Lately I have been trying to rid our apartment of extra stuff. I posted last week about our studio make over, I have thrown out/donated/passed on more stuff in the past few months than I ever have before. And it hasn't been easy. Well, sometimes its been easier than others ... kind of depends on where in the apartment I was purging (studio-easy. closet- not so easy). And as I dragged the poor mister on this spree I started to think about my reasoning for all the craziness ... why was I spending my day off tearing our home apart just to create large piles of things that had to go in the middle of the living room?!? Was it madness? Maybe. But I feel tons lighter, and I still have more I would like to do ... its almost addicting. So along the way I found ways to make the parting of my stuff not so sorrowful. Here are 5 tips that helped me ... and hopefully they can help you if you too are in need of a little (or a lot!) de-cluttering...
1. Have you used it in the past 6-12 mo? If you have not used/worn/looked at an item in the past 6-12 mo., it probably means you can live without. This helped a lot in my closet. I love clothes. I practically collect clothing. But it got to the point where I had oh so many options my closet was starting to overwhelm me on a daily basis. So if it was a garment that I looked at time and again but never wore it went out the door. I sold what I could and then donated the rest. I love that my hangers actually move in my closet now!
(This goes the same for art/craft supplies... I found so much paper and craft scraps that I was hanging on to and hadn't remembered. I recycled them immediately!)
2. Does it still mean something to you? The mister and I have both been creative spirits since we were tots so we have a lot of art work. Portfolios, sketch books, projects of days gone by all take up space. But as we get better at our craft and make things we love more now than what we made a year ago these things just sit and collect dust. So take a picture! We have taken so many pictures of old work and then tossed the actual the project. Its much easier to store a disk of pictures vs. a 3D model of a store!
3. Do you love it? I asked myself this a lot when going through my closets. My taste is always changing, and when I purchase something I always ask if I love it. So 6mo later do I still love it? If I know that I can live without or it may get traded in soon for an upgraded version- it goes!
4. Do you have multiples? When cleaning out my closet I realized I had 3 different pairs of floral shorts, multiple white and black t-shirts, and oh so many stripes. It seemed silly seeing them all laid on my bed looking pretty much the same. So I kept my favorite of each category and purged the rest. This goes the same for art supplies- do you have multiple tubes of the same blue paint? Toss the oldest and most used up tubes and keep the newer less used.
5. Are you able to move forward with it? When it came to our studio space I felt so held back by the mess ... um, hello??? did you see the pictures of our space?? It was crazy messy and totally unusable as we let it become a dumping ground. There was nothing about that space that was letting us grow and move forward. My best example of this was my magazine collection- it still kind of stings that I let my collection of almost 6 years go. I had made a plan to go back through all of them and save what I found most inspiring. But every time I thought of this task it was so daunting. So, I made the decision to keep the issues I knew I loved most and recycled the rest. So now, when I am reading a magazine I immediately pull out what inspires me and I put it in a binder I reserved for magazine clippings and recycle the rest of it. No more boxes and stacks of magazines, its kind of amazing!
As a creative spirit I know I love seeing pretty things all around me, I do bounce back and forth between wanting all these pretty things and liking that I own lots of stuff and then wanting to be totally minimalistic and wishing I could be cool like Andy Warhol and mostly wear black (it will never happen, I have made peace with this). So finding a happy balance has been key for us. And its taken several rounds of looking through boxes and closets to realize what I can really do without.
I hope these tips are inspiring and helpful, stay strong, its all for creating a better you!