Reducing Clutter: Switching to Higher Quality Products

     Reducing Clutter: Switching to Higher Quality Products

     Who doesn't like to save some cash on budget products? I do.

     Many times price tag was the final factor I give preference to one product and not the other. For budgeting purposes I set notional price limits for a piece which I usually didn't exceed.
     Buying clothing? Oh, I cannot afford to spend too much. Instead of one expensive pieces, I'll take three of a lower price! Just to have more choices and alter them.
     Buying accessories? The same concept – more and cheaper is better. More choices!
    Want to try something new but not sure if I need it? I will buy budget option and see!

     Finally I realized I kept buying things which didn't make me satisfied. I may be not satisfied with quality, performance or design. And kept buying the same things thinking I will find better piece.

     Once I started decluttering, many things were replaced with higher quality equivalents. And I noticed I stopped craving to buy something new (hoping it's something better) than already have.

     I started with the easiest (and my favorite!) category to experiment: clothing. For a long time I wanted to improve my weekend wardrobe, so I use it as a start.

     I had very voluminous range of budget weekend clothing – and yes, was not satisfied with that wardrobe.
      I think it’s fine for women to wish looking pretty. Clothing we wear does have a big impact to that, and it’s hard to feel pretty wearing unsightly clothing. On weekend I usually didn’t look presentable and was not happy with that.

For sure switching to quality products is costy. But for me – from clutter aspect - it will be an advantage as I cannot keep buying expensive things often, so it restrains me from unnecessary spendings. Unlike cheaper options which are attractive by their price tag in the first place.

     That’s ok I will have less options available, as long as they are the best.

     Also I noticed that after trying better quality standards, I’m no longer tempted to buy less quality things, even with attractive prices. It had happened to me a lot before! Buying cheap, I thought I’m saving money, but ended up I was wasting money, decluttering now things I do not love.

     Also, quality pricey things eliminate chances of impulsive buys. I have to think thoroughly, plan and sometimes make some savings to purchase one or other quality thing.

     So far wardrobe is the field of my experiment. I will try to apply this concept to the other stuff I use at home over time.

 

Decluttering (And Cleaning): Bathroom

     Decluttering (And Cleaning): Bathroom

     I always thought wardrobe is my messiest area in the house... Oh, dear, how much you pleased yourself!

     ...After I have done basic cleaning of the toilet area, I noticed sink ledge is full of moisture. Is it mold?

Decluttering (And Cleaning): Bathroom

     Oh, that’s fine! It happens to bathrooms sometimes, isn’t it? Ok, I will spend a few more minutes to wipe it.

     After I removed storage boxes from the ledge, I stunned. Water accumulated under the boxes and mold was everywhere. Do I still think my wardrobe is the most untidy place?

     That’s the time I realized I need to re-focus all the attention and actions to declutter and clean bathroom area. Right now.

     I read a good advice from different sources: no point to start cleaning until you finish tiding.

     Cleaning deals with dust and dirt, tiding (in other words decluttering) – with unnecessary stuff. It’s just time-wasteful to try cleaning clutter.

     Well, I liked the advice...because got excuse not to clean. And there are some areas in the house (like bathroom!) which I was intentionally avoided to tidy up. They are so cluttered, I even couldn’t think what to do with all the stuff there!

     But one thing I underestimated.
     Well, clutter in the wardrobe is about inconvenience and bad closet look.
      Clutter in the bathroom is about hygiene. It causes water accumulation and mold growing.

     That day my intention to do a little cleaning ended up with major decluttering.
      I realized I MUST keep bathroom dry. All the stuff from the ledges have to be relocated to the cupboard.
But cupboard is already full with other stuff! 

Decluttering (And Cleaning): Bathroom

What to do? Exactly!

