Action August! Decluttering this Summer

12 August 2015 0 Comments Category: Ali Meehan

Spain’s heat is breaking all records with its summer temperatures this year making working a challenge. Its so much easier to down tools and head for the beach, or your pool, or find shade from the nearest tree. Before you give in to the heat, have a think about achieving, or creating something new over the summer.

Decluttering seems ever popular at the moment as people try to cut down on their “stuff”. As expats in Spain, its not unusual to move to a home which is already furnished and as second hand furniture, sadly, has little value nowadays, its easier to move to a new country just with your personal effects. When I moved to Dubai, I had one suitcase but managed to come back to Spain 5 years later with 40 boxes; quite an achievement! Many of the boxes contained items that were part of the memories, but really, would I be wearing the 20 or so business suits that were part of my daily life in the Middle East? There are many groups on Facebook where you could sell your items, or 100s of worthy charities, which would gladly take your items to earn some money for their needy cause.

Decluttering can be cathartic as we remove piles of items that we haven’t worn in the last year, which no longer fit our lifestyle, or our body, or we no longer want, or need.   The slow cooker, or juicer that was a good idea at the time, may now be just the thing someone else is looking for (although local charities are generally not able to take electrical items).

Costa Women have also organised fun clothes, jewellery and book swishing events with whatever is left being donated to charity. Get together with your friends and enjoy a fun hour or two trying, swopping and taking home some “new” bounty.

Over the summer Costa Women have arranged an #ActionAugust campaign to create, make, or do something new for our businesses and lives in Spain. Some of the members are taking the decluttering angle into their work environment too. Creating a special space (however small) for your work may involve decluttering the area first. You don’t need a formal “desk”; mine is my kitchen table and trolley! However it does mean I have a wonderful view outside the window that can be cleared away easily.

Decluttering your computer and email can make it so much easier to find things. If you are finding that it takes more than a few minutes searching, it might be time to create some folders in your email, or on your computer and move your files into the appropriate location. Just a word of warning… putting lots of items on the desktop can slow your computer down.

Email programmes allow you to automatically write rules for incoming emails so these get filed even before they land in your inbox.   If you sign up to lots of emails from different organisations you can automatically file these into different folders on your email account. If you have subscribed to a newsletter which is no longer of value, it takes seconds to click “unsubscribe”.

And don’t forget the business cards you have collected from people you have met.   I file these and as I do so, recall who the person is and how I offered to help them. This serves as a reminder of who I might need to reconnect with!

Once you have cleared your space, also think about updating your marketing material. Ask a friend, or business contact to do a review of your fliers, business cards, or website and return the favour. What you may see when looking at your marketing material, can take on a completely different meaning when looked at by someone from a different culture, or speaking a different language. Updating your website, checking all the page links go where they should, rewriting your bio, updating your photo etc. all take time, but once done, form a good foundation to take you from August and onwards.

A few hours spent now, could be well worth the time and effort. Enjoy your Action August!

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