Pocket-sized plastic bags

Do you ever find yourself picking up some shopping that you hadn’t planned for? Then you have to fork out for a 5 pence plastic bag? One, I may add that lasts as far as the car before collapsing. Or if it does last – you find you add to an ever increasing pile of plastic…

This post covers a great tip brought to you by my Mama J to save you from this situation!

Plastic bags full of plastic bags

Plastic bags are bad. You shouldn’t have hundreds of them cluttering up your house. And if you do have loads lurking about to get rid of, you should do it in a responsible way and recycle them.

When I did my first big declutter I ended up with a bin bag full of plastic bags. I did my duty and recycled the majority of them, keeping just a few as they do come in handy.

5 pence a pop

I wondered if the 5 pence plastic bag tax would encourage people to take alternatives. For me, it is an incentive to take a rucksack or a bag for life out shopping with me. Though to be honest, I did that anyway. Though I am finding that now and then I forget and my bag collection is on the increase again.

Mama J’s pocket-sized plastic bag tip!

I usually pick up a bag when I’m planning to go shopping so I don’t have to pay for one in-store. But, this doesn’t cover me for those times when I haven’t planned. What do I do? Do I try and balance the stuff I bought in arms and risk dropping things or do I just buy a 5 pence bag?

There is another way!

Mama J always has a large, plastic bag for life in her handbag. Always. She keeps it there in a plastic money bag. But guess what? That money bag keeps it wrapped up neat and tidy. It doesn’t unravel and take over her handbag. With something that small you can pop it in your pocket too!

A plastic bag wrapped in a money bag.
A plastic bag wrapped in a money bag – keep it small and simple!

Give it a go

Get your bags for life and fold them up teeny tiny! Wrap them in a money bag and make sure you’ve one in each of the handbags you use.

Of course, if you are a super good minimalist of course, you’ll only have to do this for one bag!

Let me know if you use this tip – Mama J will be happy if you do 🙂

 

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Top 5 ways to tackle your decluttering

I wanted to share with you my top 5 tips for decluttering. These are the methods that have stuck with me during my minimalist journey.

I do a lot of these without even thinking about it now.

1. A place for everything and everything in its place

This is my mantra when I’m decluttering or even just tidying up. It runs through my head constantly!

Of course, to make this work, you need to have decided on one place for your items. This means one location for pens in your entire house. No duplicate locations. This way you always know exactly how many of a given thing you have. And you always know where to find what you are looking for. Sounds simple? It is. But it really works!

2. Give yourself 10 minutes to tidy

Pick an area to tidy up. Is there loads of stuff on your dressing table? Is your coffee table cluttered? Haven’t tackled the junk drawer in your kitchen yet?

Give yourself 10 minutes to do it. Set a timer! You’ll be amazed at how much you get done.

Get tidy by moving stuff to its rightful place (see tip 1!), throw out anything broken or unusable. Organise the stuff that’s staying. Stack boxes, use elastic bands to bind things together, or simply tidy up.

3. Not sure whether to throw something out? You must use it/wear it this week

It can be hard to make a decision about whether to throw something away or not. There’s the danger of keeping things ‘just in case’ of course. This leads to clutter straight away.

One way to tackle this, if you are really not sure, is to give yourself a week to decide. The catch is that you must use or (if it’s clothing) wear the item you are being indecisive about. If you struggle to use it, or hate wearing it, you know it was meant to leave your home.

4. Get rid of duplicates

You need to be in the right frame of mind for this. I’ve set myself a task on a given day of sorting out my shoes or clearing my kitchen. These are bigger jobs than clearing the coffee table for example.

In my head I’ve usually hit a point where the cupboards are bursting or I can’t find anything anymore. So my approach is to empty out everything in the category you’ve chosen onto your bed or living room floor.

Then group similar looking things together. I did this and discovered four pairs of black ballet-pump style shoes. I kinda knew I owned them all but had never put them all together.

I then asked myself the question “If you had to choose one pair which would it be?” My mind came up with an answer immediately. You know what to get rid of!

5. Aim for a desert island bookshelf

This is one of the first things I ever did in my decluttering! The idea is that you go through your bookshelves  (because I know they’ll be in the plural) and you are ruthless! Your aim is to end up with one shelf of books that you really, truly love: your desert island bookshelf.

I did this, and I still have five shelves of books. This is better than the nine I had previously. I’m just going to ignore the three shelves of books-to-read that I still have….

Share your tips

That’s it, they are my top five tips to get started with decluttering, I hope you found them helpful.

Why not share your tips in the comments? I’m always interested to know how others keep on their minimalist journey.