decluttering changed my life

One year on.  Remember this?



and this?




Well now it looks like this.


In fact that is a mere fraction of what has gone.  As I write I have six more bags to go to charity and the Singers have been dispatching some of the Boss’s clothes on Ebay.  So what next?  What have I learned?

What next?  Well there is still a huge amount to go.  The Boss is slowly working through his wardrobe and I will have to work at his pace.  The study still has far too much in it and there are a few black holes around the house to which we have been turning a blind eye.  The videos and CDs are a case in point.  But as the house has emptied we have begun to turn our attention towards the garden.  I have plans to turn our garden into a mainly physic garden where all the plants are either medicinal, edible or have other practical uses.  Meanwhile the Boss has finally got on top of the meadow and is planning the wild flower border around it.  Currently it’s mainly vetch, poppies and cornflowers, but give him time.


What have I learned?  How long do you want me to go on?

Don’t give  up  Like learning to play a musical instrument it is hard at first.  You can see other people knocking off a snazzy sounding concerto whilst you are still struggling to coordinate your left and right hand sufficiently to get three notes out in the correct order.  But everybody has to start at the beginning.  Everybody has to practice, practice, practice before they are a master of the art.  Decluttering is no different.

It does become easier.  Trust me, you will come to a point when you are instinctively picking up things that you don’t want or need and putting them in the charity bag or recycling.

Let go of guilt.  Just because it was a gift or a family heirloom does not mean that you have to keep it.  Offer the latter to somebody else in the family to caretake if it will cause a ruction.  So you bought a dress and have never worn it but keep it because you feel you must.  Don’t.  Let it go.  Sell it on eBay BNWT!

Space is beautiful.  The things you love can shine when they are bordered by space, space in itself is something to love and cherish.

Don’t clutter it up the space.  My entire summer wardrobe fits in less space than my shirts used to take up.  My bookshelves contain books I want to read.  I know every shoe I possess, I no longer open a shoe box and look at the contents with surprise.

As I decluttered my belongings I decluttered my mind.  Now I can’t promise that this is true for everyone or that the two were actually connected.  I suffer from acute  and severe depression, the kind where all is well and suddenly for no apparent reason the lights are all turned off.  I made an active decision after a particularly nasty attack that I was going to think differently.  Thus it is quite possible that  my mind declutter is down to that.  Either way.  This year  I have gone from unsure what to do with my life stay at home mum to published author with a second book in the works; professional tarot reader; workshop facilitator and have plans for a small handmade toiletry collection.  As I decluttered I became more focused.  The things I focussed on were not those that I had expected but I am loving life and have big plans for the future.

Not everyone likes it.  A bit like losing weight and discovering that not all your friends are as keen on the new you.  I have been told all sorts of reasons why “they” can’t do it; why “they” could never let go of books (heaven forbid!) and so forth.  Maybe they really can’t or maybe they are jealous.  Whatever the reason it has nothing to do with me so I shall continue my path.

I have discovered my own style.  As I have let go of things that I didn’t like, need or want I have discovered a style that is mine and I like it.

I have made some amazing friends and some incredible business contacts.  I have discovered crossovers and potential joint projects with people I probably would never have met had I not started, and gone public with this journey.

I have more time.  I can’t explain this one, I still live in the same house, I still have the same family.  Perhaps it is more that I am more mindful of my time, I don’t fritter it away.  As I am only keeping things I cherish I am learning to cherish my time as well.

And finally, I did it because I wanted to.  You have to want to.






19 thoughts on “decluttering changed my life

  1. Gillie, this is brilliant! So many nuggets of wisdom here. I’m going to include it in a future “Joyful Reads for the Weekend” at my blog. I love those hardwood floors–I bet you couldn’t have appreciated the beauty of those floors before decluttering!

    1. To be fair the room wasn’t always as bad as that, it was the room we put everything before we sorted where it would go. So as the house emptied that room filled up. But it was the room where the flood began, the flood that made me think it was time to declutter. So I think it is aposite that it was the centre of Operation Less. Now I am hoping to turn it into my workshop studio. A nice turn of events I think.

