Managing your possessions

It will make your life easier and more enjoyable if you

  • don’t have too much stuff
  • can quickly find the things you need
  • arrange your things with style

Avoiding too much stuff

Too much stuff can weigh you down, and make your mind as well as your space feel cluttered. The internet is crammed full of “decluttering” advice, but start with these tips:

  • Don’t waste money buying things you don’t need in the first place – see our money section for more on this
  • Set aside time to go through all your possessions, category by category, and decide what you want to keep. If there is something which you don’t use or don’t like, there is not much point keeping it. Try the advice of the recent worldwide phenomenon Marie Kondo and keep only things that “spark joy” – in other words, things that genuinely make you happy.
  • It can be difficult getting rid of things that were given to you as presents, particularly from family who live with you; if you really don’t want the item any more (and can’t find somewhere to store it), make sure you say how much pleasure it has given you in the past.

Once you have decided what you don’t want to keep, get rid of it as soon as you can (otherwise the moment will pass). Recycle, give to friends (if they actually want it), donate to charity shops, or, if you have the time or energy, you can try selling it.

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Finding the things you need

You will find it much easier to find the things you need if you

  • sort out your possessions into categories (stationery, make-up, money, schoolwork, books, music etc etc)
  • find a suitable place to store each category
  • put everything in that category together in that place
  • always put everything you use back into its right place as soon as you can

Every so often, go through each category; tidy it and get rid of things you don’t need any more.

Arranging your things with style

Everybody’s style is different; so is everybody’s income, family situation, size of bedroom, chances of having furniture they want…. But there is always something you can do to show your possessions to their best advantage. And giving your bedroom a makeover can be a very satisfying and creative way to spend a day or two. Here are a few no-cost or very low-cost ideas:

  • Tidying and sorting really make a difference. As well as being more practical, neat piles of paper or clothes hanging up look cooler and more stylish than a jumbled mixture on your bed.
  • In a similar way, a collection of similar items arranged together (pens, sports trophies, shoes…) has more impact than individual bits and pieces dotted around a room.
  • Try sorting some of your possessions by colour for a different look.
  • Try rearranging your furniture. This can make your room look surprisingly different and might make better use of your space.
  • Paint is quite cheap and can transform walls, furniture and storage. Surrounding yourself with colours you like can make your everyday life that bit happier.
  • A noticeboard can be stylish as well as practical – as well as reminders and notices, put up postcards or photos that inspire you or make you happy. You can buy notice boards quite cheaply, customise boards you already have, or try making your own.
  • Try recycling or reusing things you already have  – store pens and pencils in old tins (left bare or dip-painted for an industrial look, or made pretty with paper or paint – see some suggestions here ); or cover old cereal boxes with wrapping paper and turn them into storage). Some ideas to get you started are here.

Look at magazines, Pinterest and all around you for inspiration. There is a lot.

You might also be interested in our pages on:

In charge of house and home
Take care of your stuff
Make beautiful things