Clobber The Clutter
Up to your armpits in clutter?
You may not be buried alive like a hoarder, but you may feel like you're up to some body part in unacceptable clutter; be it your knees, waist, armpits, or eyeballs. Help is here!
The first step is admitting you have a problem. Welcome to Clutter Keeper's Anonymous.
"Hello, my name is ______________, and I am a clutter bug."
The second step is to want to change it. If you don't really want a change, even if you fix your current situation, it will just go back to being cluttered in a matter of days or weeks. Are you ready to rid your life of clutter once and for all? Great! Let's get you started then.
It might sound odd, however, time management is an important part of clobbering the clutter in your home (office, car, or wherever it may be lurking). So what kind of time management am I talking about? Setting yourself a cleaning schedule that #1. Works around your schedule, and #2. That you are willing to stick to!
Step 1: Write down a list of ALL the chores you need to have/keep your home clean. It doesn't matter if you currently do them or not. Write down everything from scrubbing the toilets to washing the windows, dusting, vacuuming, making the bed.... everything!
Step 2: On the side of this list you're going to mark down "D" for daily, "W" for weekly, "M" for monthly. Once you've done that, separate your list into 3 lists, one with each heading. Number your chores on these freshly divided lists.
Step 3: Create a calendar plan highlighting what is expected out of each day. Now that you have your chores numbered and divided, you'll assign a set number of tasks to each day. Your daily chores will, of course, be done each day. These typically include things like:
- Washing dishes
- feeding & watering any pets
Divide up your "weekly" chores. If you find that you have only a few of these, set them on your least busy days. These typically include things like:
- Taking the garbage to the curb
Finally, you will have your "monthly" chores. These you will assign to your "free day". If you work Monday through Friday, these would be set for a Saturday or Sunday. You can set a single monthly chore for each weekend of the month, that way you aren't getting over-loaded with too much all at once. Things that typically fall into this section might include:
- Deep cleaning the fridge
- Washing out the garbage cans
- Changing the batteries in fire alarms
Once you've completed assigning your tasks to each day you will see how easy it will be to accomplish everything that needs to be done in order to run a "tight ship" without wanting to toss yourself over-board.
Make a mess!
Take one room at a time for a week (or until you've gotten to every room in your home). Trying to do it all in a single day is going to leave you feeling overwhelmed and not likely to stick to the new cleaning list/chart you just created for yourself. If you're starting on a Monday, do all of your daily chores first, any weekly chores which you may have assigned for this day, and then get ready for some serious clutter clobbering.
Give yourself some time to make a big mess. When you dig in and really deep clean, things always look worse before they look better. Let's start with the kitchen:
Take your piles of cluttered mail, paperwork, old newspapers, and anything else you have cluttering up the counters table, or any other surfaces in the kitchen; grab it all and shove it into a big huge pile on the table (or floor). Sit down and go through it piece by piece, separating it into piles.
- Stuff that doesn't belong in the kitchen in the first place. Toenail clippers, the television remote, someone's sock... anything that got drug in and never brought back out.
- Things to be filed.
- Other: you may have items which do not fall under any of these sections. You know what needs to be done with them, now's the time to do it.
Since you are already following your new cleaning list/schedule the rest of the house will not be getting any worse, in fact, it should already be starting to look better. Each day choose a new room to deep clean in this same manner. Don't over-extend yourself. If you have a serious mess in a particular room you may need to space it out over a two or three day period, as long as you keep working at it.
"A place for everything, and everything in it's place."
If you don't have a specific location assigned for something, make one. Be sure that you do have a place for everything.
- somewhere you always put your keys
- a place where mail goes (incoming and outgoing)
- a filing system/cabinet for important papers
- book selves for books, phone books, magazines, etc.
- a space for your remote when it is not in use
- a section of the shelf designated specifically for towels, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc.
There are so many ways to stash, store, and display items its almost ridiculous! You don't have to spend a fortune to create spaces which are both good looking and functional.
- Decorate old soup cans to make holders for your pencils, pens, markers, crayons, or colored pencils.
- Create magazine, coloring book, or recipe card holders from old boxes that you've decorated.
- Spice up an old crate to create a shelving system if you're short on book-shelves
- Turn an old shoe box into a coupon, recipe, or receipt box.
- Decorate the outside of a shoe box to create a place to store your CD or DVD collection.
The possibilities are endless. You'll be breathing in a deep sigh of pride in no time at the fantastic condition of your clutter free home in no time!