I thought I should update you on how my big decluttering project is going. It’s still very much a work-in-progress, as ‘real life’, a.k.a work and other commitments, prevent me from giving it my full attention. But I haven’t given up, and I have a (somewhat) clear vision of what I want to achieve.
There’s been ups and downs, for sure. And no, I haven’t experienced any sort of spiritual revelation, or rediscovered the purpose of life, or even my ‘calling’ (like some of the people in the KonMari Facebook group I joined), as a result of getting rid off stuff that doesn’t give me joy. And although I’m a bit disappointed by that, I keep reminding myself that my goal was a bit more down to earth and realistic to begin with: a tidy, (almost) minimalist flat. Or at least a tidy flat where every item is in its place. It wouldn’t hurt to make everyday life just a bit simpler, either.
Anyway, here it is: my KonMari progress report, i.e. the solutions that simplify my life, as well as the challenges I still face.
1. I like my kitchen more
My kitchen is a lot less cluttered these days. I can actually find what I’m looking for, and I use most of the dishes, utensils and equipment almost daily. I donated lots of old plates, cups etc., so that now there’s plenty of room in the cupboards. Especially as I also cleared out all the old bags of flour/pasta/rice etc with a best before date around 2015 or something…
OK, I admit: I’m not much of a cook. Or a housekeeper. Don’t get me wrong: it’s never dirty in my flat. I just tend to ignore things I cannot see, like what’s in the kitchen cupboards- Sort of ‘out of sight, out of mind’…
2. My linen closet is so tidy
And by ‘tidy’ I mean it’s not overflowing anymore. Everything fits in, and I can see everything I have. And I love it!
But then again, I got rid off about half of the stuff that was in there… And it was worth it. I mean, who needs two dozen towels??? Or half a dozen sets of bed linen??? OK, so I may have to do the laundry more often. But at least it’s less laundry at one go. By the way, I hate doing the laundry, probably even more than I the ironing.
3. No more paper!!!
I threw away (sorry, I meant recycled) several huge bags full of paper. Old bills, pay slips, newspaper articles, course material… I was drowning in paper. Or, rather, the bookshelf was.
I had an entire (small) bookshelf dedicated to (mostly work-related) paper. Now it houses a collection of books, with only one shelf reserved for important documents and assorted work-related material. As far as new course material goes, it’s digital only from now on.
Like most women, I have way too many clothes. And, as I live in a country with four seasons, I also need to find a way to store some of my clothes out of sight for several months at a time. It doesn’t help that I don’t have enough storage space for all of these clothes, even after getting rid of about one third of my wardrobe. But that’s probably because the flat is too small for two people (even though Professor M is here only at weekends).
We live in a modern, average size flat. Of course, in Helsinki (population: just under 650, 000) an ‘average size flat’ basically means an expensive shoe box. The nicer the area (and the closer it is to the centre of town), the smaller and more expensive the shoebox.
Anyway, my 50 m² flat is spacious (by Helsinki standards), with an open-plan kitchen-dining-living room, a small(ish) bedroom, a sizeable bathroom + sauna, and a large balcony. And there’s plenty of storage space. Just not enough to store all our belongings. Even after we whittled down the said belongings, keeping only what we really like. And that’s a problem even KonMari can’t fix. The only solution would be to move into a bigger flat, but that’s not an option. Why? Because I can barely afford this average size shoebox…
How many pairs of shoes are too many? The answer: you have too many shoes if you don’t wear all of them regularly and don’t have a place to store them. Conclusion: I have way too many pairs of shoes (no, this isn’t all of them)…
Since I started my big clear-out project a couple of months ago, I’ve got rid of a lot of shoes. And I mean a lot. But I have no clue what to do with the ones I’d like to keep. Seriously, where am I going to put them???
You know, the whole ‘keep only what sparks joy’ part of KonMari was easy. It’s getting rid of the stuff I don’t want to keep that’s difficult. No, not difficult; just time-consuming, annoying, and labor-intensive.
For weeks, I’ve had big trash bags and piles of assorted junk crowding the living room. And it’s driving me crazy. After all, the whole point of this project was to get a spacious, tidy flat. You know, the sort of minimalist haven of tranquility you see in decorating magazines. And we’re nowhere near that. Probably never will, given that the flat is too small, and we still have way too much stuff (even though what’s left is stuff we actually like).
Obviously, you can’t just toss everything you don’t want to keep; you have to recycle it. In other words, you must find someone who is willing to take your unwanted crap off your hands.
