There are families whose homes have so much clutter heaped on surfaces that an archeological dig is almost required to find anything. Although those families are functioning at the basic level—everyone is fed, clothed and sheltered—the clutter is often a symbol of the dysfunction that lies beneath the surface.
There are researchers who spend their time studying the effect of disorder on humans and other animals, and the results are fairly uniform: a mess equals distress, at least at some level. Most messes cannot be fixed overnight, but here are some quick tips to get you started on your journey to less stress and a more efficient lifestyle.
- Think small at first. Just the thought of clearing all the clutter can be overwhelming, so instead, start by only thinking about one corner or one drawer. Set a timer for 10 minutes and work on that one small area. When the timer goes off, allow yourself to be done for the day.
- Set limits. Decide how full (or not full) you want a drawer, closet, etc., or decide which surfaces should always be clear. The defined limits help you make immediate decisions, like deciding to put a magazine in its designated place instead of on the dining room table, while also improving overall efficiency.
- Paper-free at last! You knew going paperless would end up on this list, right? Move toward online billing and investigate apps and services that get you quickly and easily removed from most mailing lists. Paper clutter is one of the most common household clutter problems. Reduce the amount of paper coming in, and you will reduce the output of stress from trying to control paper clutter.
- You can live without it. Most of us can live well with only 25 percent of our possessions. No, this is not a suggestion to get rid of 75 percent of what you own, but it is a suggestion to consider how badly you need something. Most people who attack clutter with this in mind are able to easily pitch or donate a good chunk of what was clogging their lives.
- Be honest with yourself. If clothing does not fit properly, do not keep it. If the shoes hurt your feet, let them make someone else happy. If you have not used the exotic spice or condiment in more than a year, it needs to go. Are you using it? Are you likely to use it in the very near future? If the honest answer is no, you know what you should do.
- One in, one out. Think of your life and home as a ship that can only carry so much cargo without sinking. If a new commitment or item comes into your life, consider eliminating another to maintain balance. This can be especially important if you have small children. Aim for an annual purge of outgrown clothing and unused toys before an influx of new items takes over your home on birthdays and Christmas.
- Let go of painful clutter. If you had a painful splinter in your finger, you would remove it, right? If you have items that are metaphorical splinters, remove them. No matter what the reason, if an item makes you feel physically or emotionally uncomfortable, you owe it to yourself to remove it from your life. Do not let guilt or presumed value make you hold onto something that does not bring you happiness.
Take time to enjoy every victory. In your battle against clutter, you will feel your body relaxing a little more every time you complete an organization task. In many ways, you are lifting a weight off your shoulders. Appreciate each accomplishment and the weightlessness that comes with it!
For more tips on organizing your home and implementing smart storage solutions, check out the other articles on our blog. If you would like professional help with your organization projects, contact Garage Décor and More for a FREE consultation, or call 618-789-7969.