Hoarders… help is at hand

We all have that place don’t we? That table top, the drawer in the kitchen, in fact, the whole room. Just full of junk.

different models of old female footwear over red tableWhy do we do it? Why do we let it accumulate, especially when we know it drives us mad, to despair, to question how we got into this mess?

It’s a classic form of self sabotage…

The paperwork conundrum

Sorting through paperwork can be stressful. Do I need this? Maybe one day I will… How long should I keep it?

And going through personal items can be emotional. I can’t get rid of this, my best friend gave it me 20 years ago. Or what if I forget that special day if this souvenir is no longer buried at the bottom of this box of ‘stuff’?

You’d be amazed at how many people live surrounded by piles of unfiled paperwork, unopened mail, birthday cards from the last five years, boxes still taped up from the last house move.

Are you one of them? You’re perfectly normal.

Sorry, we’re perfectly normal. I’m one of them too. My name is Yolanda and I’m a recovering hoarder. We’re a big club.

Letting go

We all form attachments to things. And sometimes we make them to, well… rubbish. Because, subconsciously, each niknak has a meaning attached to it and you might not ever know.

That dead plant? It represents the day you felt motivated, maybe started a new project, and you bought it to freshen up your home. Or that friendship that made us feel alive, that somehow we lost, or let fade away.

So we hang on to the dead plant because it reminds us of what we had and we’re not ready to let it go yet.

Or maybe, you’re actually quite unsentimental. Quite rightly, you decided your time is valuable and you spend it on work, fun or family. Because you’re juggling a lot of balls and one or two have been dropped.

Woman taking out a pair of brown shoes from the wall mount rack to wearThere’s not many of us that can keep every aspect of our lives immaculately organised. I know I can’t.

Here’s the thing. Decluttering can’t be a sentimental walk down memory lane. You just don’t have the time to read every card and reminisce about every holiday. And you’ll need to be prepared to make some on-the-spot decisions.

It can be traumatic; you’re going against your inner grain or well-entrenched habit, after all.

Are you ready? Take a deep breath… here are my top decluttering tips:

  • Make a plan. This stops you putting it off over and over again. Set a date when you have nothing else planned and get lots of binbags and boxes.
  • Be a label queen. You don’t have to throw everything away – some of it might be valuable, or something you can pass on. So label your boxes  Keep, Charity, Sell, Dump.
  • Steel yourself. Be tough and determined. Know it’s for your own good.
  • Take it one room at a time. As you see the clean, zen-like space appear before your very eyes it will inspire you to keep going.
  • Jazz it up. Clear space doesn’t need to be clinical and boring. When your table top is clear, dress it. Try a beautiful ornament (the one you fished out of the box in the spare room), a vase of flowers (treat yourself as a reward for your decluttering) or a photograph of the really important things you have (those you love).

Think you can’t do it? Believe me, you can. Just close your eyes imagine… how does your home look now?

Yolanda Ruddiman

About Yolanda Ruddiman

I'm a newly self employed mum to a kind and clever teenage boy and a mad, loving rescue pup. My passion is creating, especially when it's something out of nothing. This makes me a hoarder, a recycler and a skip diver. And an artist, a textiles collector and a furniture re-lover. I'm skilled in the planning and organisation of other people's mess because I can see past the chaos that leads to their despair and see the potential of what will be. You can find out more on Etsy or follow me on Facebook

  • Imogen Jamieson

    All great advice – bracing myself for a clear up having read this piece!