Recently I have been hooked on Japanese “Super-Housewives” shows, videos, and have been amazed at how terrifically creative they are at organizing homes, home offices and other spaces. And they are all penny-pinchers, and manage to cook super-meals while doing everything else. Now I have watched UK’s “The. Perfect Housewife”, Martha Stewart’s shows, Peter Walsh’s interviews and recently I participated in Jo Ebisu’s decluttering bootcamp, which is terrific for the lovely online community that helps you along with your task, much like an AA group does. But nothing is quite as mindboggling or inspiring as watching the Japanese Super-shufus as they are called, at work.
Anyway, I begin in this section to make notes of all the habit-changing turnaround tips I am collecting to keep my world in order, create a routine for shifting into higher gear for greater productivity.
A couple of years ago, my MIL told me at her age, she had to be rigorous in stripping her life of all that was superfluous to focus and enjoy what was truly important before they (she and FIL) kicked the bucket (they had just bought their cemetery plots). Also she didn’t want to leave behind any trash for us to have to deal with (how considerate). A touch of “On Golden Pond” vibes there, but it had the effect of reeling me in and getting me onto that get-your-house-in-order bandwagon too.
What followed was an upheaval of days where me and my hubby re-examined all of our personal and joint goals and dreams, and we started a new chapter, following our 18th anniversary, more together, more in love with each other and more in synch and on the same page than we have ever been.
Well enough of that.
I started by re-ordering the household, micro-scrutinizing every room, its function, role and inevitably, it starts with de-cluttering. I took away a leaf-full of notes on the decluttering process from Jo’s bootcamp, and they are below:
To take on the whole house is a daunting task and one you probably won’t finish, so let’s break it down into baby-steps.
1. Decide on a room
2. Decide on a specific area in that room, it could be a set of drawers, a cupboard, a bookshelf
3. Set yourself 10 minutes, use a timer if you like and choose ONE drawer or ONE shelf.
4. Take everything off/out, dump it on the floor.
5. Pick up each item and ask yourself
Have I used this is the last 12 months?
Is it enriching my life in someway?
Do I really need it? (Be honest here or you will never get anywhere).
If you answer NO to any of these questions GET RID OF IT.
If you answered YES, then either replace it or if it is in the wrong place then put it in it’s correct home.
Just tackle the one shelf at a time, once one is finished, if you have more time you can do another. Put your complete focus on just one, 10 minute pocket of time and one shelf and you will be amazed at how quickly you will start to clear your clutter. Everyone can squeeze in one or two, 10 minute clutter busters in a day. As you clear out the junk you will start to feel so much better. Your home will look and feel lighter and your stress will be reduced.
But wait! What about all the stuff you are throwing out?
Set yourself up 4 bags or boxes, as you sort through your clutter separate it into the four boxes…
1. Bin/Trash/Recycle – if you have strict recycling then make sure it goes in the right place!
2. Donate – once the bag or box is full, take it away to the charity shop or thrift store.
3. Give away to a friend – books & toys that your child had outgrown can be passed onto friends with younger kids.
4. Sell – only have this box if you are actually going to sell the items and not have the idea of selling, if you are just thinking about it, you will probably never get round to it so you will have a box of clutter in the way. Instead file the items in one of the other 3 boxes and save yourself the time and energy!
From “The Perfect Housewife”, a simple tip that works “if aint beautiful, useful or sentimental, BIN IT!”
I will post pixes and links here to the practical results of following the above advice as the work progresses.
Now you may say, pleeeez, get a life! Well, the point is that when you reach the point when either your mind, or your world/schedule has become so crazy-cluttered, you basically get buried and sunk by it all, that no productivity or social life is possible.
The mind also gets so cluttered up by long lists of things that need to be done, that the only way to get rid of the weight of the stress is to do a braindump onto paper. List it all down on paper, and pick 3 priorities, and think NIKE’s motto, JUST DO IT !
Next declutter our material things
De-cluttering frees up the mind, soul, material things and resources we own, and eventually also frees up the time to really enjoy what we actually own. I found two months on, the mental exercise of having to dump everything in a pile, and then to sort out everything, then find a new home and location for the things we really need or want to keep, and the process of thinking about the function, endpurpose, order of things, and traffic route for efficient movement in the space — actually seals it in one’s mind and memory and makes it way easier to keep order thereafter. Going through the more complicated process as opposed to just prettying up things and pigeonholing adn shoving things neatly away, prevents messiness recidivism, or what the Japanese shows call the REBOUND syndrome of the messy housewife.