Archives For declutter

CH 308: 1000 Item Purge

Amanda —  September 11, 2020 — Leave a comment
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This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is meadow-yarn.jpg

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is AYS.jpg

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

After an unexpected break to wrestle life into a reasonably manageable shape, the podcast is back! Today I have a giant group of giveaway winners from all of our KALs to celebrate. I also have a report from the island of decluttering, where I’ve been living for the last few weeks…

Show Links:

– THSS #5 Vapour Socks KAL: Post 21 – fifilou

THSS #6 Altitude Socks KAL: Post 9 – atrinka

– THSS3 Grand KAL: Post 29 – TheFibersmith

– Stillness MKAL: Post 460 Jastauff

– August knit20for2020

Ravelry winner:

Post 73 Pattyknits36

KNIT Long Island

Instagram winner:

@shellyknitsallthethings

White Gum Wool

The 30 Day Minimalism Game

#minsgame

Clutterbug: 5 Decluttering Methods

Simple Happy Zen: Emotional Decluttering

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 308. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells, and on social media as curioushomemade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello and welcome to the show. How are you this week? Last time I spoke to you three weeks ago, I was having a little bit of a challenging time with things going on at home, and that continued to be the case for longer than I hoped and anticipated. So I had an unplanned week off last week after a planned week off the week before.

And I don’t feel good about missing weeks on the podcast, especially when they’re unplanned, but I really needed to give myself the time last week. When I record the podcast, it’s not just the physical time it takes to write the notes and record, but if I’m not in a positive head space and I’m a bit stressed out, then I don’t like to record a show where I’m sounding really frazzled and not positive and cheerful. And sometimes I can push through and record it anyway, but last week was not one of those weeks. Everything’s fine. It was just too much going on.

So this week I am able to focus on things again. It’s Wednesday, when I’m recording, and so far I haven’t had either child at home from school yet, although it is an inter-school sports day for the kids tomorrow, so Lexi will be sitting that out because she still has her cast on. But the first half of the week has been the most productive I’ve had probably all year, so I’m feeling pretty good. And thanks to missing a couple of weeks publishing a podcast, I have a bumper number of knit along prize draws to announce this week. And later in the show, I’ll give you an update on my personal decluttering challenge I set myself a while ago.

So first to the knit along announcements. Yes, there are quite a few. So firstly for The Handmade Sock Society, which is now at an end, the knit along for the fifth socks in the series, the vapor socks, winner is fifilou. And the winner for the sixth socks in the series, the altitude socks, is atrinka. We also have the grand prize for the person who has knit all six socks in the season, the third season of The Handmade Sock Society, and drum roll. The winner of the grand prize is TheFibersmith.

So, of course I appreciate each and every one of you who have made any of the socks in The Handmade Sock Society this season, and whether you’ve entered them in the knit alongs or not, I know that not everybody does that. I often don’t do that, even when I have made something, I don’t post it on Ravelry or Instagram. But yes, I appreciate all of you, and I am especially grateful and huge kudos to the 50 or so people who knit all six socks. It’s a lovely thread to browse through and it makes me so happy to see people who’ve knit the whole collection. It’s really fun to see. So thank you very much everybody who participated.

And the prize will be a 50 US dollar voucher for the individual socks, and it is 100 US dollar voucher prize for TheFibersmith, who won the grand prize. So congratulations to you all. And if the winners could please email me at support@curioushandmade.com to let me know, one, your email address, and secondly what local yarn shop or indie dyer or online yarn shop you would like a voucher from for your prize.

We also had the Stillness Mystery Knit Along finish at the end of August. I didn’t really think about which month we’re in just then. That finished at the end of August. And again, I was absolutely blown away by the beautiful shawls you had knit. I could see that there was a little bit of a flurry of people finishing their shawls towards the end of the month, and I’m still seeing people posting their shawls on Instagram and Ravelry. They’re so beautiful. I’m so thrilled. And the winner of the Stillness Mystery Knit Along is post 460, who is Jastauff, J-A-S-T-A-U double F. Jane from Peacham in the US. She has knit a very sunny grellow Stillness shawl and she says it makes her very happy. And yes, it is a very beautiful, beautiful color combination and shawl. So thank you very much, Jane. And, again, I will be sending you a voucher via email for your prize.

