Are you a pack rat? I know I am. I always like to keep hold of things because one day I might need it, one day I'll fit into it or one day it will be back in fashion. Well, enough is enough. This month's theme on Byrdie is Less Noise, and it's all about quieting our minds and our spaces. Throughout the month, I'll be calling on therapists to help declutter your mind and professional organisers to show you how to streamline the spaces around you, from your desk to your fridge. This week, therapist Becca Teers has some sage advice for organising your mind and limiting worries. Then keep reading if you missed out on how to organise your fridge and our fashion and beauty organising tips.
If your mind is constantly running through your to-do list and reminding you (at the least convenient times) of things you need to do, then therapist Becca Teers suggests you "get things down on paper and out of your mind."
"Write things down to allow your mind to be clear of them! From your daily to-do list to the list of goals that you want to achieve, by transferring them to paper or a document on your computer or phone, you can just refer to them when you need to but not have them constantly in your mind.
"I love the Morning Pages technique by Julia Cameron, a way to get all the 'chatter' out of the mind in the morning. This allows the mind to be clear and creative (it was designed for creatives and artists) but can be used for us all to enable us to be more happy, balanced and effective in our daily activities."
As our theme this month is Less Noise, I asked Teers how we could limit anxiety and worry. "Use the Vault Exercise. If you have a thought or worry that emerges in your mind when you really don't want to think about or deal with it, you can use the following technique to shelve the issue until later," Teers suggests.
1. Imagine a secure container or vault that's big and stable with a lock that can only be opened by you. It can be any colour, size or material. It can be whatever you like: a chest, box, cabinet, locker, room or even an island if you like.
2. You can store anything that you feel you can't deal with right now or any worries or stresses that create a negative reaction inside of this vault. In the vault, these thoughts are kept safe until the time that you want to open it up look at what is inside, explore and process them or discard them.
3. Just close your eyes and imagine depositing the thoughts or worries into the vault, close the lid or door and lock it shut. If using an island, imagine being in a plane, helicopter or boat (if you prefer) and dropping or leaving the material on the island before leaving in your preferred form of transport.
Want more advice from Teers? Check out her book Unlimited (£13).
Fridges can easily become cluttered with half-eaten salad bags, old takeaway boxes and jars of relish you probably haven't touched since the Christmas cheese board was the star of the show. Below, Ibbotson reveals her fridge rules.
Rule 1: Before you unpack your groceries, look at what’s still in your fridge and throw out items past the use-by date (or that you simply won't eat). If you have removable shelving, ensure it's stacked at the correct heights for your requirements. It may pay to remove a shelf completely.
Rule 2: Keep food in stackable square plastic containers rather than round ones, as this shape lets you store more containers and looks neater. Or you may find it more convenient to store individual meals in plastic bags so you can literally grab and go.
Rule 3: Remove excess packaging before you place items in the fridge. The cardboard can often be taken off such things as yoghurts and dips, as the use-by dates are usually printed directly on the pots.
Rule 4: Line your salad trays with kitchen roll, and remove fruit and veg from their plastic packaging. Keeping these items dry will help them stay fresh and crisp for longer.
Rule 5: Have an "eat me first box" in the fridge, and place items due to go out of date soon in order to minimise waste.
Ibbotson, who is also head of PR at the APDO Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers, shares a four-step guide to a tidy workspace.
Step 1: Make an assessment of your workspace. It really helps productivity to have a clear desk, as there is less to distract you and the space feels more appealing. But also be mindful that you should have everything you need close at hand. If you don't, the items will end up on the desk anyway. So it really helps to have wall shelving or storage under your desk so you can utilise all the space available to you.
Step 2: An easy way to add extra space to your desk is to put your computer on a monitor stand or riser. You'll be able to store other items underneath your computer.
Step 3: Do a thorough declutter. Invest in a shredder so you can shred as you go. Keep a recycling box permanently by your desk. Try out all your pens, and chuck any that don't work. Look for duplicates and donate to charity. Make a note of what you tend to overbuy, as well as anything you need to purchase so you remain organised.
Step 4: If you have drawers, they can be useful to hold pens and other stationery essentials. But a great way to keep drawers in order is to use drawer dividers to compartmentalise different items. A cutlery tray or Tupperware boxes are great alternatives.
Hang It Right
"Space-saving velvet hangers are my favourite things in the world. Only one item per hanger. Clarity, more clothes you can fit in and they're nonslip. Tidy dream." — Hannah Almassi, editorial director, Who What Wear UK
Set a Time Limit
This was a popular trick employed by a lot of the team. If you haven't worn or used something for a certain length of time, it's out. The time limit varied for each person:
"Generally I review and throw out or donate anything I haven't used in the past 12 months. This rule isn't used for very special rare occasions like costume/theme party costumes, specific destination clothing such as pricey ski gear or timeless pieces. But if it doesn't fit into those caveats and I haven't worn it in a year, it's gotta go onto its next life!" — Lisa Tsygankova, advertising sales director, Europe
"I do a wardrobe/cabinet clear-out every three months. If I haven't worn or used it in the past six months, I tend to chuck it, sell it or give it to charity. I keep all my seasonal clothing/shoes/accessories in underbed storage and swap them out every six months." — Luisa Orlandi, marketing and partnerships manager
"If you haven't looked at it, particularly when it comes to clothes and magazines, for six months, get rid of it. Also, I tend to look at things in terms of functionality, so if it's a padded jacket you only wear in winter, keep it (unless it's falling apart), but if it's a top that has sequins on and you don't like it anymore, absolutely get rid of it. Books I keep, as I don't think you should ever get rid of them. But if you struggle with your shelf, lend them to friends." — Elinor Block, associate editor, Who What Wear UK
"I have a simple rule, which I lovingly call the 'index 90 rule' (no joke; this is my tagline): Did I wear use this in the past 90 days? Am I going to use it in the next 90 days? If the answer is no, it must go. Of course, this is more relevant to stuff you use (or are supposed to) every day." — Maria Bissendorf, integrated marketing manager
YOUR BATHROOM AND BEDSIDE TABLE
The One In/One Out System
"I'm quite ruthless with my wardrobe because I tend to shop a lot. I have a system where if I buy new things, that means I have to sell old things. Every month (cough, week), I go through my clothes, pick out a few items I never wear and put them in my Depop pile. Then at the weekend (unless life gets in the way), onto Depop they go. It means my wardrobe stays uncluttered, and I can justify my out-of-control shopping habits." — Alyss Bowen, associate social editor, Byrdie UK
Only Display What You Use
"I have a system for my bathroom, mainly because my storage is limited, the products on my shelves are the ones I'm using (usually five max). Granted, the rest of the products I've accumulated are currently in a drawer similar to Monica's secret cupboard of mess. But at least my bathroom looks squeaky-clean and organised when people come 'round." — Alyss Bowen
"I use decorative trays to display my perfumes; it helps to keep my bedside table tidy too." — Emma Spedding, deputy editor, Who What Wear UK
Know Where Things Will Live
"I try to keep my home very minimal, and I try not to spend money on things when I don't know 100% where they're going in my flat. Because one thing is for sure: If I do know exactly which wall this should be on, it'll end up there, but if I just get it 'to see where it might fit,' I'll lose." — Maria Bissendorf
Check back next week for more decluttering tips and tricks.