Have you ever found yourself trying to clear out a cupboard/ wardrobe/ random shoebox, and thinking ‘I wish I'd never bought that!’ as you charity shop yet another unused item?
Accumulating new stuff is a constant guilty pleasure for many of us, but it can lead to homes that are so cluttered, making us feel stressed in a space that’s supposed to be all about rest and calm.
After starting her career as a celebrity PA, Vicky Silverthorn has made her name as a professional declutterer and organiser, helping people to clear out and streamline their homes.
To help stop us amassing yet more items that are destined for the charity shop, we asked Vicky to tell us which items she would never buy, and her answers are pretty eye-opening...
1. ‘If I already own an item that does a job, I would never buy something that does the same job’
It may sound kind of obvious, but you don’t need multiple items to do the same thing.
For example, if you have a single knife that cuts an apple, an avocado etc, you don’t need a separate apple corer or avocado slicing gadget. These things will probably just end up gathering dust!
2. ‘I would never buy multiples of any item for the sake of it’
Some people go to a book shop, get over-excited and end up buying a big pile of books to take home.
It’s much better to just get what you need, as you require it. For example, buy one book, finish it, and then pass on to a friend or recycle it before you buy your next book. That way you don’t end up with great piles of stuff to get through in the future.
3. ‘I would never buy new storage until I’d done a declutter’
I always say that rather than go and buy a load of boxes or a huge wardrobe to accommodate all your things, you should declutter first, then purchase storage for what you have remaining.
Also, don’t give yourself any leeway by buying storage with ‘extra room’. By giving yourself the option to accumulate more stuff, it's much more likely you will.
4. ‘I always buy for my actual life, not the person I want to be’
It’s very common for people to buy things for an imaginary life they’d like to have – hence why there are so many unused smoothie machines and random throw cushions cluttering homes up and down the country!
Similarly, many people buy clothes that are a size too small in the hope they’ll slim into them, or buy equipment for a hobby that, realistically, they’ll never have the time or inclination to participate in.
When you are buying new things, concentrate on the person you actually are, rather than some idealistic notion of who you want to be. It’s all about mindfulness and being in the present.
5. ‘I don’t get seduced by special offers that lead to stockpiling’
Lots of my clients seem to treat their home like a storeroom – they’ll buy loads of products ‘just in case’ they run out of an item such as shampoo, especially if it’s on special offer.
The thing I always remind people is that their home is not for storing products – that’s why we have shops. We live in a world where you’ll nearly always be able to access any ‘emergency’ items – whether that’s popping to a late-night supermarket or getting one-hour delivery on Amazon.
As for special offers, these are constantly being repeated, so chances are you’ll find your beloved shampoo or toothpaste discounted whenever you need it.
As a result, there is really no need to fill your home with endless spares of each item. One spare is okay, but treating your house like the stockroom of a supermarket is not!
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