And last but not least, because we had August come and go since I last recorded, we also have the August Knit 20 for 2020 winners. So on Ravelry we have post 73, Pattieknits36, who also posted a Stillness shawl as her finished object. And she has nominated Knit Long Island for her LYS. And on Instagram we have shellyknitsallthethings, who also posted a Stillness shawl for her finished object and used the hashtag knit20for2020 in the shawl category. A beautiful, summery, fresh color scheme. And in her comment she says, “It gives me sunset over beaches vibes, which makes me happy.” And I agree, it’s a very happy color combination, and the yarn is by White Gum Wool, which is an Australian company.

So thank you very much to all the people who participated in all those knit alongs recently, and congratulations to the winners. Just once more, please do get in touch via email, Helen@curioushandmade.com, to let me know your email address and which company or online shop you would like a gift voucher from, and I will get that arranged soon-ish. Oh dear, apologies for my tardiness on the prizes, but I do get there eventually. So thank you for bearing with me.

So I thought I’d give you a little update on my decluttering project because it has taken up a lot of my time in the last month or so, and some weeks I didn’t really have much else to talk about because I spent all my time working on it. About a month ago, I set myself a challenge of decluttering 1000 items. And it was kind of based on inspiration from the Minimalist 30 day Challenge, whereby you get rid of one item on the first day, two items on the second day and so on, and that adds up to 465 items. And I watched a YouTube video where a couple did it and then increased the items to 1000. And I thought, “That sounds like a good round number, so that’s what I’m going to do.”

And I didn’t do it day-by-day. It was very ad hoc. It wasn’t following the minimalist game. So in the end, I managed to do it, and it wasn’t too difficult, although I did cheat a little bit with one item or category of items, which arguably maybe should be counted as one item rather than 200 items. But anyway, I’ll read you out what I decluttered. So 155 items of clothes, 65 items from the kitchen, 130 items of rubbish, 175 skeins of yarn, 50 miscellaneous things, 20 empty picture frames that had been bought for a craft project that never happened, 35 project bags. I know, it’s shocking. 130 books, which was mostly kids books. 30 knitting needles, 10 items of fabric, which is a bit conservative, but I tended towards being conservative except for the 200 pens that I counted, which I don’t know if it’s cheating or not. But anyway, 200 pens is quite bulky.

So when I looked at the minimalist game, things that people counted as one item, I don’t know. Some people might not. Some people might. So anyway, I did. And I was pretty conservative on other things like rubbish. I threw out a lot of papers and things that I didn’t actually count, and a lot of just trash that I found in kids’ bedrooms and things that I didn’t count. So I think it kind of evens out a little bit. But that all adds up to 1000 items.

And yeah, I tried to pull some thoughts together about this whole process. So as I was decluttering, I was also watching a lot of decluttering videos on YouTube for inspiration. One of the ones that I watched I thought I would share, which is the ClutterBug 5 Decluttering Methods. So I just thought I’d share this because I was trying to remember how I actually did my decluttering. It was a little bit random. But I’ll just read out her five methods in case it’s helpful.

So number one is the Easter egg method, where you get a basket or a box or something like that and basically go around looking for things that you’re not using, loving or wouldn’t buy again. So it’s called the Easter egg method because you’re basically hunting for things around the house. Number two is the Marie Kondo method. If you’ve listened to my podcast in the past, you will have heard about this method where you sort things by category and only keep what sparks joy.

Number three is the no mess method, where you tackle an area and as you go through it you either put things in a garbage bag or put them back where they belong. Or I think put them in a bag to be taken to charity. But basically the idea is that you don’t have a big staging area. You just deal with everything as you pick it up and tidy it up. The trash bag method is where you go around the house just collecting rubbish, so good for kids’ rooms or messy areas of the house where rubbish accumulates, like the car.

The four sort method, which is kind of a more in-depth method where you have boxes or containers for keep, donate, toss or does not belong, and that’s the ClutterBug’s usual method of sorting things out. There are a couple of other methods she didn’t mention that I’ve come across. So one is the Swedish death cleaning method, where you have to ask yourself, “Would I want my kids or family to have to look at this or deal with it if I suddenly died?” Which is a clarifying question, I guess.

