December 2015 By Bulbul Makhani Bulbul Makhani’s life became lighter, happier and more energetic when she decluttered her house of things she had been hoarding for emotional reasons We are a family of hoarders. The trait may have its origin in the scarcity experienced during India’s partition. Our ancestral home had big metal trunks full of mattresses, coats, brass and copper utensils and cobwebs. If anyone dared to look in or attempted to dejunk, my grandmother would promptly jump and sit on the trunk with an ‘over-my-dead-body’ look in her eyes. She also loved making potlis (little bundles of knickknacks held with a knot in her dupatta.) Sometimes when she needed a particular dupatta she would open the knots, take the contents and quickly tie them up in a different dupatta. Our storeroom was a rainbow of potlis. Looking back, I can see it was such madness because I can’t ever recall us using things from any of those storages. My mother hoarded books, letters and decorative things and I, just about everything. Then in 2008 I moved in with my mother. Our two-bedroom flat had enough stuff to furnish four homes. My proposal to declutter started with being unable to find my cheque-book at a critical moment one hot summer day. Three days of search though immense amount of clutter and the penny dropped. Everything I had looked through was stuff I had never needed. It had never been used, was unwanted, but some part of my mind believed that it would come in handy some day. Once I got rid of two piles of such stuff, another penny dropped. I had just bought space. 3ft by 7 ft of it. When you live in a big city, space is expensive and every time you declutter you make thousands of rupees. Over the next two years I managed to gift people in my small universe things that I had in twos. TVs, refrigerators, cabinets. I sneaked under my mother’s nose, books that went to the library, to neighbours, even the kabbadi team. Soon our home started looking lighter, neater and we were not losing things as often as we used to. I also began to review my stuff more often. I sneaked under my mother’s nose, books that went to the library, to neighbours, even the kabbadi team. Soon our home started looking lighter, neater and we were not losing things as often as we used to My declutter journey taught me seven big lessons. Think before you buy. If you must do impulsivebuying, buy consumables. Things that lie unused collect a sad energy. Clean surfaces like tables, beds, chairs, counters, de-stress you. The opposite is even more true. Organizing objects in specific spaces and always returning them there makes you feel powerful. Say no to things you don’t need. It’s very liberating. Make objects in your life meaningful. When something loses meaning, gift or sell. Everything in your home should bring you joy or be hugely convenient. Minimalism is the Now and Future. Invest in experiences, not things. It’s been a five-year journey now and I think I still have the last mile to go through. I have sentimental and grandiose ideas of how something will come in handy one day. The difference is that now I am aware, and it’s just a matter of time before I will be clutter-free. Google says there are decluttering professionals worldwide. They charge you to free you of your own purchases. The magic of decluttering is worth taking such help. The five benefits of decluttering: You save money. Lots of it. Like a Facebook note said: It’s 100 per cent sale if you don’t buy that thing. The energy of your home will be light and free You will feel happier You will always know what you have and what you need You will find things far more easily. Join Declutter Today group on Facebook for many tips shared by the declutter community. About the author Bulbul Mankani is Founder, The Slow Tribe. www.bulbulmankani.com and www.restingintheslowlane.blogspot.com
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