Ellie Kirby
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Most of the clients I see will say ‘I just need to get it sorted’ whatever ‘it’ may be for them. For me, this ‘it’ is clutter. My whole life felt totally cluttered, with physical things, my time, my lists, my work, even digitally. My dropbox is overflowing and I can never find folders. I have so many piles here and there of this and that, it’s scary. I had decided, it was sort your life out time.

Some people really have their life sorted out. Do you have that person in your life? Their car is always clean and tidy, you can pop in to their home whenever and it’s always immaculate. They can put their hands on any bill and they could tell you their bank balance any day of the week. I always say that these people ‘have their ducks in a row’. (Secretly jealous!) I have always aspired to be like that but never even got close. Around a year ago I read a book by Marie Kondo, The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying and given that I am not a particularly tidy person, thought it would be a fun read. I read it and did a few bits, but then decided around 6 months later I was going to have a real go with it after watching a documentary on minimalism.

So at the beginning of January 2017 I started clearing out the places and things that I used the most which were the most irritating for me. My first stop: getting ready in the morning. When I come to get ready in the morning, do my hair, make up and get dressed it seemed to take forever and caused my quite a bit of stress. Starting with my make up and hair drawer, I put some drawer liners in and threw everything away I never used, making what I do use easily accessible.

This is my make up drawer before and after. Having filtered everything by category (as per the book) I didn’t realise I had 8 deodorants and 5 perfumes, which is more than anyone needs realistically. 2 of each perhaps at the most. In order not to be wasteful I did use them up, I didn’t just sling them in the bin so that now there’s 2 of each.

Second Stop: My car: I didn’t take a picture of the mess all over my car but I am one of those people who seems to always have a boot full of stuff. I went through that and found a solution for my plastic bags, gym kits and so on, and managed to empty the boot. Emptied the glove box and the centre compartments and had only in there what I needed.

I kept on finding pens everywhere I went. It’s like I’d had a pen fairy who found some joy from scattering pens everywhere. I found 13 in my car alone. Who needs thirteen pens in the car? As well as one in every drawer I sorted, I ended up with a huge pile of pens during this clearing out. 

Moving on to my clothes was surprisingly easy. When you take everything out of the wardrobe, look at it, and only put your favourite things back in, you realise just how much stuff is there that we don’t wear regularly. I have 2 pairs of jeans that I love, and 2 skirts I love too. They stayed and the rest went! Perhaps 8 or 10 pairs I didn’t wear or even like. 3 bags later to the charity shop, I was noticing how much more free I felt without that STUFF.

Once this sorting had been done, getting ready in the morning had become a breeze. I had shaved around 20 minutes off per day of finding what I wanted to wear and as everything I kept I loved, meant I felt good in whatever was there.

Onto the kitchen and other drawers in order of which ones I used the most, here’s my under the kitchen sink cupboard. It’s so much easier on the eye to have a clean cupboard, and doesn’t spark off a stressful feeling when I open it any more.

As I keep coming back to with clients, stress doesn’t have to be massive things in our life. It can be small. It can be a sinking feeling when you cook that you haven’t got any space to chop vegetables. It can be the patch of carpet we’ve been meaning to clean for ages that irritates every time we walk into the living room. Stress does not have to be the loss of a family member or pet to have an effect on us. Sorting out the things on our stress list can have a huge and positive impact on our lives. (Even if it sounds sad that you need to just clean out a few cupboards.)

In her book, Marie Kondo shares that when you open a cupboard and there are lots of labels and words facing you, it’s like there is a lot of ‘noise’ in the cupboard. ’24 Hour Protection’ ‘Kills 99{ed159cecbb77fea5818615232e4de1df78190e31fc4ef13eb5bf38ea400c3a92} of Bacteria’ ‘Rapid Action’ ‘Non Biological Laundry Detergent’ … all the words jumping out when I opened the cupboard. It’s so much ‘quieter’ with things in storage boxes where the labels are not all visible.

“Make space in your life for the inevitable arrival of what you want” ~ Marie Kondo

Next came the big one. The loft. Yes, I said it! I ventured up there and here are the pictures of what it looked like on the day I decided to tackle this monster. A monster it really was! I am not joking at all when I say you couldn’t even get in there. It was packed from one side to the other, floor to ceiling. It was so overwhelming I didn’t know where to start. Getting rid of the cardboard boxes was where I started (3 runs to the recycling centre!) and the school books and photo albums were the most difficult to sort. There were just so many photographs in so many different boxes it was incredible. To decide which ones I wanted to keep and which ones to throw, and then sort them into albums took a long time.

BEFORE

 

It took me the best part of 2 weeks to do the loft alone. It did feel like it got worse before it got better, and I really had to keep coming back to my dream of having a nice organised space which didn’t look like a disaster zone. There was only one alive spider in the whole 600 square foot space that I found so that was okay, I expected a tarantula or two…

AFTER

 

The Biggest Lessons

The biggest lesson in all of the clearing, was that whilst I went about deciding what I didn’t want, I suddenly got a whole load clearer on what I did want.

Rich bought me flowers home and I realised, in my clutter free living room (which you can pop round whenever and it will be immaculate!) I love having fresh flowers.

I adore the smell of Frankincense essential oil and I light the oil burner each evening with some Frankincense. See my blog on essential oils here if you missed it.

The other huge lesson was about waste. It was shocking how much we had accumulated and what was getting thrown out. It has had quite a big effect on me when I go shopping, the desire just doesn’t hit me like it did before. I was pleased to say that a lot of the things I found I was able to donate to charities so I hope that I have helped someone else life, or many others’ lives by clearing out my own.

Next on the list we would like a new bedroom! A new bed, mattress and linens as the one we have is really old. This is my project for the year… #DucksInARow and I wonder how many of you might like to join me? It really does have a huge effect on how good we feel when we love our space.

Go on, sort your life out! Post me some pictures I would love to see what you decide to do.

Ellie x