And then the other method that I quite like is the peel the onion method, which The Minimal Mom talks about, where it’s a gradual process over time where you go deeper and deeper into your clutter. So I came up with my own fairly random method based on a combination of some of these, and I call it the thousand item purge, where I basically went around the house manically pulling things out of cupboards and piling them up on the dining room table and then dealing with them.

So it was, I’d say, kind of a combination of the Easter egg hunt plus peeling the onion, because I went through the house several times, and then using the four sort method to dispose of the items. I was quite surprised how easy it was for me to find 1000 items, even given the 200 pens. I had the pens in mind the whole time, knowing that I could have them as a back up if I needed to make up the numbers.

Yeah, I would really recommend this method of choosing a high number, because it really made me let go of things that I’ve just been holding onto for not really any good reason, for way too long. For me, when I’m decluttering, it’s not so much knowing that I don’t need the thing. It’s more feeling bad about disposing of things not responsibly. I want to feel like they’re going to good homes or not being wasted or just contributing to landfill. But I kind of had to just draw a line on thinking that way, because otherwise I’m just holding onto stuff as a big storage unit. My house is a big storage unit with things I don’t want or need.

So some things I did throw out. I mean, they were basically things that were broken or rubbish or clothes that were too worn out. And I know that there are places that will recycle them, but in the current circumstances with COVID, I just didn’t … I don’t know. I didn’t want to burden a charity shop with tatty clothes, for example. So this is what I mean by, I just find it so hard to figure out the best way to dispose of things. I just go round in my head, overthinking it.

Anyway, I tried not to do that this time so much, but it definitely, definitely has a huge impact on reducing the amount of things I buy. Every time I go through the decluttering process, it reminds me not to buy things without being really thoughtful about it. So that’s a really positive outcome of it, even though I still do consume more than I need at times, but I’m an awful lot better than I used to be, so it’s good.

I came across another helpful YouTube video for emotional Cancerians like myself. It’s by Simple Happy Zen and How to Get Rid of the Things You Don’t Need. She talks about the more emotional aspects of things. So she talks about how things are part of your identity, often part of our fantasy selves. Like people who … we want to think of ourselves as people who will exercise or do our crafts or whatever, cook healthy meals, cook exotic, gourmet meals. I don’t know. So yeah, your stuff once you’ve bought it forms part of your identity, and so that can be why it’s difficult to let go of things.

And she talks about giving yourself permission and forgiveness for the mistakes you’ve made in your purchases, breaking the project down. And the switcheroo, which is not focusing on what you’re losing by donating or throwing things out or however you’re disposing of them, but to look at it in terms of what you’re gaining in terms of space, time and energy.

So yeah, I have wrapped up the project now. I had a big mess on my dining room table for about a month, and I finally dealt with it all. It feels fantastic. I’m definitely not a natural minimalist. I do like to have a bit of surplus things to hand and some knickknacks around the house. I like decorations and kitschy things, cute things. But I’m definitely leaning into having less stuff, and having less visual clutter. I think I can really see the benefits of that. It is definitely reducing the mental load of looking around at lots of distractions. I’ve really tried to simplify my office space, which has been semi-successful so far. My desk is still a bit too cluttered.

But making huge, huge progress, and it’s really, really helping. So I still have a list of problem areas that I still need to deal with. So I haven’t dealt with the pantry, the food, which kind of got a bit out of control with some lockdown stockpiling that I did. There’s boxes of old tax records that I should probably scan but might just hang onto for five years and avoid that nasty job. There’s kids craft stuff, and then there’s the digital clutter of photos and emails that I really would love to deal with.

So I came across a quote, which is, “Clutter is postponed decisions,” and that is a quote by Barbara Hemphill, who has actually trademark registered that quote, so I want to give her credit. But that is so true, isn’t it? Clutter is postponed decisions. Everything I’ve gone through and decluttered was all things that I put off deciding on when we moved mostly. There’s some new stuff there as well, but mostly stuff that I brought from the UK because I just couldn’t decide on it at the time. Including, I found a bag of extension cords and power boards with multiple plugs for UK plugs. What was I thinking? I think it was just one of those miscellaneous bags of stuff that the packers just put in before I had managed to deal with.

