Saturday, June 8, 2013

Downsizing And Decluttering

I've moved myself from a large bedroom into a much smaller bedroom. Plus the bedroom I've moved into used to be the study and it still has to accommodate a home office area.

1. The idea is to rent out the large bedroom to a lodger.
2. Anyone willing to lodge with a 4yo in the house has to have a big enough bedroom that they can use for a bit of privacy without actually having to go to bed.
3. The large size of the bedroom compensates for living with a 4yo so I can charge the going rate.
4. DD's bedroom is off the old study so it's only suitable to use the old study as my bedroom.

1. Aaaargh! How am I going to fit all my stuff in here and still have room for the study?
2. My friends' fashion-conscious daughter, Gali, had a room half this size throughout her teenage years. Half the cupboard space, 1/3 of the drawer space, 4 shelves on the wall. And it was always beautifully tidy and uncluttered - as she was/is. Think like Gali.
3. A wealthy friend in London (multiple homes sort of wealthy) has one modest wardrobe for her own clothes. For each season she has a capsule wardrobe of a few well-chosen outfits which she mixes and matches. I do not need 20 dresses, 20 skirts and 20 pairs of jeans/trousers. Ditto tops, ts and jumpers.
4. It's not about storage solutions, it's about keeping/owning less.

1. Define the the office area and keep it contained. I'm a teacher and householder, I'm not running a corporate business here - how much shelf/storage space do I need for goodness sake?
2. Get rid of outdated paperwork, sort out piles of workbooks and teaching materials - either use them with students or put the one-side photocopies in DD's pile of drawing paper. Ditto about five enormous ring-files full of my MA coursework. 10 years is way past its academic shelf life and even I'm not that interested in all those scintillating essays anymore. The book about teaching business English with chapters on how to use the word processor and keeping a day-file could probably be thrown out.
3. Make a pile of books to pass on to friends and colleague who will appreciate them. Only keep those which I absolutely love and want to revisit one day.
4. Everything must have a home or it becomes mess. You also spend too much time searching for things that have no official home.
5. Select my capsule wardrobe from what I already own (capsule+ maybe in my case). If I can't bring myself to pass on some of the old stuff then store it in the empty suitcases until I have reached Decluttering Nirvana.
6. Stop buying toiletries until I've used up all the creams, lotions and potions I already have. Including gift sets, sachet samples and half bottles of stuff abandoned by guests.
7. Put old photos in albums or scan them and make books. Get rid of duplicates or make a separate album for DD.
8. We don't need to keep every towel and sheet I've ever owned since 1980.

Any other advice will be gratefully received in the comments.


  1. Everything has a place and everything goes back to its place .If you haven't worn it in a year then you most likely won't wear it this year.
    Shoes, keep in their boxes as they are easier to store like that .
    Decluttering includes furniture .If it's a pointless piece ,chuck it!!!
    As for towels and sheets ;sheets 2 of each for the pair of you ,winter and summer .A couple of spare for guests ....maybe .
    Towels get crappy so chuck 'em .
    I am proud to say that although I live in a not small flat with 4-5 other people (depending on who is about ) ,I actually have empty shelves and I love it.

    1. I totally agree about surplus furniture - I'd much rather have a feeling of space. That's why I said it's not about storage. I have hooks on the back of all bedroom doors but I don't want every bit of wall space filled with shelves.

  2. It sounds perfect on paper, but when are you actually going to get round to doing it!! I can relate to the toiletries too! Having three females in the household, my husband gets to use all the left overs!! And he always smells nice lol. Happy moving X

    1. The wardrobe only arrived on Wednesday about 4 hours after I'd broken my toe. So it could take a while. Who are you, Anonymous?

  3. I know how it is with sheets & towels. I don't feel attached to old sheets, but I hesitate to throw out old towels; they're so useful for wiping up spills. They do take up a lot of space, though.

    1. I know and what if guests descend and you want them to be able to borrow towels to take to the beach as well as have enough for the bathroom, etc... I like the idea of using them for rags though.

  4. Oh gosh what a huge job!
    I imagine the capsule wardrobe is high end designer - somehow that type of clothing lends itself to capsule in a way the sort of clothes you and I wear don't.
    Having emptied one house, stored almost everything I owned except clothes and then lost the lot in a fire- I surprised myself how little I missed (books/photos).
    We all own too much clutter. I built up clutter and then decluttered again for my last move.
    BE RUTHLESS! you will feel better for it!

    1. That's terrible to lose everything in a fire - especially photos. I am being RUTHLESS because less stuff does feel so much better, you're right.

  5. good luck I went from 6 bed to 3 bed and we so need to declutter...

    1. Wow, 3 spare bedrooms in your house is very expensive storage for clutter. Go for it Becky.