My Journey to Living a Life Less Cluttered

By Leila Edwards

collect moments

Clutter. It would have to be one of the most stressful things that we have in our lives, agree?

It seems that the more belongings we have and the more we own in terms of ‘stuff’ – the big stuff – cars, houses, property, shares – all become harder to keep track of due to all of the never-ending maintenance, associated bills, rates, licences, not to mention the responsibility that come with it… STRESSFUL!

Well the same goes for all of the ‘little stuff’: Clothes, shoes, books, handbags, DVD’s, magazines, paperwork, electrical cords and chargers, coffee mugs, beauty products… The more belongings we have and the more clutter and mess we have surrounding us, the more stressed and overwhelming things become. As the number of ‘things’ start to increase and take over our personal living space our overall sense of peace and happiness begins to decrease. Who has ever needed 15 coffee mugs anyway?

One word I chose to put on my vision board this year was SIMPLIFY.

I wanted to simplify my life and to me this means having physical and mental clarity. Physically having less STUFF taking up space in my home and surroundings. Mentally having less stress and freeing up some space in my BRAIN! Having the capacity to think and dream and create – to do the things that I love to do – as opposed to filling my mind with incessant worrying about to-do lists that I never got around to, along with other meaningless mind-clutter. To simplify my inner and outer worlds… Peaceful. Relaxing. Calming. Ahhhh…. Who doesn’t want to be able to describe their life using those lovely words?! And let’s face it, it’s pretty hard to relax and unwind when you’re sitting in the middle of a pile of crap.


“Cluttered surroundings create cluttered minds” – Tweet that (just kidding, I don’t even know how Twitter works… yet. Watch this space.)

I’ve always been a cluttery (made-up word) person – not by choice, that’s just how I am. As a teenager my bedroom was always a mess and as an adult I’ve struggled to keep the clutter at bay, even though I hate it. There always seems to be a pile of books, stacks of papers, a stash of toys or random bits of stationary piling up nearby. And it truly drives me nuts.

Enter the KonMari Method.

Recently, I got a hold of a book called The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Japanese decluttering queen Marie Kondo. It only took me a few days to power through it – and those who know me will know that this is record timing! Basically the idea behind the KonMari Method is that you only keep the things that SPARK JOY. While this isn’t always feasible – I wouldn’t say that my kitchen appliances exactly “spark joy”, but I need to keep them around right? – The concept really struck a chord with me. I was intrigued. I actually couldn’t wait to get started.

KonMari Book

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

I’ll admit, the book can get a little cray at times… folding socks instead of balling them together to give them the respect they deserve (okaaaaay…) and saying hello to your house when you return home (Stick with me here!) BUT – I love the overall message. Surrounding yourself with things that you love and that make you happy can’t be a bad thing. And I reckon that any form of decluttering is good for the soul no matter how much or how little you get rid of, you are still creating SPACE!

I started by coming up with a vision of how I wanted my life and surroundings to look and feel. Here are some of the words I came up with…

My Vision

So what has applying the KonMari Method meant for me? Much to my husband’s delight (Chief ‘Throwing-Out-Everything’ Man) I have started to sell/bin/giveaway and generally cull many of our belongings. This started with going through my collection of clothes. Why is it that we always say we have nothing to wear but when it comes to the folding up and putting away the dreaded washing mountain (or is that just me that has one of those??), we seem to have an abundance of clothes and too many to manage? Well after reading this book I’ve come to realise that I owned FAR too many clothes, but very few of them “sparked joy”. I actually didn’t LIKE most of them. I literally had close to 100 singlet tops stuffed into my drawers that I never wore – they were either too young looking/didn’t suit me/too small/too whatever – and yet I still kept them. As it is, I try not to wear many singlet tops anymore due to repeated sun damage from when I was younger, so WHY did I hang onto these clothes for so long when I didn’t even wear them? Crazy. It was the same story for shorts and pants. Off to the local Vinnies they went.


Before and after pics of the clothes sorting!


