declutter

On Decluttering and Tidying

I’m lucky in the sense that tidying and decluttering comes pretty naturally to me. I just prefer living in a space that has a sense of order. It helps me to feel calm and helps me to sort through my mental clutter if my physical space is tidy. I thought I’d share some stuff on tidying and decluttering – everything from my own advice to resources I continue to find beneficial.

So, first off, I’m going to write in terms of a clean bedroom because that’s my point of reference, but these ‘rules’ can be applied to any part of your home.

The first step to cleaning your room and making sure it stays clean is to declutter. If you’re a Marie Kondo fangirl like me, then decluttering is nothing new to you. But essentially, it refers to the removal of unnecessary items, be it clothing, papers or anything that has no use to you and just takes up space. I cannot emphasise the importance of this step enough. There is honestly no use in organising and tidying things that serve no purpose to you. Whilst it can seem like a daunting task, especially if you haven’t done it in a while and a lot of things have accumulated, doing it in smaller chunks will feel less overwhelming. Work through your things category by category. I generally split things into a toss/recycle pile and a donate pile.

After deciding what things you need or want to hold onto, it’s time for my favourite part – organising. The reason why many people struggle to keep their spaces tidy is either because they have too much stuff (enter decluttering) or because their things don’t have designated “homes” so everything just ends up lying around until it gets used again. Having a specific place for everything will make keeping your room neat so much easier because when you’re finished using something, you just put it right back, and when you do need to clean up at the end of the day or week, it’ll go quicker too because you don’t have to think about where to put things.

Another thing to try is to keep the same kinds of things together. For example, I have a beauty drawer where I keep all my skincare (that isn’t on my dresser for daily use), unopened products, make-up, hair things, etc. All my jewellery is in one shelf and all my papers and books are together too (well, mostly). I find that this helps immensely too, and you’re also less likely to loose your stuff.

Here are some other quick things you can do every day (or as often as you feel necessary) to keep your room looking and feeling orderly:

  • Make your bed! Honestly, don’t underestimate the difference this can make. It’s always the first thing I do when I’m clearing up. It instantly makes your room feel more put together.
  • Throw papers away immediately when you don’t need them anymore. By doing this, you will avoid the need to sift through huge mounds of papers to see what you need/don’t need.
  • Following on from the last one, put papers that you do need into their respective files/folders as you work to minimise unmanageable piles of paper. I usually have one stack of papers on my desk with stuff I’m using (like assessment rubrics/design briefs/etc.) and need to consult often, but I sort through it every week or so, to avoid having too much stuff pile up.
  • As boring as it sounds, pack away your laundry as soon as you can. Again, this will hopefully prevent a mountain of laundry from piling up, and you’re more likely to pack neatly if you have a more manageable amount to pack away.
  • Try to avoid too much clutter on your surfaces. My surfaces certainly aren’t bare, but every few days or so, I just walk around and put things (that don’t need to be there) away.

I hope you find some of this helpful! Remember, your room doesn’t have to look like something off Pinterest. It’s a space that you’re supposed to live in, so don’t bother if it doesn’t look like a styled photograph. Also, experiment with different tidying and organising methods and create a routine that works for you, and is suitable to your schedule and life. You don’t have to spend all your waking hours trying to keep your room clean! (This took me a while to learn haha). However, you will find that having a tidier space helps to calm your mind. It is often said that the state of your physical space is a manifestation of your mental space and I tend to agree.

Here are some resources you might find helpful.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Honestly, this book is so good. Pretty sure I’ve read it two or three times. It really helps you to get a sense of tidying and understanding that physical stuff shouldn’t weigh you down. Find it here (e-book version).

A Considered Life blog

This blog by Sophie is really well written and has new content on a regular basis. Read it here.

Simple Life Pinterest Board

I’ve linked a bunch of resources that I reference on my Pinterest. Find the board here.

Happy tidying, everyone. I sincerely hope you reap the benefits of having a tidy space. If you have any more questions about this topic, ask away.

Nabeela x

Simplify

I have written many posts about minimalism and living a more simple life. However, every year I realise I’ve learnt new ways to simplify my life as far as possible. I’ve found great reward in creating streamlined routines for myself that allow room for everything that has to be done.

Here are some things I’ve done this year that have helped me immensely that I’ll be carrying with me into 2019.

01. / Email

I don’t work yet so I don’t have a huge amount of emails coming into my inbox every day like some people do, but I do know that having a full inbox can be stressful and distracting. Try to stay on top of your emails and try the one-touch rule, whereby you only open emails at a time when you are available to carry out the task (or whatever is necessary) required before you respond. Also, guard your email address. Try to avoid throwing it into every online shop’s mailing list, to avoid getting spammed with hundreds of emails a day that are irrelevant to you. (Some people have recommended this site to manage your subscriptions, but I haven’t personally tried it).

02. / Papers

Papers are the easiest thing to hoard. It’s only too easy to hang onto something, “just in case”. For papers that are important, file them away in a space-saving way. For less important ones that you may need at some point, take a photo and save it into a folder on your phone or Cloud. And for those other pesky ones, TOSS THEM. We are ruthless. I clean off my desk (almost) every night before bed and make a point of throwing away papers that are no longer needed.

03. / Planning and organising

I’ve found that keeping all my planning in one book is highly beneficial because everything is in one place, so you’re less likely to forget something important. Whether you’re a paper planner and list-maker like me or if you prefer your phone calendar, try to avoid having important plans in too many places and work on streamlining your planning and organising systems so they work for you. I’ll be bullet-journalling in 2019, so watch this space…

04. / Time-blocking

I’ve found this really useful. Set aside certain “blocks” of time for certain tasks. You’ll find that you’ll be more productive if you know you’re only working for a short amount of time, plus you’re less likely to procrastinate then. It’ll leave you with more time to relax and do things you enjoy.

