Clearing the Clutter to Clean
No one likes clutter!
Clutter can be a family affair
I have seen more than my fair share of clutter over the years. Clutter is so easy to build up and so hard to get rid of. We often hold on to things we will never use because we have an emotional attachment to it but clutter wears us down and tires us out. I have struggled with this for years and I believe that it is something we are taught as children that has to be unlearned.
My grandparents grew up during the Great Depression and became hoarders, they never knew what would become worth something and just kept everything. I can understand the button jar and even the thread that was left over after doing a cross stitch but keeping well loved toys and garments just in case they could be sold or used for something else, that's clutter.
They passed this trait onto the next generation. I remember helping my uncle move and finding boxes and boxes loaded with old lottery tickets, some were over five years old! My mother has trouble cleaning out as well. She always had a button jar but then began saving other pieces of hardware too. Screws, nuts, bolts, hinges, batteries... you name it she keeps it. She even encouraged us to begin hoarding. Each of us were told to use one of our dresser drawers as a junk drawer. Anything without an actual place to be put away went into this drawer.
Clear out the Junk Drawer
Basically, we all need to get rid of our "junk drawers" to begin having a clean, green house. If you cannot find a place to put an item and enjoy it, why are you holding onto the item?
I realize that you may have things that you have carried with you and maintain the thought that you somehow need it but these things need to go to help you keep a clean home. Trust me, I've been there! You may be keeping items because you don't want to insult the gift giver or it reminds you of something nice but it's not possible to keep everything that reminds you about something nice around. If you cannot find a place to put an item and enjoy it, why are you holding onto the item?
Keep the memories but clear out the mementos.
First Steps to Cleaning
One of the biggest problems with beginning to clear clutter is that once you decide to start you don't know where to begin. Doing too much, too soon can cause you to wind up doing nothing in the long run, or making a bigger mess trying to sort things, becoming overwhelmed and walking away from an even bigger mess than you started with.
I used to burn myself out just trying to de-clutter, attacking the whole house all at once. Obviously, this is not the way to go about it, the project is just too big to tackle in one day. Now I employ lists and schedules of things that need to be done, especially with trying to balance home, family, friends and work!
For simple tasks I use a white board on my fridge. Each day I have three or four tasks to complete, often times they are in the same room so I can notice a difference and feel encouraged. Clear off kitchen surfaces, sort through mail, gathering dirty laundry, and putting shoes away. Simple things that make a huge impact on the general cleanliness of your household should be focused on. Once you are handling these items it'll be easier to do bigger projects.
Pace Yourself for Success
I also employ the use of a timer on my cell phone to help me pace myself during the day. Instead of doing a cleaning marathon all day long I now use a timer to clean in intervals. I have a hard time walking away from something that's not finished but a timer reminds me to stop. Using the timer keeps me from skipping meals and not relaxing at all on a day off. The last thing my husband wants to come home to is an over-worked and under-fed, cranky woman.
It's not all about keeping the castle, it's also about ensuring you can enjoy your life! Clean the closet out and then read a chapter in a book you've been missing out on. Put away some laundry and then read a blog. ;)
Basically, do what needs to be done without killing yourself to do it. Prioritize and make lists. Accomplish what you can but still allow time for yourself. Organizing and clearing the clutter is step one. I have found helpful hints and suggestions in a book titled: "The One Minute Organizer". It's worth checking out if you're feeling overwhelmed a link is included below!