But I had been keeping it sort of thinking, “Oh, maybe next trip back to the UK, I can take it with me and give it to my friends.” But yes. I don’t know. How crazy is that? It’s sort of crazy but it sort of makes sense to me. But I think with COVID and the fact that we probably won’t make it back for about two years, sadly, I decided to let those go. Anyway, but example of postponed decisions. And so I’m going to think about things along those lines and try not to postpone decisions going forward to keep the overwhelm under control, to keep life under control. And maybe, I don’t know, try and use that as a bit of a new philosophy.

So thanks for bearing with me through my decluttering chat. It’s not a decluttering channel or podcast usually, although it does come up from time to time. But yeah, if you’re interested in the topic, there are hundreds and hundreds of really great videos about the topic on YouTube, and no doubt podcasts as well. But YouTube is particularly satisfying, seeing people show their before and afters and things like that, if you’re into that kind of thing. And yeah. So thanks for bearing with me. I hope that it’s kind of useful. I think sometimes it’s good to know that other people have issues with things.

Anyway, I promise to have some good solid knitting chat for you next week, how about that? So I hope you have a wonderful week. Thank for joining me, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Play

Show Sponsors

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is meadow-yarn.jpg

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is AYS.jpg

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

A haberdashery cupboard filled with yarn

As I get closer and closer to finishing the Knitvent 2020 collection designs, I’ve hit a procrastination snag. I know by now that it’s just part of the creative process, and a sign that I probably need to let things simmer a little longer. But these days I’m trying to choose more productive ways of procrastinating, and my favourite procrastination method is decluttering. So a warning: there’s not a whole lot of crafty content in today’s show, but there is a fun decluttering game that I’m going to do to hopefully clear a little brain space for more design work. Care to join me?

Show Links:

The 30 Day Minimalism Game

#minsgame

The Minimal Mom

The Strawberry Thief

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 306. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at CuriousHandmade.com.

Hello, and welcome to the show. Welcome to another week in this strange new world that we find ourselves in. I’ve been having a pretty good week. Kids are back at school this week, so that’s been good, after a whole week off last week, and we’re still recovering energy levels a little bit but feeling pretty good and much better. I’ve been attempting a sprint on my Knitvent designs for this year, and that is going a bit up and down. It was going really well I think maybe up until about halfway through last week when I finished one design and then started another one, and then by about this Monday I hit a bit of a wall and it wasn’t really going as well as I wanted and it slowed right down.

Then I got really frustrated and I started feeling that feeling of really intense procrastination that I used to feel when I had big university exams coming up where you would clean the whole house, binge watch TV, read. Just find absolutely anything to do except study, and that’s a little bit what I’ve been like this week. I just haven’t been able to make myself get back into it, so that’s resulted in me watching a lot of decluttering videos. I think it’s a weird thing that I tend to do when I’m stressed is watch like KonMari videos, people decluttering 90% of their wardrobe, or clean the whole house and this kind of thing, and then that makes me want to do it myself even more.

So I thought, okay, I am going to run with this feeling of doing an epic declutter, because one of my happiness projects for the year, I had written down KonMari sort of like, and I don’t really know exactly what I meant, but I think I meant like, get to the point where it really clicks and I feel like I have completed the KonMari of everything in my house bringing joy.

So I have been talking about decluttering and KonMari-ing for years on the podcast now. Never managed to attain that mystical state of being fully KonMari-ed, and I think I sort of made pretty good progress before we moved. I had quite a good filter of, do I want to carry this item around the world? We got rid of, donated, sold a lot, a lot of stuff. Big items of furniture and everything down to pens and you know, all the whole range across the whole house.

But I did hold on to quite a bit of just-in-case stuff because I was sort of thinking, well, it’s going to be a different environment and a different lifestyle, and I’m just not quite sure what things I’ll want to hang on to and what things I won’t need, so I brought a little bit of extra stuff and also things that sentimentally I couldn’t quite let go of, but probably should have or could have if I’d been a little bit less sentimental about it.

