By Lady Lolita, 25th June 2016

Bad Case of Piles

De-Clutter Your Life and Get your Surfaces Back

De-Clutter Your Life and Get your Surfaces Back

I have a bad case of piles. It’s terrible. Completely debilitating and impossible for me to live a normal life until I sort it out. No, not that kind… I mean piles of stuff around my house.

I’ve talked about how easy it can be to keep a tidy home when you have kids, but this is more than that – this is managing chaos. There are piles of laundry to be washed/hung out/put away, piles of paperwork to sort through, piles of receipts in every handbag and purse, piles of books I will never read again, piles of cuddly toys cluttering up my kids’ bedroom and don’t even talk to me about the garage that contains things I haven’t even looked at in over a year. In fact the only thing that I don’t have piles of right now is money.

So whether it’s your New Year’s resolution that you are finally getting round to, a late spring clean or a pre-Christmas clutter clear out – now is the time to get on top of your piles.

Want to finally be able to pinpoint the exact place where that telephone bill from three months ago is? Go into your child’s room without crying? Or open up a kitchen drawer and find a teaspoon without trawling through piles of shit that really should have been chucked away years ago?

Cutlery Drawer

Well here are my top ten tips for a pile-less life… come join me in the mother of all sort outs!

1: One Thing at a Time
There is nothing more overwhelming than looking around your hell hole of a home and thinking ‘OMG where do I start?’ (then getting the biscuits out and watching TV instead). So tackle one room at a time. Put a date in the diary, clear your schedule and get that room sorted.

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2: Get Help
There’s no point going at it alone as that’s boring and you’ll get distracted reading old newspaper clippings and school diaries. Just grab a roll of bin bags and a kick-arse friend and get stuck in together (preferably with loud music and wine at hand).

3: Be Ruthless
Only keep what you need. The biggest problem that hoarders have is knowing what constitutes as something necessary in their life. Well that’s easy, of what you have in your home it should be split up thus… 75% Useful, 20% Beautiful and 5% Sentimental. So that broken toy that once belonged to your now grown up kids? Well it’s ugly and useless even if it IS sentimental – bin it. Birthday cards from seven years ago? Bin them. Things you haven’t looked at in three years but may come in handy one day? Well they haven’t so far… bin them.

Make 3 Piles

4: Three New Piles
As you start to sort things out make sure you have three boxes at hand marked SELL, CHARITY and BIN, then start to sort your unwanted items into those three categories. The sell box should be full of things that are nearly new that you can make money from or can give to friends, the charity box is of unwanted items that can be given to a charity shop or organisation, and the other is broken or useless junk. Be ruthless – put it away or get rid!

5: File, Shred or Recycle
When it comes to sorting paperwork out, separate into three piles too. Receipts, bank statements, bills and legal documents need to be shredded and can be used for packing material and hamster cages, or recycled. Piles and piles of kids’ drawings (pick out a few of your favourites, just a FEW) can be recycled, just hide them under the egg cartons so the children don’t see them and go for a new tantrum world record attempt. As for the important stuff, DON’T put that into yet another pile. Buy a filing system, organise it and from then on in promise yourself that when a bill arrives you file it away immediately.

6: Routine Routine Routine
Get used to putting stuff away every day before you end up with molehills of disorder around your house again. As soon as you bring the washing in put the socks together, put the towels away, fold the clothes into piles of who they belong to and put the ironing in the ironing basket. Straight away. No, not later, NOW. Because tomorrow you will just add even more clothes to the ever increasing pile and then again the next day and eventually you will have a clothes mountain that everyone will rummage through each day and wardrobes will remain empty forever more. The same goes with putting away books after they have been read, filing bills or chucking out the kids’ old school work from the previous term. Don’t put it down on a clear surface or the piles will start breeding!

Routine Routine Routine

7: Everything in its Place
If you don’t have enough storage then make some. You can be super ingenious in the smallest of spaces. Change your bed to one that pulls up and has storage beneath, buy a coffee table with drawers or use ottomans as stools. Ikea is a great affordable place to buy storage – from pretty boxes to store on top of your wardrobe to keep spare bags in or hooks to add to the inside of your cupboard doors. Here are some handy household storage hints to start you off…

8: Make Money
If you need an incentive to chuck stuff away then think about the money you can make. After binning and giving away a load of old tat, you can sell the rest! Look for local Buy And Sell Facebook groups or advertise on Ebay… in one year I sold so much of my baby stuff that it paid for a much needed holiday. Win win!

9: Stop spending
Remember, the only way you can keep your piles down is to stop buying stuff and adding to them. So if you want less receipts clogging up your handbags, spend less. If you want less food rotting in your fridge, spend less. If you want less clothes that you will never wear again taking up all the hanging space… stop buying them.

10: Keep it up
Ah, look at that. Your surfaces are back and your house is tidy again. Now don’t let it get in that state again. Stick to your routine, put everything away immediately and in the right place and be ruthless when it comes to what needs keeping.

Let us know how you get on. I’m off with my pick axe now to hack my way through mountains of useless stuff in my home and practice what I preach. See you on the other (tidier) side!

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