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Declutter your laundry monsters by making lovely 'families'

Updated: Sep 19, 2020

Declutter is both a spiritual practice and a team sport. The stuff that clogs up our houses has a life of its own, and hypnotises us to thinking has to stay. When we get supported and let clutter know we are the boss of our lives, we get skillful at seeing hidden truths in all sorts of places. Start your declutter process by inviting a friend, having cake, and planning in some easy wins, to keep encouraged. Thats how any freely-chosen creation gets made. A laundry is small, has no sentimental items, and our blunders are low cost, compared to our fashion and furniture disasters. Its wonderfully horrifying, seeing all that half-used poison you paid good money for, and knowing its now in the past. Remind yourself, because of today's brave truth-telling, we have all evolved. Factories can give up manufacturing stuff like this for you. Your declutter buddy will see you as a hero, and go home more able to tackle their own monsters in the cupboard.

My dear friend Robyn and I spend an hour or so resetting laundry, and here is the result. Monsters have emmigrated. 80% of stuff is gone. There are now pretty 'families' of objects that support each other. There is 'creative void'. 'Handy' things were not invited back, only 'indispensable' items got to stay.

Here are the names of our families:

The natural radiant family, of pearl-colored containers. The rainbow family, of frequently-used things. The danger family, in red and green and purple. The retiree family, up high, of subdued colors, for polishing silver and boots. Note the rubber band on the toothbrush used for cleaning. You know why.

How to Declutter, step-by-step

First, empty every cupboard and shelf. Line everything up in another room, gaze at them, and ask 'How and why are you here'? At this point you can hear Robyn with her declutter mantra of 'Oh dear! Oh Robyn! Oh dear!' She is so funny. Yes, we are all hypnotized, us collectors of clutter. There is some power that tells us' grab it, take it home, keep it, you'll be rich!' And the spell can be broken in a few minutes of gazing at the reality.

Some things to Subtract

Don't decide what to give away, thats tedious. Decide to give it all away, then keep the loveliest of essentials, as exceptions. Thats all you need to know. But for more detail:

- Give away double purchases. The empty space is more valuable than the unused product you can now give away. If you can't see it because of clutter and urgently need it, you'll end up with 6 cans of whatever it is. Usually fly spray.

- Give away racks and plastic baskets that exist to maximize space. Instead, minimize things. We use baskets to keep things together that aren't families, don't naturally belong together. Let's give that up. The ground is perfectly capable of holding things, they aren't planning on escaping.

- The cork collection got sent off to the Girl Guides, never to be collected again. It's 2020, after all.

- Don't live with loud printed labels you don't enjoy looking at. Put things in plain jars. Cut out the one word that describes what it is, and stick only that bit of the label back on. Use your favorite marker and stickers and most mindful calligraphy to name things. This can be your artwork too.

- Don't own single function things such as tennis shoe whitener, or suede waterproofer. Give up white shoes. Go ask your friends if they have some and go visit and use it, or ask the shoe repair guy for a spray. Reduce usless diversity.

Laundry 'Before' and Laundry 'after'

We have used permaculture design principles such as


'Three birds with one stone',

'Make families'

'Reduce useless diversity', and more.

We have used Five 'S' from Lean manufacturing


'Subtract (to Standard)'

Make Seeable (and straighten),

Shine (make things smile with pride!)

Make Second Nature (you will want to put things back in their nice family)

Springtime News

I'm holding online hands-on declutter and reset workshops with my lovely sister, where you can make these design principles part of who you are. I'd love to see you there.

We have a culture to create. It can be of living lightly, discerning the truth skillfully, and being surrounded by things that support and care for us. Less stuff, more love.

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1 Comment

Dianne Anderson
Dianne Anderson
Sep 20, 2020

the subtraction process is my nemisis. My compulsion to hoard is fear based, and has been re-enforced many times over the years through adversity. I still go to battle with it every day, which is exhausting. Please tell me there's a magic reset button that can over-ride the terror of "what if"

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