But so now, I feel like we’ve been here nearly a year, which is quite unbelievable. I think we arrived late August and moved into the house in about October. So I feel like, well, I think that’s a good amount of time to kind of know what I need now here in this new place. We’ve gone through all the seasons, which is really just various levels of hot, so I feel like I know what activities we mostly do, what sports the kids are mostly doing, and while we’re still settling into that I have a pretty good idea of some of the things that I thought we might need that we don’t. So some of the YouTube videos I’ve been watching have been people doing the minimalist’s 30-day challenge, which is decluttering or throwing out the number of items that is the number, the day of the challenge, if that makes any sense. So day one, you throw out one item, day two, two items and so on. Or donate, or sell, or whatever.

Then at the end of the 30 days you end up with 465 items, and I watched one video where a husband and wife were doing it and they both did it and then she said, “I calculated that if we added on 31 days, day 31, and then added on a few more, it would take them up to 1,000 items,” and that number just stuck in my head. I was like, “Ooh, that sounds like a good number of items to declutter,” and I really have no idea what that would look like. I can’t really imagine. I mean, I can imagine to a point because I’ve been watching so many of these videos where they show you what 465 items looks like, and in some ways it’s a lot and in other ways, it’s not that much.

So I think I am going to go for it and I am going to set myself the challenge of decluttering 1,000 items, and I will be in this by myself pretty much because my husband is more of a consumer and purchaser than a declutterer, and Lexi cannot bear to throw away anything, even like rubbish, and Sophie is my shining light and example of a natural minimalist and she is already so minimalist that I don’t think I can ask her to declutter anything else. Although she did bring out a box of stuff, old clothes that she’s grown out of and things she doesn’t want anymore, and I’m going to count those things. I’m going to include those things in that box as part of my thousand items.

So she’s actually to be fair got me off to quite a good start, but yeah, she’s amazing. She’s so inspirational. She’s always been like that since she was born. She’s never wanted stuff. Whenever I’ve asked her what she’d like for her birthday, she’s just been like, “Nothing. I don’t want anything particularly,” and she wrote a letter to Santa saying, “I don’t really want anything, but thanks very much for visiting.” She just liked the idea of the surprise, but she couldn’t think of anything she actually wanted. And yeah, every now and then she’ll just go through her room and come up with just old things that she doesn’t want anymore.

It’s quite incredible, and yeah, I wish I was like that, but I’m not. I’m very much a sentimental and I really, really don’t like throwing things out for the waste, but I’ve been watching a lot of videos about decluttering and my favorite is The Minimal Mom, and she’s a busy mom and she just has the best sort of tips and tricks to do this kind of decluttering work, simplification work, really quickly and quite easily and she just has lots of different tricks of helping yourself mentally deal with it.

For example, when she was looking at a kitchen, she said, “Okay, pretend your kitchen is a holiday house, and just have enough stuff for a holiday house kind of situation.” And I just thought, I love that. Because it then makes you simplify what you cook, and simplify what you buy, and so it has this trickle down effect to your lifestyle that if you don’t have a lot of sporting equipment, then you just do simple things like walking or jogging. And I know that doesn’t work across all areas or for everybody because some people might have a passion for golf or cycling, or things like that. I’m looking at my husband there, whereas I have a passion for craft and so I have a lot, a lot of craft stuff, and that is really going to be my challenging area to work on I think.

So, I think I am going to come up with some rules for me to deal with my craft stuff because while I have collected, have a beautiful yarn collection and fabric collection, it’s not necessarily bringing me joy because it’s too overwhelming, so I’m going to get that all out and do a proper KonMari process of having a cold, hard look at that, and I don’t know how I’m quite going to handle it in terms of tricks or rules because I’ve been through my stash many, many times, and I still have just an overwhelming amount too much. For me with my yarn, and also with things generally, I just want it to not be wasted, and yeah, and just not throw things out. Like I want it to be able to be used, but what I’m coming to realize very, very slowly is that it’s a sunk cost. It’s already wasted as such if I’m not using it, or yeah, especially if it’s stressing me out. It’s a negative. It’s becoming a negative, so I have to try to get myself to look at things differently than what I have done in the past.