  2. I am still in the “I’m-going-to-declutter” frame of mind. I have too much s@%! in my house now. I have to get my mind truly on board with the “so you wasted money buying all this crap, it doesn’t mean you have to keep it if you don’t use it”!
    I have faith that I will get there…

    1. I am devising a workshop to lead people towards a state of mind where they WANT to live with less. I can’t deliver it personally to you in the States but if you would be interested in being a long distance guinea pig I would be delighted to send you the coursework to work through on your own – just please let me have constructive feedback. I hope to have the workshop ready for its dry run in the autumn.

  3. Your decluttered room is beautiful! (And enormous!) It’s fantastic that decluttering has helped your mental state as well- although I have never suffered with depression, I do think that I am calmer and less stressed with less stuff in the house.

    The mixed reactions to your decluttering is interesting- almost as if people get defensive about their own homes, just from knowing that you have changed yours.

    We’ve been decluttering the loft today- lots of old school reports, Uni work and cuddly toys have been recycled/ rehomed! I didn’t even know that most of the stuff was there, but it feels good that it’s (almost!) gone..

    1. Good for you. We don’t have an attic (but we do have lots of outbuildings and we had filled them to the gunnels). I often wondered what it would be like to have a full attic – all that stuff weighing down upon you. Just think – there is nothing (apart from your roof and insulation) between you and the sky now. Isn’t that a good feeling?

      1. Roof, insulation and some Christmas decorations!

        I think what feels best is letting light (metaphorically) and space into a dark, forgotten part of the house.

  4. Extremely interested to read that it was a severe depressive episode that set you off. In CBT my psychiatrist and I were discussing this kind of thing. I’m still at the “grab it cos it might bring me joy” moment but I’m getting there. You are inspiring me. Thank you.

  5. What a great room! Your house looks so interesting!

    I still say it’s all a process, like you. The decluttering gets easier and goes places you’d never expect. Last week I finally removed the TV off the wall (yay!) and it looks so much better with a picture there, instead of a TV dominating our main room (living/dining/kitchen). Then I took all the other pictures off the adjacent wall. Not sure what I’ll replace them with, but I decided that they were no longer what I wanted. One is a beautiful canvas of an orchid, but my husband loves tending orchids so we have the real thing – why bother with a picture?! Now I consider more what relationship I have with anything decorative in my house that makes it worthwhile reflecting myself or my family in displaying it (perhaps that’s why I still love the enormous mirror we have on one wall – it’s a show stopper but it shows who we really are ;o). Still lots of books but I have got rid of masses and am now thinking I could still do more… I’d love to get rid of most CDs and DVDs but my husband wants to hoard them all – we will see!! LOL
    Anyway, it’s ongoing – all the sports and travel gear shelves collapsed last week and we managed to declutter some things as it went back up after repair…

    1. It’s interesting, paintings were one of the areas where my husband and I disagreed. I only wanted to keep those we loved etc. He felt that they looked okay why change it? I am winning…slowly!

  6. I have spent a lot of time and energy decluttering in the past 18 months. I don’t believe any of the things you’ve found to have changed are coincidental. Having less stuff leads to a simpler life which allows us time to enjoy relationships and experiences, as well as allowing headspace to recognise how blessed we are. I am very pleased I started the process. Life is better!

  7. This really touched a nerve for me so I felt I had to comment. I suffered from Post Natal Depression and now I experience times where I am fine and one day I will wake up and feel like I have dropped into the well of blackness. My mind feels constantly cluttered as is my wardrobe/part of my house. I have shoes I didn’t know I had, I keep magazines for months in case there is something in them I want to see, I keep clothes – just in case and at times I feel unfulfilled and feel guilty for feeling that way! Your narrative has given me the inspiration to de-clutter one thing at a time. I will start with my wardrobe and newspaper racks and take it from there! Wish me luck and thank you.

    1. van I am sad to read your story but so pleased that you have inspiration to move forward. It isn’t easy but it is rewarding. My email is on my blog. If it would help you at all to talk or to share your journey every now and then I would be delighted to keep in touch. Good luck and the very first lesson is to let go of the guilt, what is done is done. Crass though it sounds I have always thought that the Grandfather in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang had it spot on. “From the ashes of disaster grow the roses of success” x

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