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How To Get Rid of Clutter Effectively

Updated on June 25, 2015

A clean environment makes for a clear mind. In my opinion, at least.

I always find it difficult to function or work efficiently in a room or area that is untidy. I can handle purposeful clutter, but not useless mess. If my working area or living area is untidy or unclean, I need to clear and organise it before I can get on with other tasks. Some call it procrastination, but I honestly need everything to be tidy before I can complete a task- I find that physical clutter becomes mental clutter quite easily...

Despite our best efforts, clutter builds up quickly. We hold onto things we no longer need, and avoid getting rid of things, just incase they come in handy. I find this is typical with clothes that no longer fit.

When I have a de-clutter, I ask myself a series of questions to determine an item's fate.

1- Do I use it?

2- Have I used it within 1 year?

3- Can I afford to keep it?

4- Is it in a sellable condition?

The answers to each question allow me to determine what to keep, sell, or bin. You could add a donate section but keep in mind the quality of the items. Let's look at the questions in more detail:

1- Do I use it?

This should be easy enough. Yes or No. Bear in mind that seasonal items can have limited usage (eg Christmas decorations), so then we ask...

2- Have I used it within 1 year?

Chances are, if you haven't used it in a year, you're not going to use it. Take into consideration any seasonal items- when did you actually use them? You then need to think...

3- Can I afford to keep it?

Some items have maintenance costs. Some clothes need an annual dry clean, for example. Another way to look at this question is "Can I afford not to sell it?" This applies for bulkier items such as musical instruments or old computers etc. You could get a nice cash injection in return for something that's been gathering dust. In order to do this though, you must ask yourself...

4- Is it sellable?

You could earn some money on ebay or gumtree by selling some old clothes, shoes and electricals. But before you do so, look at the item in detail. Is it in good condition? Would you be happy to buy it as it is? If you can honestly answer yes to these questions, then proceed to list it. Or, if you are feeling generous, donate it to a charity shop. If you answer no, then bin the item. Please do not give substandard items to charity shops, as they will not sell, therefore will not benefit the charity. Same rules apply as selling- if you would be happy to buy it, feel free to donate it.

If you follow these simple steps, one room at a time, you will be able to de-clutter your environment, and possibly make some cash in the meantime. Just think of how much treasure you have buried in cupboards and basements!

You will also be able to find things easier as there is less to look through, therefore simplifying your life.

Overall, the visual result of a tidier home, coupled with the ability to find things easily will help you to clear your mind and start on the proper tasks!

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    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Please, please come to my house! These are great ideas. All I have to do is start! Thank you for sharing! up+ and sharing!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      I am with btrbell! Can you come by and fix it for me? Sharing!

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      A cluttered life leads to a cluttered mind. Anything that you haven't worn in two years get rid of it. I know you mentioned one year, but there are fashion trends that go out of style and come back. Your hub just reminded me... I need to go shopping for a bookcase and get rid of some of the books that I no longer use.

    • sparkleyfinger profile image
      Author

      Lynsey Harte 4 years ago from Glasgow

      Im so glad that this has done some good!!!! I actually get made fun of because i am super organised... think its the OCD in me!!!! then again, i must say i do have 4 vacuum pack bags of size 12-14 clothes that haven't been near me for over 5 years... but i LIKE THEMMM!!! lollol

      Thanks so much for your comments!

    • Rhelena profile image

      Rhelena 4 years ago

      Nice tips! Sometimes it's hard to let go, but it's so much easier once you do. I'll definitely keep the 1-year thing in mind. Thanks!

    • sparkleyfinger profile image
      Author

      Lynsey Harte 4 years ago from Glasgow

      Your welcome, glad I could be of help! Good luck!

    • wjlambert profile image

      Wes Lambert 3 years ago from Sunnyvale

      This used to be a ritual at the company I worked for last. Every year we had a mandatory clean up day. Some of the rules that you've listed above were included. Whether it was salable was not part of it, since we weren't allowed to sell company property.

      It was good for me, because it forced me to clean my cube and discard stuff I didn't use

    • sparkleyfinger profile image
      Author

      Lynsey Harte 3 years ago from Glasgow

      I think everyone should make a point of doing it, perhaps on a rainy weekend. It definitely makes you feel better when everything is cleared out. :)

    • profile image

      anon 3 years ago

      I love clearing out but struggle to let things go to landfill I'm sure most things I need to get rid of could be recycled in some way, it seems a shame to put old worn out clothes and shoes in the bin.

    • sparkleyfinger profile image
      Author

      Lynsey Harte 3 years ago from Glasgow

      I totally understand that! I like to use old clothes as cloths for cleaning? Old shoes can be recycled by getting the heels and soles redone by a cobbler... But sometimes, they have just met the end of the cycle I'm afraid!

    • susi10 profile image

      Susan W 3 years ago from The British Isles, Europe

      A great hub, sparkley! I enjoyed reading this and I love getting rid of all the clutter because you feel so much more relieved and slightly happier when all that extra stuff that was weighing you down is gone. I will be trying out your tips soon, shared.

    • sparkleyfinger profile image
      Author

      Lynsey Harte 3 years ago from Glasgow

      Wow, thanks susi! I agree, I totally believe that clutter can bring you down! Thanks for your comment! :-)

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Very helpful! I am just getting ready to do some decluttering and spring cleaning. I like your ideas!

    • sparkleyfinger profile image
      Author

      Lynsey Harte 3 years ago from Glasgow

      Thanks Rebecca! I hope these simple steps will help you on your way to an easy spring clean! :) Let me know how you get on!

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