Tips To Help Reduce Clutter
Tips to Help Reduce Clutter
Did you know that clutter is scientifically proven to raise stress levels? I, for one, don’t need more stress in my life.
Clutter is defined as “a collection of things lying about in an untidy mass” and it’s something we don’t need to live with – but clutter seems to be a by-product of living. Why? How?
We buy things on impulse, without a list, it’s on sale, can’t live without, it’s sentimental, my kids gave it to me and so on. Clutter comes in many ways, and if it’s in your home, you just need to learn to take control and make some decisions.
Fortunately, some clutter is recyclable – and all is disposable in one way or another. Learning to recycle and dispose of unnecessary and unusable items is an admirable character quality.
Learn To Recycle Clutter
A good time to make choices between trash and treasures is bi-annually during your early spring and late fall deep cleanings. If you remember that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, it’s easier to make the choice between things that actually do have some life left and those that are hopelessly beyond repair.
“Pack up all your cares and woes,” oops. We mean, evaluate and eliminate what can be donated and what is trash. As you’re going through the clutter make piles for donations (whether it’s to a donation center or family member or friend), trash (if it can’t be repaired or used), and a keep pile (to be examined more closely after you’ve donated and tossed stuff out).
Heck, if you’re in the mood, have a garage sale and make a little extra cash then donate what’s left.
Go Room by Room
So you don’t get so overwhelmed at the idea of cleaning out the clutter, go room by room. No one said it needs to be done in a day.
Go through kitchen drawers, your office, the garage, bedrooms, closets, laundry room, pantry, and every cubby where you naturally stick stuff to get it out of sight.
I’m willing to bet if you open one of your kitchen drawers right now, you’ll no doubt find a spatula with a melted handle or one that is scarred and rusted beyond belief. What in the world are they still doing in there?
Eliminate Hidden Clutter
Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean the clutter isn’t there. We put things in the back of a closet, pack in the groceries on the pantry shelf, and toss things in a box in the garage. Then forget about them.
Make sure to go through bathroom cabinets, under the kitchen sink, drawers and so forth. It’s there, the clutter is there believe me.
Make Tough Choices
- Make the tough choices. There’s very little justification for clinging to broken or worn out tools for “sentimental” reasons. (If it was your dad’s old hand drill with a crank, mount it on a wall of your garage as an antique display.)
- Go through your clothes closets and dispose of outworn, outgrown and outdated garments – even though you just loved that dress. If they are still stylish and wearable, either donate them to a needy shelter or recycle through a consignment shop.
- Go through kitchen drawers; throw out utensils that are bent of out shape, have melted handles or are otherwise damaged.
- Go through your pantry. Check opened and unopened packages of food products for pull dates. If the date expired months ago, you’re probably better off to throw it out. Certainly, you can conclude it’s not a product you eat all that often.
- Check opened boxes of cereal, grains and pasta. Be sure they aren’t supporting alien life-forms.
- Go through your garage. If the recycle containers are full to over-flowing, don’t procrastinate any longer. Set them on the curb if you have garbage service or make the trip to the recycle center. Be sure to take along any old tools or appliances that are not repairable.
Quell Your Sentimental Instincts
Quell your sentimental instincts; be unrelenting and unrepentant in throwing away or donating each and every item that cannot be used by anybody. The goal is clutter-free and organized storage space where you can actually find necessary items when you need them.
Are you hanging on to your mom’s first teapot she received as a wedding gift, old clothes the kids wore, that tree stump side table your parents got you that you never really liked?
Maybe there are other family members that want and have room for those sentimental things you have that you don’t want. Don’t burden yourself with hanging on to them if there isn’t room.
You can get creative and do a photo shoot and frame a picture of the things you’re getting rid of, you can make a blanket out of some of the clothes you have been keeping – turn something that is not useful into something useful.
Also, get the kids involved. Have you been saving baby clothes, stuffed animals, school work because you think they will want it when they move out – chances are they don’t. In the end, you’ll have had a good time going through these things with them.
Moving Forward, Stay Clutter Free
Bad habits are easy to make and hard to break. Good habits are hard to make, but easy to break.
The truth is, you don’t have to work hard at making bad habits – they are usually formed quite easily – by procrastinating, sloughing off, being careless, and (dare I say it?) irresponsible.
On the other hand, good habits are hard to come by because they require a sense of responsibility and a four letter word – WORK.
However, after you’ve mastered good habits that reduce clutter in your life and your home, you become free – with more spare time, less stress, less waste and a healthy and clean home environment.
Donate or Sell Regularly
Keep a container handy where you can easily put items that can be donated, when it’s full drop it off at a local thrift shop (and don’t forget your tax receipt).
If you want to take the time, there are places like Facebook Marketplace or Offer Up where you can sell your items (much easier than a garage sale) and make extra cash for a movie night and ice cream.
Make a List and Check it Twice
When you need to shop for items, food or otherwise, make a list and stick to it. If you see something on a store shelf or hanging on display, check your list, if it isn’t on the list, don’t get it. You don’t need it if it’s not on the list.
Repurpose What you Already Have
I know coming home to the same ol thing can sometimes be boring and make you feel like you need to buy a new piece of furniture but wait! Think to repurpose the room. Switch things up, paint a wall, a table, change things around on shelves. Get creative.
Out with the Old, In with the New
If you do buy something new – a new toy for the kids, a new outfit, a new blender, etc. Something has to go. If you give in and keep an item, you’ll fall right back into the trap of clutter.
All you need is a gentle push in the right direction. These are just some ways to help you get clutter under control and help you stay clutter free.