Time to face the challenge of decluttering? Then here’s some ideas.

My lovely husband once gave me ‘The Life-changing Magic of Tidying’ by Marie Kondo? What was he implying I wonder!? This Japanese best-seller with its intriguing title actually became quite a page-turner for me, particularly as we downsize our home.

In these after work years there’s going to come a time when decluttering can’t be put off any longer. Several decades of acquisitions need sorting out. Possibly tens of thousands of objects!  Oh my!


You’ve got to want to do this! List your reasons. Think of the rewards.

  • Some are positively energised at the thought of reorganising, trips to the dump and lugging bags to the charity shop.

For others it’s an overwhelming prospect. If you’re in the second category do you know someone in the first who’d find a cry for help irresistible? Provided they promise not to be too militant about it, ask them round.


Marie, my Japanese tidying author advocates sorting things by narrow categories. Place all your shoes on the floor and decide each pair’s fate. Then do it with china or bed linen until you have gone through everything.

Others suggest tackling cupboard by cupboard, room by room.  Or there’s systems whereby you discard a number of items each day. Look online for inspiriation.

  • Get four boxes and label them: Chuck. Recycle. Sell. Keep.
  • The internet is groaning under the weight of good advice. Find sites that will pay you for unwanted clothes, old phones and other devices, magazines… Hold a car boot or garage sale.
  • Local authorities and community groups like Freecycle can help. Old spectacles, tools, computers, furniture – there are charities that want them. Make-up and toiletries – women’s refuge centres can use them.

A bit of research could result in the satisfaction of knowing your unwanted stuff has another life. And many of the items bound for the dump are recyclable and shouldn’t be sent to landfill.

  • Prepare to act on today’s decisions – place bags for charity shop and the dump by the door or into the car straightaway, ready to drive them away!
  • Even after a major purge there’ll still be stuff left! With more storage space you may want to put things away in better places

Physical decluttering makes you feel lighter. It’s the same with other unwanted baggage.  Perhaps we can apply similar principles to our emotional and spiritual lives…

Celia Bowring
Celia isn’t retired yet – although she’s recently changed from being office-based to working from home, so working out her own use of time. Celia writes the CARE Prayer Diary along with many other resources. She also chairs Pray for Schools. And loves being a hands-on grandmother!

The word retirement is not even in the Bible. What is taught in scripture is transition. There is nothing that says you work most of your life and then get to be selfish for the next 20 years

Rick Warren, PurposeDrivenLife