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The Declutter Series: How to Declutter Your Home with Style Whisperer Aleksandra Olenska

Continuing our series on decluttering, today I’m talking about how to get moving on decluttering your home.

You are not a sum of your stuff

But it can say a lot about you

It echoes your beliefs your values, your thoughts and the way you see life. 

By the time you hit 40, you’ve already got a lifetime of stuff surrounding you. Midlife can be a time of transition…of divorce, or menopause, of unexpected change…in body and mind…Of the awareness of time running out, and deciding to make appropriate changes…to stop focussing on work work work perhaps, and enjoy exploring other dimensions to yourself, or letting go of relationships that aren’t serving you anymore, or re-discovering yourself after children…of who you are and what makes you happy at this point in your life.

Your stuff partly tells the story of you, and all those transitions… Maybe you’ve realised that your 15 year old marriage just doesn’t work for you any more, yet are still holding onto mementos of your ex…an old jumper that’s hidden at the bottom of your wardrobe…the odd picture of you around the house that you haven’t put away yet…Your grown up childs room still frozen like a time warp with childhood paintings… On the outside your life can look great  – but get a little under the surface and many women are at at odds with their minds and in conflict with their bodies and soul, and that often shows up in their clothes and home. 

When you declutter and organise areas of your home, the space feels transformed and everyday life gets simpler and happier as you reframe memories, and are able to move forward, and step into feeling better than ever into the gorgeous next level you.

By the end of this video, you’ll have three easy to implement steps to decluttering your home so you can feel a renewed every day ease, calm and centredness. 

Are you ready to go…

1. First of all, play home detective…

(you can later apply this to your wardrobe to! And there’s a whole video devoted to wardrobe declutter!) 

Many women tell me they want to feel like themselves again at mid-life and beyond, and a really great way of doing that, is getting rid of physical objects that are irritating or remind you of negative experiences in the past, simplifying your stuff, and making your life today more beautiful. 

To do this, it’s important to reflect on what your relationship to your stuff says about you, and why you want to hold onto certain things… 

Consider what your clutter secretly helps and hinders you with

Does your clutter keep you in your safety zone eg. Living in a cosy cocoon of the past, even though you’re SO ready to move forward in your life! Is your clutter fear in disguise?

Does your clutter keep you from having people over – even close friends (let alone a new lover – and sometimes that’s the point – you keep it messy out of fear…)

And when someone does come over – it’s that frantic whirlwind of 

Does your stuff keep you holding on to an old outdated version of yourself?

A life you wish you still had?

Before he died, my father told me not to have too much stuff, as it ends up owning you. 

Apart from the loss of the person, there’s nothing sadder and more emotional than sorting through someone’s house or apartment after they die. Some of my clients are widows, or grieving past relationships after divorce, and this process can be painful to think about, yet the process of decluttering can be extremely helpful as part of a journey towards wholeness again. 

Conversely, maybe you live in a picture perfect house, with not a thing out of place…then think about what does your LACK of clutter say about you?

Perhaps you have a Magazine picture perfect house  – that doesn’t feel lived in, that you’re lightly on edge in, but don’t want to change…

Or maybe you’re simply obsessed with status or style > what does it say about you? There’s no right or wrong…it’s just putting in place some thoughts, so that you can be more intentional about what you want from your home, your surroundings, your wardrobe in the future…to live your best you. 

I once worked for a designer who was a complete minimalist…her space had little furniture and the kitchen had even less food…My stomach kept rumbling nervously in the clinical surrounds, and hinted at the control freakery of my then boss.

Now you might not have such a strong physical reaction, but your space nevertheless impacts how you feel – be that consciously or subconsciously…

Your relationship with your stuff can likewise change depending on how you’re feeling – if you’re feeling happy, you let it be…but if you’re feeling stressed, have too much work on, or are feeling down – it’s another – it literally gets on top of you…

So it’s about decluttering your beliefs as much as your objects, and making intentional choices to move forward to your best life ever! Because clearing your space can help to clear you mind.