My ‘tops’ are now looking a lot more user-friendly

When it came to dresses, I seemed to have more in my closet that were brand new and still had shop tags on them than those that didn’t. I sorted through them and decided to sell about half (mostly the ones that still had tags on). So I took to some of our local ‘For Sale’ facebook groups and started advertising. On the selling pile included a beautiful dress that I had bought a few years back that was 2 sizes too big for me and that I had great plans of getting altered. Never happened. It was great to see it go to someone who fell in love with it straight away. She had recently lost a lot of weight and looked fabulous in it! Gotta love a feel-good moment and it was win-win for both of us.


The culled dress collection

Next on the list, books! As a book lover and someone who has a big collection, I’m not looking forward to this one, but the thought of only keeping books that I love and WILL read again actually kind of excites me… I’ll keep you posted.

The Benefits of Decluttering

+ Less stress & less mess = Less overwhelm (the less you have, the less you have to put away and manage!)

+ Less time cleaning = More time for the things and people you love!

+ A clearer, calmer mind = Focus & mental clarity

+ Buy less crap = Save more money (for awesome things like holidays!)

+ More gratitude and appreciation for what you have = Creates more abundance in your life. How does the saying go? Where energy flows, abundance grows? Something like that.

Some tips on decluttering: KonMari Style!

+ Only keep things that SPARK JOY! Ask yourself “Does this item make me happy? Does it bring me joy?”

+ Follow the correct order when sorting through your belongings. I found this cute, printable guide here

+ Fold/hang clothing correctly to save space – there are plenty of videos on YouTube demonstrating the KonMari way of folding

And my 2 cents worth…

+ Keep in mind that it’s super important to keep on top of your clutter. It sneaks back into our homes and lives on a daily basis. Think about it – mail/bills, school newsletters, kids drawings, magazines/newspapers. The list goes on. Read them and then bin them or file them straight away. Don’t start creating those piles again!

+ When it comes to shopping, before you buy something – whether it’s a new item of clothing/jewellery, an ornament for the house, a book, anything –  make sure that it’s something you really love! Are you going to wear/use it or is it going to sit there un-used, un-loved, taking up space and collecting dust? To stop things from getting out of hand again, why not try this out as a rule of thumb: As something comes in, something goes out. When you bring something new into the home, donate, sell or get rid of something old. Simple.

As a side note…

I’m all for teaching my kids about responsibility and looking after their belongings, but lately their rooms have been worse than they EVER have. I’m so sick of telling them to tidy up! And I know they are sick of being asked… So it was great timing when I came across this article a couple of days ago.

It’s about an idea called The 20-Toy Rule and it’s as simple as name suggests. You get your kids to sort through their toys and pick out 20 toys each to keep. That’s it. The rest magically disappear… This method makes things more manageable for the child and less overwhelming for them when it comes to tidying their rooms. They can also see everything they own and therefore they’re more likely to appreciate and play with it. As soon as I read the article I was immediately sold! The kids? Not so much. But I am determined to work on them!

I will be bending the rules slightly to suit our family. I personally think that 20 toys isn’t a lot and I’m happy to increase that number with my kids to something that we can all agree on. I think they will be more on board with the idea if they can be involved in the process and help to set the boundaries. To help them understand and appreciate how lucky they are, I’ll be getting them to donate some of their unwanted toys to kids less fortunate (including the Department of Child Protection, the children’s ward at the local hospital and the women’s shelter) as well as selling some items to make a bit of pocket money.

So there you have it. The beginnings of my quest to live a life less cluttered. I still have a long way to go, there’s heaps of stuff I still need to sort through, but I’m making some serious progress. I love the idea of being grateful for and appreciating what I own and surrounding myself with the things that I love and bring me joy – flattering clothes, family photographs, pretty colours, fresh flowers, books that inspire, lovely smelling candles… My advice to you would be to do the same. KonMari the shit out of your life (literally!) and see for yourself how good it feels to clear some space and surround yourself with things that spark joy.

What did you take away from this post? Will you be giving it a go yourself? I’d love to see your before and after pics if you do. If you know someone who would be interested in reading this article then please share the love by clicking on the below share buttons x

*This is an affiliate link where I will receive a small kickback if you purchase through my link – I will only ever promote, share and associate myself with products and people that I believe in.

{IMAGE CREDITS} Beautiful artwork via VOL25 | Simplify text via Pinterest

Leave a Reply