Clutter – Out With The Old And In With The New


Use it or lose it. The one-year rule. One in, one out. These are probably the three most classic pearls of decluttering wisdom, but I don’t think they go far enough. I want to talk to you about how to declutter your vanlife and acquire the invaluable tools which will become your life skills.

Clear out your clutter before Christmas, don’t wait until the new year. And the following December, or better still November, start your pre-Christmas clear-out. Then you’ll you have a much clearer idea of what you actually need or want.

When I first started decluttering, I realized that up until that point I’d treated our possessions as if I was a museum curator. I collected and displayed objects other people would like, identify with or be impressed by. Does this sound familiar? Be honest….

No doubt you have a specific outcome in mind from decluttering, for example, a smaller mortgage or more disposable income, headspace or greater creativity. But feeling at peace will only come after you’ve cleared out what I like to call the ‘Zeit’ noise. The journey won’t always be easy so whenever you’re finding it tough, just remember:

  • 80% of utility comes from 20% of the possessions we own. Ask yourself if an item is adding value or simply taking up space
  • It’s very important to make the distinction between what’s needed and what’s wanted so that you can learn to emotionally detach

The money has already been spent and you cannot change that. But what you can do is change your relationship with money, what you choose to do with it and its significance or purpose to you.


A Short Story

Have you ever practiced unconscious writing? In other words, taking a pen and a blank piece of paper and just writing. No filtering, editing or thinking about what you’re doing.

Ryan Nicodemus put all his belongings into bags and boxes and began again with an empty house, his own pen and blank bit of paper. His entire belongings filled one room with boxes, bin bags, and storage crates. But in their place were several empty rooms and cupboards which then allowed him to move on with his life and start to free himself of crippling debt.

Over the next three weeks, he just unpacked the stuff that he needed and got rid of everything he never unpacked, either by donating it to charity, selling it or throwing it away.

Now, I’m not suggesting you sign up to the cause and become a Minimalist. This is the extreme end of the scale but as Ryan is one-half of The Minimalists alongside his friend Josh, you’d expect him to practice what he preaches and then some.

What you can do, is commit to decluttering.

Want to know my best decluttering tip…?

Just start!

But start small.

It’s the biggest hurdle and most people never get that far. So if you can, you’ve got what it takes and the rest will follow…

Start by doing the same as Ryan did with your own stuff. Grab an empty bag, empty your mind and go around the house (or one room if this seems too overwhelming). Don’t think about what you’re doing or the outcome of doing it.

Sort your haul into sellable, donatable and disposable. When you’ve finished, put the resultant bags out of sight so they’re also out of mind. Don’t be tempted (as I have in the past) to get stuff back out of the bag because you think you’ll miss it, need it, or simply can’t bear to part with it. Or do what I do each time I now carry out this exercise and put them straight in the car ready to go to their new homes.

Think of your home in terms of who you are rather than what you have. And I promise you, once you do that, you’ll have so much more clarity and energy. Eliminate the Zeit noise, free up headspace…, make space for mental decluttering.

5 thoughts on “Clutter – Out With The Old And In With The New”

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