Detox your home life: clear the clutter

Detox your home life

This month our theme is detox so we are sharing different ways you can detox at home. When you think about “detox” your first thought might be your diet – what you eat or drink. You might also consider a digital detox – turning off the emails, phone or social media (read more in John´s article: understanding the benefits of a digital detox). I thought I would look from a different perspective – how to detox your home life. The first part of this is to clear the clutter.

You know what I mean by clutter, right? All those things that sit there on the shelf, in drawers, in the cupboards or nooks and crannies, that rarely see the light of day! Either because they are broken, too old, been replaced, just don´t do what you need it to do, or because you simply no longer need it.

Clearing space

For some of us, Christmas is one time of year when we might receive gifts, all of which require a new “home” in our homes. As we head towards Christmas, I suggest that now is a good time of year to make a decision to clear space, to clear the clutter.

There is a saying along the lines of: clear out the old to let the new in.

Clearing space in our homes means there is a physical change in our environment. Our homes can feel lighter, brighter and cleaner. This can have a knock-on effect to us personally, so we feel lighter and clearer thinking.

For some of us, it can get overwhelming if you think about clearing the clutter from the whole house. So, it is easier to chunk it down into smaller pieces. My suggestion to you is: commit to throwing five things out every day for the next month. For the next 28 days, find at least five things that clutter your home, every day, that you can clear. I promise you will feel lighter and clearer by the end of it!

Questions to help clear the clutter

When you are trying to decide whether to keep or clear an item, you can ask the following questions.

To keep an item, you need to answer with a resounding YES to the following questions:

  • Does it fit me now? (Does it fit my life now?)
  • Do I love it?
  • Is it in good condition? (If no, do I love it so much that I commit to fixing it?)
  • For food, medicines, toiletries etc: Is it still in date?
  • Will I use it?

If the answer is NO, then let it go.

Sometimes, when looking at your clothes, you might still love the item, but have not worn it for over a year. This could be because it’s a special item (so you need a special occasion to wear it) or it might be that it no longer fits (and you have been planning to diet to fit into it!). If you are still attached to that item of clothing, then put it in a box and date it. If you have not opened the box and worn the item within the next 12 months then it is time to de-clutter!

Do you have a shelf in the fridge with bottles of condiments – some of which were bought as an impulse? Check the dates and throw away those out of date. If you are planning a body detox, check the contents and discard those that are high in salt, sugars or heavily processed.

Step by step, work through each part of the house. I started with my sock drawer, then my underwear drawer and gained momentum from there.

Clear the clutter – letting go

Think about what to do with the objects you decide you no longer need:

  • Throw away – no use for anyone and I can´t recycle it
  • Gift to charity (see below for some ideas)
  • Send to recycling – wash it out and leave or take to recycling
  • Someone I know loves this – give them a gift!
  • Local groups – bric a brac sale, raffles etc

If you have lots of magazines, you might consider an alternate use – we keep magazines to use in our vision-boarding workshop. New Year is a great time to create or update your vision board (read our article on how to create your vision board for more details or come try it in person in our workshops). Once you´ve done it, throw the magazines away (recycle).

If you´ve moved in the past few years, are there any boxes that you have not opened since you moved. Are you brave enough to just throw the whole box away?

This year, as you put up your Christmas decorations, really take a moment to look at them. Discard any that are broken (do you also have a few chains of fairy lights that don´t work?). Then make plans to purchase new decorations in the New Year sales.

If you are planning on giving an object to a charity shop, it does need to be clean and in good condition. Many charities will not accept electrical goods unless they have the original box. Do give some thought to what you are wishing to donate – would this be useful or appropriate. I volunteered in a charity shop, many years ago, and was very surprised at some of the rubbish that people donated. All you do here is give someone else the job of throwing your rubbish out! Please wash and iron clothing before dropping it off. Some larger shops also have in-store collection points for clothes that you no longer want.

Ladies, if you have some bras that are in very good condition, there are now some charities that will recycle them – a quick website search for “bra recycling” should bring up a few options. Those of us who wear spectacles might have some old pairs that are no longer needed. These items are often needed in poorer countries, and some schemes also help to generate employment for local communities.

If you want to let go of pictures, vases, books, DVDs or CDs, your local hospice or retirement home might find some of these items useful. You could also consider contacting your local Brownie, Guide or Scout groups – they often have sales to raise money for equipment or activities. So too might your local church.

If you do end up taking items to your local recycling centre, some in the UK have areas that you can leave items that are still useable but no longer needed.

Keep the necessary

If you decide to keep an item, consider what you do when you put it back. Maybe consider arranging things differently – so it makes things easier to find. Take time to give the area (drawer, cupboard, shelf) a clean. I´ve purchased some lovely drawer liners so that my clothes come out smelling lovely. Instead of pushing my socks into a drawer, I take time to match up the pairs (it makes it so much easier when I´m in a rush for work on a morning). I even now fold my pants! It makes me smile each time I open the drawer (instead of the old, haphazard mess that existed before). I´ve also purchased a few new plastic boxes, e.g. for my first aid equipment. It means I can find a permanent home for plasters, disinfectant etc, all in one space, saving me time when I need it urgently.

Some items you might need to keep hold of for a longer period of time, for example paperwork for tax returns. Put it into files, in a box, and then label the box with date and contents. Put the box somewhere dry and secure. In a few years you can then shred or discard the contents, when they are no longer needed.

Clear surfaces are easier to keep clean, so put things into cupboards or boxes, with lids. Clear surfaces also can help clear your head.

Sentimental items

As you declutter each area, cupboard and shelf, you are likely to come across some items that mean something to you on an emotional level, they have special memories or associations. I created a memory box and put things into it that I wanted to keep, simply because they made me smile. I do not choose to look at them every day, or even very often, but I want to keep them. Periodically you might choose to review these items too – some it might be time to let go of.

Areas to detox and clear the clutter
To help you to chunk down your home, I´ve made a list of areas that you can de-clutter. I also created a check list for the 28 days – print it and put it on your fridge as a reminder and inspiration!

Print the de-clutter checklist here (download PDF).

Clear the clutter: Detox and weightloss retreats

I hope you have enjoyed reading this month´s article! You can give your body a detox by attending one of our popular detox and weightloss retreats here at La Crisalida health and wellbeing. Our retreats run all year around, so pick a time that works for you. Detoxing your home can take many forms, one of which is clearing the clutter. Let me know how you get on!

About the author

Lisa is one of the founders of La Crisalida Retreats. She is an Epidemiologist, therapeutic hatha and yin yoga teacher and also teaches mindfulness meditation. Lisa has studied NLP and hypnosis, as well as nutrition (she designs the menus).