Tips from Helen Sanderson
Many of us have items in our homes that we don’t, and probably never will, use. But we keep them ‘just in case’. Harmless clutter? Maybe. But for some, they are actually causing more problems than just getting in the way. Helen Sanderson, the author of the Home Declutter Kit: The mindful method to a stress-free home, understands that holding on to too many old memories and items we no longer use could actually be doing us more psychological damage than we thought. Clutter can be symptomatic of constantly looking back and either being ruled by fear or living in the past. It’s only when they’ve got rid of it, that many people realise their clutter had been holding them back from being creative and fully living their lives in the present.
Whether you have a wardrobe full of clothes that no longer fit, your children’s rooms are like museums or you’re holding on to a large family home that you live in alone, some serious change may be needed. Perhaps the children have moved out and you’re paying to upkeep space you don’t use, except to house items you no longer need. Freeing yourself from things you really can live without and almost certainly will never use again can be really invigorating and good for your health and wellbeing.
The psychology of letting go
Helen believes that the reasons people keep items they don’t need are deeply rooted in our psychology and letting go of them can be the first step in shaking off an old identity and embracing the person we are now or want to become. Working with people from all walks of life, usually at a time of transition, she helps them not only to release the physical clutter but also to cut the mental ties that keep them stuck in the past.
“One reason people don’t want to get rid of things they no longer use is that they worry they’re throwing away memories” Helen explains, “but this isn’t the case. Memories aren’t attached to items, they’re embedded within us in our hearts and minds. There’s no doubt about the importance of memories, but we don’t need to hang on to every physical reminder – especially if they’re things we don’t really use or enjoy any more. Sometimes taking a photo can serve as a memory prompt just as effectively. Holding on to items we associate with certain times, simply to help us remember, can tie us too strongly to the past. And this can prevent us from moving forward and living our lives right now. It’s essentially like carrying around a lot of baggage. Just like a snake sheds its skin or a hermit crab finds a new shell to move into, they remain the same animal, but they’ve rid themselves of what they don’t need in order to grow, expand and live a better and more fulfilling life”
Helen, who works with private clients in London and the home counties, believes that this is one of the reasons that the older generation often hold on to their family homes long after the children have left home – even if it costs far more to run and is not practical any more.
The The Home Declutter Kit is ideal for people who are at this stage. For those downsizing their home and needing to free up some space, overcoming what can seem a daunting task is made much less overwhelming with an easy-to-follow process. This helps make sense of what needs to be done on both a practical and a psychological level. The process outlined in the kit is clear and straightforward and the beautifully thought out illustrations can help break down emotional resistance by appealing to our inner child. The clever psychology behind the kit helps people not only to declutter their home but also declutter their mind as they do so.
“Moving on, and making changes in our lives can be tough, and I would never advocate getting rid of sentimental items that truly mean a lot to you” reveals Helen “But there are many items in almost every home that could be let go of. The The Home Declutter Kit is a way of keeping precious memories intact, but not being so suffocated by clutter that you can’t enjoy those memories. Mindful decluttering is about reconnecting meaningfully to the things that really matter you, as much as it is about throwing things out”
The The Home Declutter Kit is housed in a beautifully designed box and guides you through a simple, effective decluttering process using a step by step manual and four sets of lovely, easy-to-use, colour-coded cards. It’s the perfect way to tackle anything from a general tidy up to a full ‘home detox’ such as downsizing.