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31 January 2020

3 steps to more tidiness!

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The year is young, motivation is high to change things: Perfect conditions for parting with your old belongings and clearing the clutter once and for all. For many of us, it is true to say that we possess too much and use too little of it.


Step 1: Learn to let go!

Decluttering is a highly emotional process. This is why tidying up experts recommend tackling one area after the other. The following order has proven to be successful:

clothing, books, paperwork and finally, emotional paraphernalia.

It is important to always tackle everything in one category at once. That means, not only the wardrobe, but also sort out the coat rack, shoe cupboard and mothballed clothing.

Various bowls and plates in different colours on a shelf.
Hand on heart, how many things do we really need? (photo @ Brooke Lark/unplash)

Only keep your favourites: Objects are like friends: We only keep the really special ones our whole life long.

Rule of thumb: Anything not used or worn for a year must go. The exception: objects that are emotionally important, such as granny’s heirloom, or your first love letter.

The trick with the click: A good alternative for old souvenirs and odds and ends that you don’t want to keep, but do want to remember, is to capture the objects in an attractively arranged photo. It is then easier to part with them.

Drastic, but helpful: In Sweden there is a new trend called “death cleaning”. It involves clearing out your home so that your family has as little work to do as possible should you suddenly no longer be around.

White couch, white table with table plant in a white room.
Clarity as far as the eye can see! It also helps you to think straight. (photo @ Vadym Andrushchenko/Shutterstock)

Step 2: Sort correctly!

2020 is much influenced by sustainability, and that includes waste avoidance and disposal. A good guide to use is the so-called 5 Rs of sustainability defined by Bea Johnson, the mother of the zero-waste movement in America. The 5 Rs have now taken on a life of their own in the digital sustainability scene and appear in many variations.

The 5 Rs

1. Reduce:

After you have cleared all wardrobes, boxes and rooms of unnecessary things, the social part begins:

Sell: It’s worth going to a flea market to sell things that are valuable or in good condition. Here an Overview of Berlin Flea Markets

If you don’t want to leave your home (after all, it’s now nice and tidy…) can put your things up for sale on secondhand clothes websites, such as Kleiderkreisel, Mädchenflohmarkt, on ebay or Shpock.

Donate: Alternatively, you can also take the treasures you have sorted out to a clothing bank or donate them to a charity shop or a non-profit organisation such as Caritas. A useful list is provided here.

2. Refuse:

Sounds easier than it is: Saying “No thank you” is not easy. But as you have learned to do so, you feel better immediately. Regardless of whether its advertising gifts or bags in a shop, if you bring less home with you, you have less to clear away.  

3. Reuse:

Not always sexy, but extremely important. No matter how attractively new things may shine, simply use what you’ve already got. It’s easier on the environment and on your wallet.

4. Repair:

Not only less impact on the environment and your wallet, but also keeps the neighbourhood diverse and alive: take broken and worn shoes and bags to the shoe repair’s around the corner. The same goes for bikes, electrical appliances and clothing- they’re often worthwhile repairing!

5. Recycle:

The last resort in the disposal process has its own heading, because correct disposal is important for the environment and spares the nerves of the BSR, Berlin’s cleaning and waste management company. To find out how, where and what you can dispose of in Berlin, click here.

White bicycle with green rear tire in front of a colorful wall.
Repairs are worthwhile. Sometimes a completely new look is created. (photo @ santypan/Shutterstock)

Step 3: Maintain tidiness!

Sort smartly: To keep track, fold and organise your clothing so that you can see everything at once. Drawers are very suitable for folding clothes into small packs and standing them upright, one behind the other.

Everything easy to access: Each object is assigned a permanent place in the home. After it has been used, it is put back there straight away. This avoids chaos, frantic looking and unnecessary housekeeping efforts. (If something is still missing despite all this, it’s clear once and for all that the ghost in the house is not a figment of your imagination!).Box it: Pretty boxes are helpful for small or rarely used objects. You not only save space, but also keep track of things and maintain tidiness.

Drawer with various writing utensils.
Tidiness and structure can be fun and saves time. (photo @ mbildes/Shutterstock)

Titel photo @ Floral Deko/Shutterstock


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