Enjoy the holidays with your loved ones and rest well.

Nabeela x

Minimal

Hello

Over the last two years, the minimalist trend seems to be everywhere. Naturally, I fell in love. The monochrome clothes, home décor pins on Pinterest and let’s not forget those pretty, well-curated Instagram feeds that make you want to delete all your photos off your feed and only wear black tee-shirts. I have to admit, I did go through a phase for a few days where I was all into the monochrome buzz and I took all the typical minimal photos and tried to only wear grey and pack all the most colourful things in my room away. Sometimes I still have ‘minimalist’ days. But, it got too hard as a lot of my room décor has colour in it and so do my clothes. Thus, I gave up on minimalism.

Recently, a minimalism ‘cheat-sheet’ caught my eye on Pinterest. When I started reading up a bit about minimalism as a lifestyle (and not just a clothing and décor style), I was surprised to find that I already do many things that ‘minimalists’ live by. That’s when it hit me. It minimalism really a style or it is a lifestyle? The answer (to me, at least) is the latter. I decided to share some insight into minimalism through my eyes. Here it goes!

‘Stuff’ Declutter / Detox

This is really important. This year, I’ve found that I’ve matured quite a bit when it comes to my possessions and clothing. I’ve had this urge to clean, clear and ‘detox’ my possessions and my living space. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve basically worked through most of the spaces in my room, and decided what to toss, what to keep and what to donate. What also really helps is if you allow yourself to have one junk drawer that you keep all the things you are unsure about. The only thing you mustn’t do is just leave it! You MUST sort through that drawer at the end, and tidy it up.

It’s a surprisingly fulfilling process and it will give you new insight on your stuff. Don’t feel guilty if you bought something you’ve never used. Everyone’s done it. But by keeping it, its not doing anyone any good. You may as well donate it to someone who will put it to good use. I’ve also read in a few places that physical clutter can contribute to mental stress. Try to keep your sleeping and working spaces especially tidy and display the items that make you happy and spark joy. This will make your space feel like your own and it’ll be calming too.

(A good book to read to inspire some cleaning is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Although I don’t agree fully with everything in the book, it’s a good read) .

Social Declutter

No, I don’t mean getting rid of friends, so don’t worry. I’m talking social media here. Do you sometimes find that you follow so many accounts on Instagram that you hardly see the things you actually want to see and it takes forever to get through your feed? We’re all in that boat with you.  Do an audit of who you follow every so often and unfollow accounts that don’t excite you. Its alright, you don’t have to feel guilty! Instagram isn’t real life. Its also vital to your own inspiration that you don’t see the only a certain kind of thing over and over, as this can stagnate your own creativity in the long run. I make this a habit and find it fun to find new things that inspire me. Also, unsubscribe to all those email lists you joined spontaneously. I went through a stage where I subscribed to EVERY email list I came across just so I had pretty-looking emails in my mailbox (What was I thinking?!). I went on what I fondly refer to as an ‘unfollowing spree’. I am now only subscribed to a handful of blogs and newsletters that I really enjoy reading and find inspiring. Another thing to try is have a day of the week when you have a ‘social media detox’. You don’t engage in any form of social media for the whole day – its refreshing. You’ll be surprised how free you’ll feel and its good for those creative juices to have only your own ideas in your head for a day and not have them bombarded by all the others we see online. (Its something I’m definitely looking forward to doing next year – its not possible for me to do this year because of my daily project).

Buy Less

This is much easier said than done, I know. We have to be mentally conscious when we shop because we’ve gotten so used to buying things because they’re pretty and on sale. We eventually end up with a closet full of clothes we hardly wear. I experienced this last summer. I found so many tops I loved and bought that I only realised how much I actually had when I did an audit of what was in my cupboard. Because I’m still at school, it means that I only wear my clothes in the holidays and on weekends – I wear uniform the rest of the week. I ended up wearing each of my tops once or twice the whole summer. I forced myself not to buy any new things for the rest of the summer and wear all the clothing in my cupboard.

Experience over material

The thing that first set the ball in motion in my head about experience over material was a concept relating to this that I read about in a magazine. The way I understand, it goes as such. For a month, you spend the same of money that you normally would, but you don’t have anything to show it at the end of the month. (Naturally, food wouldn’t count because, well, its food and it wouldn’t be there at the end of the month anyways, but you get my point). It fascinates me and I always think about how I’d love to do something like this when I earn my own income some day. Instead of spending your money on buying stuff, you spend it on doing stuff instead. Imagine how much you could do if you knew you weren’t going to be buying anything except the necessities for a month!  I definitely know what I’d do. You don’t have to go all out, but maybe do something where every time you are tempted to buy something you really love but don’t need, you put the money aside to do something fun and enjoyable instead. It’s a good incentive to stop buying excess too.

Quality over Quantity

The phrase itself says it all. Instead of buying many things that are of unsatisfactory quality, buy fewer things that are good quality and well-made. It applies to many aspects of life, too. I’ve been trying my hardest to implement this and its been making me really appreciate the things I own.

I really hope you enjoyed reading about my take on minimalism and that it inspires you to down-size your possessions. You don’t have to do everything in one go, but you’ll find that once you start, you won’t stop!

Happy decluttering!

Miss Artsy-Crafty xxx

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