Ex­treme tech­niques to de­clut­ter your home

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

Fi­nally, after a seem­ingly end­less dark win­ter, it’s time for a big spring clean. But be­fore you can even start on the clean­ing, you have to clear the decks. Re­search by the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia found that clut­ter in the home can raise stress lev­els, with women in par­tic­u­lar ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a spike in hor­mones as a re­sult of mess. “Peo­ple be­come over­whelmed by the amount of clut­ter they have in their homes,” says de­clut­ter­ing ex­pert Les­ley Nay­lor. “But when they tackle it, it can be a hugely ther­a­peu­tic jour­ney.”

There has been a slew of books out re­cently tap­ping into our col­lec­tive, and sea­sonal, need to or­gan­ise our stuff. But where to start? With a house cov­ered in a thin film of builders’ dust and in need of a good tidy up, I de­cided to try a dif­fer­ent method for each room. they doc­u­ment how, when ap­proach­ing the age of 30 a few years ago, they re­alised that all the stuff they had craved and then ac­cu­mu­lated didn’t ac­tu­ally make them feel any bet­ter. And so they de­cided to pare back their lives.

They claim that the blog, and the four books it has spawned, have helped two mil­lion peo­ple, so per­haps I can glean some in­sights too. I try a ver­sion of their Min­i­mal­ism Game in my kitchen, where you get rid of one item on day one, two on day two and so forth. It’s a nice prin­ci­ple, but fired up with the de­clut­ter­ing zeal, I want to blitz it all.

But pa­tiently I keep it up: out go sur­plus Tup­per­ware that I can’t find lids for; toys that I’ve stashed be­cause my daugh­ter no longer uses them; old mag­a­zines I kept for “ref­er­ence”; cook­books that I have never re­ally used. I can see the ben­e­fit of do­ing it slowly, and by the end of the sec­ond week it’s be­com­ing a habit to ques­tion what I re­ally still need to keep.

Fields Mill­burn and Ni­code­mus them­selves say that de­clut­ter­ing isn’t the end goal, but in­stead it’s about ask­ing why we’re so at­tached to pos­ses­sions.

The site is full of in­spir­ing es­says that help you tackle dif­fer­ent ar­eas of your life, such as how to de­clut­ter your dig­i­tal world and how to be a min­i­mal­ist with chil­dren. This is spring clean­ing with a side of ex­is­ten­tial­ism. body, fold it in half, and fi­nally into thirds so that it stands up on its own in the drawer.

It does make it eas­ier to see what’s there, granted. But is the time spent worth it when my daugh­ter can get through two vests a day and mul­ti­ple out­fit changes? I’m not con­vinced.

“Now, let’s fold socks,” Kondo says on the video, at which point she def­i­nitely loses me. I’m quite com­fort­able with the fact that our sock draw­ers are not places of beauty. Surely wear­ing match­ing socks (some­thing we don’t all man­age ev­ery day) is an achieve­ment in it­self ? It sounds far less charm­ing than hygge, but “dostad­ning”, an amal­ga­ma­tion of the Swedish words for death and clean­ing, is on course to be one of this year’s big­gest trends. It has been pop­u­larised by Mar­garet Mag­nus­son in her re­cent book, The Gen­tle Art of Swedish Death Clean­ing. As the ti­tle sug­gests, it ad­vo­cates a big clear out be­fore you die to save your rel­a­tives the has­sle of it later on.

Mag­nus­son says that the process is ac­tu­ally “more like

Swedish death clean­ing in the loft, be­low; the KonMari method, above

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