Clutter. It has a way of creeping up on us until it fills our homes, frustrates us, makes us late, and can occasionally avalanche. But where does it come from and how do we get rid of it? To win the war on clutter we must first understand where it comes from.
There are two broad types of clutter: situational clutter and lifestyle clutter.
Situational clutter typically occurs as the result of a specific event or series of events. Examples might include life transitions such as marriage, divorce, birth, death, moving, or emergencies.
Lifestyle clutter represents years of accumulation and neglect. This type of clutter includes all those “I might need it some day”, “I paid good money for that”, or “that was a gift” things in our homes.
Once you identify the type of clutter you’re facing, following these simple but basic rules, your home will run more smoothly and you can win the war on clutter.
Downsize – By reducing the amount you need to organize in the first place, you eliminate excess and keep only those items you love, need, and use. Many of us hang onto things “because it was a gift” or “I paid a lot for that”. That type of mind-set interferes with your ability to get and stay organized. Remember the one in/one out rule – each time you bring a new item into your home, let go of a similar item.
Create homes – Just as you have a home to come to each day, our possessions need homes to return to when we’re not using them. It’s important to store like things together near the area in which they’re used. By keeping like things together, you will be able to instantly see what you have and avoid making duplicate purchases because you can’t find what you thought you had.
Include the kids – It’s important to teach children the benefits of good organizing routines. Learning to put their toys away at the conclusion of playtime or putting their backpack away the moment they come in the door, will benefit everyone. Initially, children may moan and groan at the prospect of following rules, however, by insisting the rules be followed routines will become automatic.
Forget perfection – Perfectionism often impedes our ability to get and stay organized. We become so focused on finding the perfect organizing solution that we never quite achieve organization. Remember – it doesn’t have to be done perfectly, it just has to be done!
Maintain – We all have the same 24-hours in a day and we pick and choose those activities that we allow into our day. Prioritize! Build 15 minutes into your daily schedule to stay on top of things. Set up a donation box. Be sure to donate old books, toys, unwanted gifts, etc. once a month to your favorite charity.