So, I’ve donated several bags of clothes to various charities, had the recycling centre come and pick up a load of assorted junk, and handed several bags of clothes to an online flea market to sell for me. But I still need to store a couple of bags of (winter) clothes for a few more months as it makes no sense to cart them off to a flea market just before summer. But at least I can see the living room floor again. There’s hope that this project will end one day. Unless I have to start again then. You know, round two…
How about you, any tips on decluttering?
Linking up with:
Not Dead Yet Style, Elegantly Dressed and Stylish, High Latitude Style, Style Elixir, A Labour of Life, Curly Crafty Mom, Fashion Should Be Fun, Color and Grace, The Wardrobe Stylist, Not Dressed As Lamb, Style Nudge, Living on Cloud Nine, A Well Styled Life, Elegance and Mommyhood. Posh Classy Mom, Nancy’s Fashion Style, Shelbee on the Edge, A Pocketful of Polka Dots Style Splash, The Fashionista Momma, Tina’s Pink Friday, Away from the Blue, Mummabstylish , Mutton Years Style and I
I enjoy particularly to read about your experience as it’s difficult to me to get inspiration from people living in massive houses. I’ve lived in flats/apartments all my life, some of them so small than yours with same storage problems. Now our flat is 85 m2 which is huge for a spanish couple or even a spanish family, but I’ve managed to fill every wardrobe and cupboard with stuff. It’s time to stop it!
It’s particularly hard to get rid of paper (both of us are paper hoarders) and shoes!. So I admire your determination!. And I also feel inspired by your success in the kitchen! great job and great post!
I know what you mean. I hate these decluttering shows on TV because everyone seems to live in an enormous mansion, And they’re hoarders. How can you relate to that? They’re not very useful or inspirational for those of us who live in the real world (= small flats).
Oh, paper can be a challenge. Especially if it’s work-related, or something to do with hobbies (art or something). I decided not o store any work-related material (other than digital) any more. And, there’s an added benefit to getting rid of paper: it helps keep the dust under control.
At the moment my biggest challenge is shoes: they’re all over the place. And recycling is a pain: getting rid of stuff takes so much effort…
You seem like you did a great job organizing every room. The only thing I need to really work on is paper clutter! I have two big bins of paperwork like old tax returns, insurance papers, etc. etc. I never throw them out! I have a shredder but hate shredding. It takes so long to shred papers because it only takes a few sheets of paper at a time. I won’t throw anything out that has any information like credit card numbers, or other ID for fear of someone getting their hands on my personal information. I wish I had some great advice about decluttering but I don’t. I don’t have a problem with getting rid of clothes or shoes. I just get a big bag and start filling it up. I have a nearby supermarket that has a large bin for recycling bags of clothing and other stuff and also a large bin for recycling books. It’s convenient to just go there and get rid of the stuff. Arlene from NJ
Well, it’s a small flat… But I was shocked how much stuff I had in such a small place (and still do; this project isn’t over yet).
Seems like paper is a huge challenge for a lot of people. Especially if you have to keep records of insurance, banking, salaries etc. All of that is mainly digital in Finland these days, so I had mainly work-related paper (as most teachers do…). And shredding… that takes ages! But you’re right; it’s really important to avoid identity theft.
I have a few of those clothes recycling bins nearby, but getting rid of some (small) pieces of furniture is really tricky. You can’t throw them in the bin but have to take them to a sorting station. And that’s nearly impossible if you don’t have a car. I had the recycling centre collect some stuff, but even they don’t take everything, and I have a few items still waiting to be recycled, and it’s starting to get on my nerves. I’m afraid that as I get busy with work again, they end up as permanent decor in my living room…
Sounds like you are doing great with it! I have found that I just donate the bags of clothes and things the same week I declutter is easier for me so I do not feel overwhelmed with bags and stuff in my now decluttered garage. Your shoe collection looks amazing and fun.
Thanks, Mireille! You’re smart about this, getting rid of things straight away. I’m beginning to think I should do the same. The longer I wait, the more I start resenting the clutter in the living room.
Thanks for sharing your experience Tiina, I wish this was something i could do. I think i would have to be in the right place to start it, maybe one day in the future this will be my project. Thanks for sharing on #chicandstylish Jacqui Mummabstylish
Yes, you definitely need to be motivated to start a project like this. I guess for me it was the fact that I live in a rather small flat, and the clutter was really getting on my nerves. And I’m still not done with it…