Decluttering (And Cleaning): Bathroom

     Most of the stuff goes into trash bag.
     Don’t know what habit is that, but I used to keep all not needed things in the cupboards out of sight. And those which I need and use – within a reach, near the sink in this case. Isn’t it convenient? I can see everything at a glance, can pick what I need quick!

    Oh no, my moldy sink ledge says for bathroom it does not work. I had to place all the necessary stuff into the cupboard and keep it away from water.

     Ledge will not be used for permanent storage anymore. And after each use I must wipe it thoroughly with the towel – the only thing I’m going to keep near the sink.

    In the end I was able to see the difference:

Decluttering (And Cleaning): Bathroom

     Decluttering (And Cleaning): Bathroom

     Ok ok, not Pinterest perfect. I see I'm yet to clean the sink and tiles. I didn’t really organize much, just put everything into shelves. But it’s progressing! And I still can see where is one or another thing.

     Guys, if you have any tips, please let me know in the comments below! I will be interested to know how you handle your bathrooms, keep it dry or organize its stuff.

Decluttering in Process: How to Stay Motivated (when cannot see the end)

Decluttering in Process: How to Stay Motivated (when cannot see the end)

     I’m doing decluttering of the house for around a month for now. I see there still months of work ahead, but what keeps me moving is that I can see tiny improvements in the house. Shelves became neater…well, not all but only those I have reached with tidying so far:-)

     I think the most difficult in decluttering is to keep staying motivated. In my case, I was accumulating clutter for years, so it will also take a while to tackle it all. Even though I try to do at least something every day to help my declutter move, I see the progress is still little. It’s very easy to become overwhelmed in the beginning, so I’d like to share what helps me to stay motivated.

  • Creating a mental picture of the final result (or you can even sketch it if you like!)

     Keeping final picture in mind helps me to understand what’s exactly I'm trying to achieve and what needs to be done. I imagine how shelves are neatly arranged with storage boxes containing only necessary things, kitchen is clean, kitchenware is nicely stored inside cupboards, wardrobe is times less filled than now and containing only my favorite clothing I enjoy to wear. Everything is not only convenient for use and cleaning, but also looks attractive. IKEA is a good inspiration when I need some ideas.

     The more space I release, the easier storage becomes. I noticed after I discard numerous things, I have space not only to put necessary things there but also add a beautiful touch like colorful flower (my favorite home accessory).

     Moving by little steps, I see that house becomes a bit closer to the picture in my mind, and of course it keeps me motivated.

  • Keep track of what’s been done

     Depends of the original situation with clutter, in the beginning it may really seem that whatever I do clutter does not reduce. But it does. That’s why making pictures “before” and “after” is really a great way to stay motivated. Picture shows how much I progress from original state, and it’s very inspiring to see. Keeping track of the progress is one of the major reasons I started DeclutterBlog and it works as a great motivation for me too.

     And what I would not recommend to do, just from my personal observation, is not to interrupt work in the middle. If decided to declutter, let’s say, a shelf or cupboard, start and do until the end. Problem is decluttering cannot avoid creating a big mess in the process when you remove all the things from the storage, sort them out what to leave and to discard, folding remaining or packing back. If you stop at the point after you removed all the things, even temporary, mess around will be a big demotivation. If time is limited but I’m still keen to do at least a bit of declutter at certain day, I usually break down the scope into smaller pieces, for example, tidy up only one shelf and not entire rack, but do it at one attempt from start to end. Well, not always I manage to do this, that’s why I know how demotivating it is to see a big mess around.

     But every time I finish, I have a feeling I became lighter…seriously, like I personally carried all the stuff kept on the shelves. And after that I usually gaze to the place I just tidied for several minutes with enjoy and cannot believe it might look so much better than it was! And this is the biggest motivation and reward I get after each declutter session.

Decluttering: Office Workplace

     Decluttering: Office Workplace

     Yes, my tendency to store unnecessary messy things spreads to the office workplace too. I’m working for a few years in the same office and the same desk, so I have accumulated a few years storage!

