How to Conquer Clutter: Easy De-Cluttering Tips for Busy People
Clutter is the result of either accumulating too many possessions or allowing them to become totally disorganized. Frequently, it is a combination of both factors, mixed in with a healthy dose of "not enough time." Clutter can cause someone to become stressed out and to get discouraged as even the simplest tasks are impaired by the inability to find what you need or just makes it difficult to navigate your way around the house. It can contribute to anxiety, a loss of energy and even mild to moderate depression.
Don't buy more organizers!
One of the more common mistakes people make when trying to get rid of clutter is they run to the store and purchase organizers, totes, storage boxes, file cabinets, etc. Shuffling clutter is moving it around -- not eliminating it. What you should do first is go through and inventory everything that you have, then think about why you still have it. If you can’t identify a reason to keep it around, get rid of it! Toss things in the trash, donate good useable items to thrift shops or local charities, and give stuff to friends who can use the item. Remove it permanently from your house and your life.
Now you can concentrate on organizing what's left. Are you certain you've taken care of all the clutter? Chances are, you'll have to run through the classification system a few times, dividing up items that you use frequently, rarely ever use, and never really use anymore. Be honest, and immediately remove anything you don't need, even if it's just to a garage or corner of a room until you can take it to its final destination.
This is usually the best place to start, but it's not the only source of clutter. If your life is always cluttered and you can't figure out why, then read on for other common types of clutter that are often overlooked.
De-cluttering sound too overwhelming? Try the one-minute rule to get started
What all counts as clutter?
Identifying clutter can be easy. If you have old clothes that you don't wear anymore or that don’t fit anymore, get rid of them. Here's a clue: If you find yourself dusting off clothes or running them through the laundry without them having been worn, chances are that you need to get rid of them. You might have a favorite suit or dress for special occasions that won't be worn often, but they're usually the severe minority in unused clothes.
When it comes to your children's toys and books, if they've outgrown them then get them out of there. Maybe you can use it as an opportunity teach kids about donating toys they don't want to kids that don't have any, or pass them on to family or friends with younger children. Your kids may enjoy seeing others have fun with their old toys, and they're sure to love the extra space in their bedrooms and toy boxes.
Check out your shadow boxes and mantle decorations
How many "dust collectors" do you have? Figurines? Keepsakes? Now ask yourself -- do you enjoy having them? Most of these mementos came into your life for specific reasons, and at least at one point you enjoyed them. Is all the time spent just cleaning these little tokens worth still having them around?
Try keeping a log of how much time you spend in a month just cleaning or otherwise caring for these items, then decide if that's really how you want to spend that time. If they're just shoved in a corner where you rarely look at them and you really don't like having them anymore, then get rid of them.
You don't have to tell a gift-giver that you got rid of the item, and it doesn't have to go to waste -- that cute little rooster or owl you hardly notice anymore could brighten up someone's kitchen or breakfast nook. It just makes more sense to hand if off to someone who would love to have it around when its charms have rubbed off for you. Stop wasting time dusting something that's eventually just going to get broken and be thrown away anyway. Possessions are meant to be enjoyed, not to make us slaves to their care.
Don't forget about recurring clutter
Don't forget the file cabinets
Next, what kind of paper documents do you save? People often will horde every scrap of paper that comes their way, from old utility bills to old bank statements. How ancient are these records? Throw out anything older than 3 years old. Keeping receipts just for the totals? Enter them into a ledger or the computer, and get rid of all the paper clutter. If you're really anxious about throwing away some of these records, scan them in and save them in the computer. An extra flash drive or two sitting around the house can completely replace massive, teetering piles of moldering papers and folders.
Why is your house and life still cluttered?
What's the biggest challenge to de-cluttering your life?See results without voting
De-clutter your time, not just your physical space
Sometimes, clutter is in our lifestyles and not just our physical homes and offices. Many people have the problem of trying to be super human. They work overtime, they're determined to be "that parent" who volunteers for every civic or school-related function to come along, or they don't want to have to tell people "No." You can’t do everything; there are only so many hours in a day. Part of your de-cluttering may require going through your schedule and eliminating some things so you don't over-extend yourself, and make sure you always have a bit of time to relax.
Curing your home and life of clutter is relatively simple. It's not always easy, but it'll get faster and more painless every time you do it. Yes, it may take some time and even tough decisions, but you’ll be happy when you have it done. Survivors of clutter who have successfully completed the de-cluttering process report a reduction in anxiety, having more time to relax, and enjoying their home more. No matter how deep in clutter you are, there is always hope and the solution is really simple.
Thank you for reading my hub. Now, I would really appreciate a moment of your time to help me continue writing what you want to read. Please leave a comment answering the question, what is your single biggest frustration when it comes to clutter in your home?
- How To Get Caught Up On Housework When You Have Kids...
I'm thinking of a word that elicits more groans than almost any other word in the English language...housework. I bet right now you're thinking about all the things you should be doing instead of sitting in...
- A Long Walk in the Dark: Depression and How to Cope ...
Depression is possibly the least understood disease experienced by any human. Yes, I said disease. Many people think depression is feeling sad or down for a period of time but those of us who actually have to...
More by this Author
The idea of nocturnal people is often scoffed at by those who would rather apply a sleep disorder label to anyone who differs from a "normal" human schedule. Could there be an evolutionary explanation for...
- 7How to Help Pet Rabbits Adjust to a New Environment: How Long Does it Take to Settle a Bunny or Bunnies in a New Home?
New pet rabbits need some time to adjust to their home environment. Here are some tips for helping introduce the new rabbit to your home and pets.
The basic considerations for building a pig pen start with knowing what it's going to be used for, the size of the breed you plan to raise, and the number and age of animals it's intended for. Here are tips for how to...