One thing that’s been really good is that it has really, really, really slowed down my consumption since I started seriously trying to KonMari or declutter and become a minimalist, and I guess it’s been, I don’t know, maybe, I really don’t know. Four or five years I’d say. It was after Lexi was born, which was nine years ago, and a few years of not really being able to deal with things, and I think I got to a point at some stage maybe when she was going to school around age four that I started thinking I needed to get my life back and under control again.

So yeah, so I’ve been doing it for a long time and since I started taking things to charity shops and selling them, it has made me really slow down on buying things because then I’ve realized how difficult it is for me to get rid of it again if I don’t need it. So I think for the past year, I haven’t really, is this true or not? I haven’t really bought any yarn just for the sake of it. I’ve bought some yarn for very specific design projects, and sometimes I end up with a bit extra in that situation where I don’t quite know what color it’s going to be or if I’m definitely going to use it. I’ve bought maybe a few extras to have options, but that’s only been for work purposes I think that I’ve bought yarn.

And if I’m in a situation like a yarn festival or a beautiful yarn shop, I will definitely be triggered to just buy things because they’re beautiful. But that situation hasn’t really arisen much in the last year or so. I’ve been too busy, either moving or being locked down. I think there’s one yarn shop in Brisbane and there’s one a bit north of me here, but I haven’t visited either of them yet. Yeah, so I haven’t really been in a situation where I’ve been super tempted.

I have however been tempted by the hexie-along from The Strawberry Thief online shop, so that’s my craft indulgence, but it’s kind of under control because I’ve been not keeping up with it, but just dipping into that project, and so that’s being used as it comes in, which is really nice. Other than that I don’t think I’ve been too bad, but it’s taken me to getting to a point of overwhelm with the amount of stuff I have to get to that point, which is not really a good thing.

I think I will feel fantastic if I really get to that clicking point of the full KonMari, and I am going to maybe give myself til the end of August. I’m not going to do it as a 30-day challenge. I’m too impatient. I’m just going to do it as a real procrastination activity burst mostly this week. Maybe it might take me a bit longer to tackle some things or if I’m selling some things. I’ll try and document it. I don’t know how I’m going to go with documenting it. I don’t really want anything to slow me down. I mean, while it would be sort of fun to document it and be able to look back on where I was at a particular point in time and share it, because I find other people’s stories and efforts so inspiring, I’m not sure. I’ll have to see how I go with that.

But yes, so my plan is to basically pile everything up on the dining table and places around the house and then count it and get rid of it all at once, but I might have to do phases of doing that depending on how bulky things are and so on. So I already got some things collected on the table. I’ve made a bit of a start, and I counted them and it’s about a hundred things and so I have no idea if I’ll be able to get to a thousand. Because a hundred things is actually quite a lot of stuff. Anyway, it’s going to be interesting and I will give you an update in about two weeks’ time on that project.

So, thanks for bearing with me as I chat about that, if you have. If this is topic doesn’t interest you, I probably should have put a warning at the beginning that I was just going to be rambling about that, but I don’t know. If you’re interested, I’m going to link how to do the 30-day minimalist’s challenge and I’ll put a link to The Minimal Mom podcast because I just think she’s so excellent, and if anyone wants to join in with me, that would be fab. There’s a hashtag for the minimalist challenge, which is Mins, M-I-N-S, Game. MinsGame is the hashtag for the minimalist challenge, and I will try and have more knitting and crafting chat for you next week.

So, I hope you have a fantastic week. I hope you’re all well. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Editing the Stash Declutter and Simplify

I learnt a lot with the simplify and declutter theme this month. Here is my summary and top tips for decluttering.

1. Create a Vision

In The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, Marie Kondo suggests that the first thing you need to do is to create a vision of your desired lifestyle. I found this to be inspirational and motivating. It really helped guide me as I was making decisions along the way and kept me going through the process.

I took some time to think about how I would really like my home to be. I realised that although things were driving me a bit crazy as they were, my vision was very achievable.

“I have a vision of being able to go through day to day life easily without constantly feeling like I can’t find things. I would like to be surrounded by beautiful colours and natural fibres and textures that fill me with happiness and nurture me and my family. There will be less visual distractions and clutter and instead some of the beautiful things I already own will be allowed to sing.”

2. Make it a Project

Have a plan and decide what areas you are going to tackle and how you are going to go about it.