     I’m very inspired by decluttering at home and want to do the same at work. I noticed that decluttering raises my standards. Earlier cluttered place was fine for me or maybe creating just little inconvenience. But now after I experienced how much better place can be when there is no clutter around and everything is arranged comfortably, how spacious place can suddenly become, how neat, tidy and easy to clean, I became less and less tolerant to the messy surroundings. My major decluttering battle is still going on at home where I have so much area for work. And enjoying how tidier my home becomes, I want to have the same enjoy at the workplace.

     My another incentive to declutter the workplace is tidy place really improves work efficiency. I do not have to spend time search for things and papers when I know where they are assigned to be. And I just believe tidy workplace looks professional and might have impact to the career growth (sure it’s not the only aspect but still). Being able to handle workplace indirectly shows that person is able to cope with their duties and workload, able to work efficiently. I really see a close connection between work efficiency and tidy workplace.

     At my working desk mainly I used to accumulate unnecessary and outdated papers, books and stationery. Papers and drawings are scattered around, books taking the space, sticky notes everywhere around, it looks like disaster!

Decluttering: Office Workplace

     I’m sure at work I don’t have to store any of those items at the desk as they are available at the company resources at any time I need.

     So it's time to tidy the place!

     As usual I check every single item and sort them all into categories. Mainly all the items at my workplace belong to any of the 3 categories: papers, stationery, books.

     Papers is the dominant category. I had to discard so many different outdated hardcopies and drawings!

     After discarding is done, shelve look quite empty, so much space was occupied unnecessarily! For remaining papers I allocated storage boxes dedicated for every project (all unnecessary papers are discarded and going for recycling), books will be donated to the library, and all the surplus stationary I returned back to the office stationary cabinet.

     This is the final result:

Decluttering: Office Workplace

     Now I have times much more space on the desk! Drawers also underwent decluttering and managed to fit all the necessary things I want them to keep. Now I can enjoy incredible feeling of space and tidiness around, exactly what I wanted!

Decluttering: Feeling Guilty Discarding Things

    Decluttering: Feeling Guilty Discarding Things

     I wonder am I only one feeling guilty and pity when trying to declutter the house? I noticed very often I feel so pity when I'm picking things to discard. Even though I do not have any special feelings about the thing and know I do not really have to use it, I may have a feeling of guilt for deciding to get rid of it.

     Maybe this is because of my natural tendency to store things. Over years I put aside things which I do not intend to use, put them deep into boxes, drawers, storages thinking I might use it one day. Finally I accumulated so many unnecessary things that I have no place to store anything else. Also clutter seriously affects my ability to take care and clean the house. It become extremely hard and time taking to move all the things and storages around just to clean.

     So recently my patience get exceeded and I decided to throw everything I don’t need and haven’t used for years. But when I see a pile of stuff prepared for discarding - yes, I have guilty feeling.

     Why is it so?

     One of the reasons is I have to discard lots of things in a good condition, just because they take space and I don’t use them anyway. How I managed to overcome this is to give a second life to those things: donate them to charity, sell, sometimes I bring some things to the office and pass to colleague willing to take them. Idea is to let someone else use it since I do not. Doing so calms my worries that I’m not making use of a good thing.

     Another reason making me feel pity during decluttering is that I realize how much I could have saved if I don’t buy that things. This was really awakening and make me reconsider my approach to shopping. If earlier I could buy some things I like in the store just to try or because I liked it (yes, impulsive buy), totally not thinking whether I really need it or not, then now I realize I really have absolutely EVERYTHING I need and my trips to the shops almost gone. I still may drop by a store but now I noticed every time I see something and a thought to buy it crawls to my head, I immediately think where and how I will store it, whether I already have any equivalent or substitute at home (sure I have!) and “Do I really need it?”. The last question usually resolves all my doubts and I leave the store without any purchase.