2. Get rid of micro-anxieties 

It’s time to banish anything that’s irritating in a small way…the bin that is supposed to open automatically, but hasn’t done so since a month after you bought it, the books on your shelf that you’ve half read and found boring (yet still feel guilty about throwing away,) the million test samples of samples and perfumes that you received when buying make up, that clog up your bathroom cabinet but, ‘may come in handy for travel.’ The 3 pairs of scissors (one blunt,) the bottle opener that doesn’t work, and the other one that you forget doesn’t work, and inevitably leaves you with red wine everywhere but in the glass. 

The mismatched cushions that are perfectly practical but that you don’t like, the inherited ugly vase that you feel obliged to get out every Christmas, allll the children’s art work, because you know you’ll never have that time again…

It’s time to ditch the guilt and free yourself of these annoyances, that may seem small, but that build up with the power of the compound effect to have a negative impact on your everyday. It is so liberating disposing of them! 

A note on getting rid of things – you can bin, donate or sell unwanted possessions, but whatever you choose, make sure you do it straight away, so that the undesirables don’t end clogging up the corridors, or worse, up sneakily coming back into usage (especially true if you’re a secret hoarder…and tend to just move things around your home from room to room…)

3. Book in time, and methodically go through different areas of the home 

Sometimes a home can seem like a timewarp, with possessions feeling like a shrine to a past life…Have the kids grown up, but their stuff is all over the house> Have you moved or downsized, and need to sort through your stuff? 

Go through each room by room logically, and don’t try and do everything at once. Break it down are by area into bite sized chunks that you can do in the evening or at weekends. One drawer at a time! Here are some tips for different areas of the home…

Kitchen 

Expired products, duplicates (how many bottle openers do you need!) and broken, chipped or damaged plates and appliances, weird machines that slice a million different ways that  you never use. 

LOUNGE

Coffee table – make sure it is at least 70% clear 

Bookshelves – do you have books that you never look at or were gifted? Re-arrange and restyle your shelves to be more aesthetically appealing so that they look orderly and are more appealing to access. 

Cushions – do they match, are they looking tired? Are there too many! 

Old children’s toys – keep the most significant few that contain happy memories. Donate the rest. 

Magazines and paperwork – keep a few key magazines that you are presently looking at, keep digital copies of paperwork, file what needs to be hard copy. 

Miscellaneous items -coins, buttons – have one single place in the house for these, with a jar or container for each category. 

Ornaments and vases – only keep those you love. Get rid of the only functional if you don’t love it. Even if it was a gift and you don’t love it, it’s time to let it go! (Singing along to Frozen optional!) 

Bedroom * 

Bed – throw away grey or tired sheets, sheets from your student days, handed down sheets that look worse for wear, and sheets that you slept in with anyone you are moving away from. Organize under the bed – what are you sleeping on!? 

Bedside cabinets – do you need that magazine from 1993, or does that pack of paracetamol from your last cold still need to be out? 

How many books do you have by the bed waiting to be read (that you never quite get round to, and then feel guilty about?) 

Bathroom 

Towels and wash cloths -anything grey, faded, fraying or tired 

Bathroom cabinet – expired products or medicines, old prescriptions that you no longer need 

Cosmetics and make up – products you bought and don’t use, the millions of sachets of free samples, anything that smells funky, make-up you’ve had since you were a teenager 

Make up bag 

Technology

Anything that doesn’t work or that you have duplicates of – old routers, and Wi-Fi boxes, old cables and chargers that you don’t know what they’re for or where they came from, old cell phones and packaging 

Decluttering the home feels amazing – you feel lighter and have more clarity about yourself as much as your style. For lasting change, it’s important to change and declutter your mindset – so that you don’t fall into familiar habits…and that’s the subject of my next video… 

Lots of love xoxo Aleksandra

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