Set some goals and a deadline for getting it done. Then you can have the satisfaction of ticking things off the list and also knowing when you’re finished.

Block out some time in the diary and be realistic (see tip 4 below)

3. Use a Method

There are different ways to approach this. I have talked about a few on the podcast and I believe it is best to do what you feel comfortable with.

You can start small with just one shelf or cupboard. Alternatively you can tackle the house entirely, in #KonMarie (Marie Kondo) style.

I think the main factor here is how much time you have.

4. Allow more time than you think you’ll need (a lot more)

I’m very glad that the theme was running for a month rather than a week because it has taken all that time to get to a stage where I’m happy with where I’ve got to.

I could have probably done it faster, but I do feel like the decluttering process is a skill that improves with practice. I have been working towards having less clutter for a couple of years now so I guess I’m not a complete beginner but it still takes me time to work through things. You will need time to physically take things out and sort through them. You might find that there are dependencies, for example on other members of the family needing to be consulted in certain areas. Then there is the task of getting the things out of the house and somewhere else in a satisfactory way.

I did find that the Marie Kondo method of gathering everything of a certain category together and then asking “Does it spark joy?” helped speed up the process considerably. It was much easier to focus on that one question, instead of torturing myself with considerations such as, “it might be useful in the future”, “but it was soooooo expensive” and my hardest one “but it was a gift”.

5. Question your triggers and reasons for keeping things

As mentioned above, in the past I would keep things for a range of reasons. It turned out that when I looked at things differently I didn’t need or want to keep a lot of things after all.

It is also very helpful to look at why we bought the things in the first place. This will help slow down the flow of things coming into the house which I believe is key for maintaining your vision.

In Episode 60 of the Curious Handmade podcast, Felicia, founder of The Craft Sessions talks about her triggers for buying stash items such as yarn and fabric in her personal project Stash Less.

I discovered through editing my stash, that my biggest triggers were sale bargains and fear of missing out.

6. Get help and share

It is incredibly helpful to have a friend either help you declutter in person or support virtually. I had a good friend help me with some of the areas that I just didn’t seem to be able to deal with myself and administer a little bit of “tough love”.

It was so brilliant to have the support and camaraderie of listeners and readers on the Curious Handmade Ravelry board.

I really enjoyed getting texts, emails and Instagram posts from friends and listeners all over the world too. It always feels nice not to be the only one doing something and having that support made a bit of a dull job much more fun.

7. Decluttering is physically and emotionally tiring

For most of us decluttering isn’t a day to day activity and it can involve a lot more walking and lifting that usual.

Also the process of examining the things in our life and why we have them and hold on to them can stir up a lot of emotions.

Both the physical and emotional energy used up can be very tiring so make sure to drink lots of water and take rest breaks.

8. Let it go!

Something that Paula of Knitting Pipeline mentioned in my chat with her on Curious Handmade Podcast episode 59 was to look at things as a lesson learnt. This meant that instead of keeping an item of clothing because it was expensive, even though it didn’t fit anymore (or never did), I could chalk it up to experience and let it go.

Marie Kondo suggests thanking items for their hard work and considering how an item has fulfilled its purpose for you and can move on.

I say – be a bit ruthless! It is scary and exhilarating at the same time!

Take the time to dispose of the things in a satisfactory way. I would recommend organising things into bags/boxes to either trash, recycle, give to goodwill, give to friends, sell (ebay or consignment stores). Then deal with them as soon as possible so they don’t creep back into the cupboard or circulations.

9. Less is More.

If you need any motivation to embark on a declutting project just remember that less is more, and in surprising ways.

You will have:

More time. Less time spent looking for things and cleaning.

More curated and confidence building. You will be left with the things you really love which will give you more confidence in your personal style.

More relaxing. You won’t be as stressed looking for missing things or visually distracted by mess.

More inspiring and joyful. If you are a crafter, having just the stash items you really love and easy access to your favourite materials will spark incredible inspiration.

10. Enjoy

Sit down, have a cup of tea and admire your work!

Useful decluttering resources:

Thank you to listeners and readers for suggesting some wonderful resources.

Zen Habits

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

Project 333

Be More with Less

The Peaceful Mom Declutter Challenge

Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste

The Daily Connoisseur – Ten Item Wardrobe