     Even though sometimes I have guilty feeling during decluttering, so far it never happened I really regret about anything discarded. To me it happened once I had thrown some small thing to which I couldn’t find a way to use and remembered soon when I might use it for storage, but I easily found an equal substitute and stopped regretting.

     So my observation is if thing was not used for a long time, if there is no actual intention to use the thing and it does not have any sentimental value making you feel good, it can be discarded. Ideas like “I might use it one day” at least for me do not work but only encourage clutter growing, so I consider those things unnecessary and part with them.

     Please let me know what are your feelings about decluttering! Is it easy for you or gives you pity feeling as well? Does decluttering make caring of the house easier? Feel free to comment below!

 

Decluttering: Living Room Shelves

Decluttering: Living Room Shelves

          Step-by-step I’m moving from the bedroom and starting decluttering in the living room! The first things I’m going to put hands on is this shelving cupboard:

Decluttering: Living Room Shelves

     This cupboard is at the most prominent area of the living room. This is what we see the first thing we enter the house. So I want to check all it’s content, discard unnecessary and properly arrange those things which we will remain and use.

     As usual I take out all the things and place them to the floor, and then check every single item whether we still need it. We used to keep different papers and documents here, so the cupboard was overloaded with papers. After me and my husband checked them all, we found a lot are outdated and pointless to keep any further. They are the perfect candidates for discarding, what actually we have done gladly.

     After throwing unnecessary papers I see cupboard is not so full anymore! It has a lot of room for storing remaining items.

    Next step is all the things are being sorted out into categories. I check whether they already have assigned storages for their category in other places in the house. If yes, then just relocate relevant items to their assigned storage. If storage place isn’t assigned yet, I will continue keep them in this cupboard. To make cupboard look neater, each category gets an individual storage box. I try avoiding mixing different category items in one storage box just for convenience.

     Once I sorted out all the things into the boxes, put them back into the shelf and see the result:

Decluttering: Living Room Shelves

     Cupboard looks much neater, and after a several days after I have decluttered this cupboard I can say it’s very convenient when you know where each item is kept. I don’t have to look for things because I know in which exactly storage box and which area it’s located.

     I added an artificial flower to the top of the cupboard to add some color to the interior and make cupboard area look more cosy. That’s it! And now it’s time of my favorite part of decluttering works – enjoy the result:-)

 

Decluttering: Unexpected Benefit

Decluttering: Unexpected Benefit

     I just recently started decluttering of the house, and noticed one unexpected benefit (tidier house does not count as it was the purpose of the decluttering). Unexpected was that my money spendings significantly reduced with no effort.

     How is it related?

     I started decluttering by second half of last month, and that month I discovered I managed to save around twice than I usually did in earlier months. My shopping trips almost gone except for groceries. I’m not keen anymore to buy some new clothing, accessories or make up. Previously I would buy some every week!

     And reason is quite simple: I realized how much stuff I have at home and how much I used to overspend. I spent a lot on items I don’t need or have substitutes at home.

    During undercutting I take out all the things from the place I’m going to tidy up, sort them out by categories and locate in dedicated storage places. When all the items of a category are stored together, I have a clear overview what exactly I have and how many items. What I noticed I have many repetitive items in my skincare, accessories, clothing category which I might not buy at all. Looking at my skincare storage boxes, I see many of them are actually redundant. I haven’t reached my makeup storage yet, but I can imagine home many repetitive lipsticks and eyeshadows I have there. And when I think that I have paid money for all the stuff I’m going to discard, I really become terrified. Many things were obviously bought impulsively, how much I could have saved!

     So no wonder after having a few decluttering session in the house for now (and still many-many more upcoming) and realizing how much money were spent unnecessarily, I absolutely do not feel shopping.

     Maybe I’m a little shocked with my discoveries but it’s definitely good for my budget to realize that and restrain from unnecessary shopping. First few weeks had brought so noticeable budget-saving results so I’m looking forward to see even better results this month.

