Have to be honest a friend got me this book years ago but it still sat on the shelf, she wasn’t being mean saying ‘oii your house is a tip’ but she knows I have some dark days through poor mental health and knew that a happy house made a happy person.
So, fast forward a few years and to be honest I didn’t regard myself as a hoarder, didn’t feel that I was overly cluttered or that I had that much stuff in my house. Oh wow do we fool ourselves sometimes and blindly overlook that pile of magazines that have sat there for 3 years because you’re sure there was an article in one of them you wanted to save but haven’t quite got round to doing it. Yep, my house was full of ‘that’ll come in useful’ piles or ‘I’m saving that for a project’ pile. Quite what the use or project was going to be was immaterial but I think that’s how I self rationalised it.
Now I always thought decluttering meant being minimalist and I wasn’t ready to throw everything out. I have some nice bits and pieces collected over the years that have special memories and I genuinely thought decluttering meant they would be expected to go so I shied away from all this clearance nonsense. To me it was just nonsense, I lived in a perfectly normal eclectic household. I love how we use eclectic to mean ‘random stuff we can’t decide what to do with’!!
But one day I was trying to find a really important document, the sort that would stop me working if I couldn’t find it and for the life of me not a clue where it was. And as I was hunting for it I realised the amount of boxes I’d moved and just put pack trying to find it. They were all lovely pretty boxes so I didn’t count them as false storage because they had pretty flowers on them so how could they not be useful?!? Back to the self rationalising, didn’t realise how good I’d got at that to be honest.
So, after realising err yeah you are a bit of a hoarder I decided to confront things. Truthfully still not read all her book but flicked through bits and I recognised a lot of myself in it and alarm bells started ringing. So, Easter holidays – that’s it blitz required. I have a back bedroom I use as an office, I say use very loosely. You can see the desk at the end of the room but actually being a functional space err yeah that’s a very loose definition in reality. It occurred to me that only close friends were allowed in there and that was another alarm bell to me. So, the house – decided to go for it!
To date, I have emptied two massive cupboards in my house that could actually be turned into a small room they are that large. Wow, a tip run for each then carefully go through everything and only put back in what I actually need or use. I halved the contents of one and totally emptied the other. So, if that’s just with cupboards what else have I been keeping for no good reason. And once you see a change, your mood shifts – you are suddenly in control of your environment not the other way around. And it becomes almost contagious, you start looking for the next cupboard or drawer to blitz. Shoes, how many did I have and how many do I wear?? Yeah, that’s only for close friends after wine type of discussion because I was ashamed of what I’d kept for no good reason.
But, what I have learnt from this process is you do need to do a big space at once. You actually see the change and go wow if I can do that in one day what else could I achieve? You have a whale of a time sending your mates whattsapp pics as you go ‘omg why do I still have this??’ and you do actually find some hidden gems. I found a necklace from my Grandmother I’d completely forgotten about and am so glad to have found it again. I have gifted 3 aldi bags worth of text books that won’t get used again to a neighbours child, taken countless bags of bedding and clothing to charity shops, done countless tip runs because lets face it those 15 half cans of paint really aren’t that useful are they?!?
I still haven’t read the book fully but seem to have embodied it on my own, I feel so much calmer and my cats are actually calmer too. The space in the house feels light and calm and you can move round without trip hazards! I must admit the clothes I organise by colour as that works for me better as I’m incredibly visual and colour orientated. I also kind of get the ‘does it spark joy’ thing but I cheat slightly, because I’m not a natural thrower outer I give myself a box and any unsure items go in there, and then I’m allowed to keep one in three afterwards. But I haven’t really needed the box since I got the hang of go big or go home!
So, the upshot – I personally would recommend her book as it’s like a ticklist of what to remember to do. But, and this is the amazing part you take ownership of your space and feel so much better in it – it becomes your home again, somewhere to be proud to say ‘yeah I live here’ and not think err I’ll just move that pile of washing before you sit down!! And warning, it is addictive! Friend is now on probably her third sweep of clearout, not sure what’s left in her house actually??