In our world of an overabundance of stuff and a lack of time, clutter can creep up on us so quickly. Clutter has become a huge problem for so many of us. It robs us of time, money, peace and order, it adds stress to our life, it can even harm our health and relationships. I hope to share a few simple strategies that can help to defeat some of the clutter in your life.
We moved a year and a half ago. We homeschool and have a large family, we’ve been renovating since we moved in, and I started a part time business that needs a lot of storage space. Some of us, not naming anyone are packrats. There is no lack of clutter in our house. I am really living in this battle field! Despite all of this, when people visit they comment on how clean and organized our home is -go figure! I don’t take much credit for the cleaning part -my husband really shines here, but I have been working hard at organizing and decluttering.
The goal is not to have a perfectly ordered home or to impress everyone. The goals for me are to have a comfortable order in our home, to not feel buried in stuff, to have time and energy for worthwhile activities with my family, to have some empty spaces on shelves, in cupboards, etc., that putting away an item won’t be a big ordeal (moving 5 or 6 things out of the way first or trying to stuff a clean stack of towels into an overfull linen closet -you get the picture!) Examine your goals. What will make your home more comfortable? Why do you want less clutter?
Think Small Victories
Set small goals so you will feel victorious not defeated. If you look at the whole house as one big project, you will never start. But if you have a goal such as bring one box or bag of stuff to the thrift store each week, it’s quite doable. I’ve been tackling the paper clutter with a vengeance at the rate of 20 papers a day. When I’m done I check off a box on my list and feel great. Surprisingly it’s getting harder and harder to find wayward papers. I’ve been digging into boxes and sending piles of paper to recycling and filing old stuff where it belongs. It’s changing my mindset and spilling over into other areas of our home.
Break It Down and Make Lists
As I mentioned above, it feels great to check something off your list. Hide your list from others so it will not become a source of outside pressure to accomplish the things on your list. Be as specific about each small task as you can.
For example: “Declutter the bathroom” might look more like:
1. Cut up old towels for rags.
2. Throw out expired products.
3. Declutter under the sink.
4. Organize under the sink.
5. Declutter the medecine cabinet.
6. Organize the medecine cabinet.
7. Declutter the linen cupboard.
8. Organize the linen cupboard.
9. Declutter drawers. Or perhaps drawer #1, drawer #2, etc. if you have several of them.
10. Get rid of unneccessary bathroom furniture.
And so on…
You can write a list for each room, closet, shelving system, etc. If you check off one thing on your list each day, it won’t take tons of time or energy and you will see progress in a short time. Imagine how much you can get done in just 30 days with lists like these! This is more of a marathon and maintenance system.
The last thing you want to do is pull every item out of every nook and cranny in your bathroom at the same time and then feel overwhelmed. This is a great way to develop a hatred for decluttering. Instead, pull out all the items from drawer #1 for example, deal with them and reorganize the drawer. Then you are done for the day and can enjoy checking it off your list! If you are like me, you will be so proud of your accomplishment that you will keep peeking into the drawer just to see how nice and orderly it looks!
Set The Mood: Good Lighting and Peppy Music
When you are at work on decluttering set an atmosphere that energizes you. Good bright lights and happy music will help you work fast and efficiently. It will lift your mood and give you energy.
Set Time Limits
If you set a timer for half an hour or whatever manageable amount of time you want, you will probably find that it will be easier to start since you won’t feel like you’re diving into the deep end. You can finish your half hour and then get on with other things you like doing better. You may even find that you will be looking forward to your decluttering sessions since you will be feeling that you are accomplishing something and seeing the fruits.
Just like paying off debts from smallest to largest, you can declutter from the smallest mess to the largest one. Write a list of all your most annoying cluttered areas. Rank them from smallest to largest. Tackle the smallest one first and then work your way through the list in order, breaking each area down with specific lists. I firmly believe that breaking the whole huge concept of decluttering your house down into small bites will enable you to accomplish more than you ever dreamed possible!
Experiment and Find Your Groove
Try these strategies and tweek them to fit your own style and preferences. Make it your own project and your own doable goals. I hope I’ve given you some great tools to get started. Decluttering can bring such peace to your life and can become such a freeing habit for you!