not perfection.
LILY: See you later, bye.
We would love to see the conversation going, head over to the Little Home Organised Community group on Facebook, ask questions, find motivation and share your before and afters, and if you enjoyed the show please help us going by hitting subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or where ever you listen. It is free and ensures you do not miss and episode but if you really want to share the love leave us a rating and review. Trust me it makes all the difference in the world.