     Am I going to stop shopping at all? Sure not. But I believe it will be of different quality now. I’m looking forward to continue my unexpected decluttering vs. savings experiment and see what good results it will be able to bring. And surely I continue getting rid of the things I do not need in the house!

 

Decluttering: Bathroom Storage

Decluttering: Bathroom Storage

     Finally I reached it! Bathroom storage is the one I was looking forward to declutter. We have very little available space in the bathroom, and most of it was occupied with my beauty and haircare products. I was sure many of them are not needed, but still wanted to have a closer look for taking decision.

     To make decluttering moving (because I really want to tidy up the house so much!), I split different areas into parts and declutter them when I’m able to find some time, mainly in the evenings after work and weekends. When I split a big job into smaller pieces, it allows me to move in baby steps and finally have a job done rather than keep delaying it. So I will start my bathroom decluttering from this bathroom shelf filled with different stuff.

Decluttering: Bathroom Storage

     As usual, I start sorting out all the things into categories. Here it’s cloth mask packs, liquid facial products (toners/creams/lotions/serums etc.), and haircare items.

     Ideally I prefer to keep each category in one spot in its dedicated container. So I got 3 containers assigned to these items. Mask packs fitted into one, for liquid facial products I had to use a bigger container to fit them all. And haircare products I put in another storage tray assigned to them. Many of the items from the shelf belong to other categories, so I relocated them to dedicated places assigned earlier. And since I assinged these 3 categories to be located at this shelf, I find all other related products stored in other spots and place them here too.

     There are some items which I have to discard. Mostly those are free trial skincare kits and samples. I will throw those which I do not plan to use. Flowers will not be thrown!:-)

Decluttering: Bathroom Storage

     And here it is, the final result!

Decluttering: Bathroom Storage

     Now it looks so much better in the bathroom.

     It’s actually not the final arrangement, I will have to return to the bathroom to declutter other areas and might change the places where I keep one or another category items. But moving forward step-by-step, I’m satisfied with this arrangement for now and will keep until next declutter session.

     I would like to add a few words how I feel about decluttering. I can say this is my favorite housework because of the dramatic results I see after each session. It’s not only that previously cluttered and messy space becomes tidier, but also it gives me some kind of relief feeling. I see and feel more space around, what makes me feel so good about it!

    And also I noticed some unexpected benefit from decluttering, which I'm going to discuss further.

 

Decluttering: Shelves Storage

Decluttering: Shelves Storage

     This is another Shelf Cabinet I was keen to declutter. This cabinet is one of the most cluttered spots in the house, where my shame starts. It was filled with numerous plastic trays, each of them containing items we don’t really use and don’t need. Whenever I get any thing I didn’t know where to keep, I used to put it there. Ended up it became an accumulation of unnecessary stuff, and I hardly could say what’s exactly inside that trays. I seldom get anything from there, so even before decluttering it was clear I can get along without most of those items.

Why I didn't declutter it earlier?     

 

     Previously I already tried to declutter this shelf, but every time most of the things were returned because “I might use it some day”. This is the thought that always catches me!

     But now I’m going to approach this storage very decisively and make drastic changes. I even asked my husband to avail some of his time as some of the items might be his so I needed his decision.

Decluttering: Shelves Storage

     First I removed all the stuff from the plastic tray and pile them right on the floor. There is a huge amount of small things! Now it’s time to decide which things will still be useful in the house and what has to be discarded.

Decluttering: Shelves Storage

How I decide what to remain and what to discard:

      I check every single item. Usually I ask myself questions trying to understand if I shall keep or discard the thing:

  • Do I need it?

  • Do I intend to use in the nearest future?

  • Can I substitute it with something else I have?

  • Have I used it in the past months or ever? If not, what was the reason (for example, I forgot about it, I was not satisfied with the results of its use, it got broken/expired?)

  • Does the thing have any sentimental value for me or my husband?

What shall I do with those things?

     Asking this questions helped to give a second life to some of the items I took out from the storage. If this is consumable item and still can be used, I make myself use it intentionally unless I really do not need it anymore. Mostly it’s about different beauty products, masks, cleansers.

     Those items which we decide to discard, we will either pass for recycling or will throw if those are small things not needed anymore.

Continuing organizing shelves:

     Once I segregated items which can be discarded, I started arranging remaining things by categories. Here on the photo you can see that there is much less stuff remained!

Decluttering: Shelves Storage

     To say frankly, I enjoy and feel some relief when I manage to remain only the things I intend to use and release so much space. I already imagine in my mind a picture how my house could look like with no unnecessary stuff and no clutter! Step by step I’m trying to move towards that direction.

     Once I reduced a number of stuff and remained only the things we will use, I return them back to the shelves. That’s incredible that now I even got unoccupied shelves and empty storage trays! For the moment I will keep those trays. While I’m still decluttering the house, I may need them to assign for storing some things temporary. Finally, hope I will be able to discard not only plastic storages, but even unnecessary shelves and avail more living space.

 

Decluttering: Shelves Storage

 

Decluttering: Book Cabinet and Electronic Items

Decluttering: Book Cabinet and Electronic Items

     Finally I reached it! At this stage of my house decluttering project I’m finally reaching areas I was scared even to think about. Those which are the most cluttered with different stuff, and I hardly can think how I can rearrange its content.

     My intention for now is to discard really unnecessary items, avail more space and organize the one I decide to keep into different categories. One storage will be dedicated to one category only, otherwise it will confuse me and everything will get messed up again.

     So here it is, rolling my sleeves to work it out.

     So pity that I forgot to take photo of how it looked like before I started decluttering, I will try to do it next time. Anyway, it was really messy, different unrelated items were stored alongside each other.

     First thing I’m looking at is what is necessary and what is not. Happened that lots of things from the shelves are not even needed at home. Most of the items there belong not to me but my husband, mostly electronic items. Very good that he is so supportive to my decluttering and kindly agree to discard some of the items since he does not need them.

Our decluttering works for today:

  • Discarding unused CD disks

     They are not needed at home, but might be quite useful at work. Husband is going to bring them to the office for common use.

Decluttering: Book Cabinet and Electronic Items

  • Discarding Monoheadset

     We do not use it but probably someone may do. Hubby will bring it to the office to share with colleague.

Decluttering: Book Cabinet and Electronic Items

  • Discarding USB charger

     They are meant for iPod/iPhone/iPad. We used to have them a few years ago but now already using other brands of mobile devices for some time. This charger might have remained since then, so husband will share it at work with someone who can use it.

Decluttering: Book Cabinet and Electronic Items

  • Discarding Power Bank

     I remember I won it in lucky draw at work. That’s really useful thing but it’s so big and heavy! Because of that I don’t find it convenient to carry in ladies handbag, it’s rather better to store at home or office in a drawer. But in this case I can use power socket instead of power back. Ended up this power bank was stored on the shelf more than a year, so I prefer to pass it to someone who may need.

Decluttering: Book Cabinet and Electronic Items

  • Discarding Empty boxes

     Some of boxes are from our wedding rings, some from electronic items. Sometimes I keep boxes, especially if it’s from the costy products, probably hoping to keep it inside the box. But so far it never happen, in practice it’s not convenient every time pack the thing back after use, then unpack again. So I just throw the boxes and release the space they occupied.

 

     And this is the final result! Actually I would say it’s temporary as I’m still not very satisfied, want to organize it a bit more. Lower shelf is occupied by unrelated to books items like software CDs and medical devices. At the moment I don’t have yet a dedicated place to store them so will leave here temporary. When I reach this category items and allocate them a particular place, will remove from the lower shelf and instead will put other books or paper items.

 

Decluttering: Book Cabinet and Electronic Items