Start to Stop the Clutter
Need a reason to start uncluttering your home? How about a holiday dedicated to just that? It’s Organize Your Home Office Day this Tuesday, March 9th. Celebrate the day by following these easy tips.
Uncluttering is the act of restoring balance to your life by eliminating unimportant things—and doing it will free up time, energy and space for the things that really matter. You can get rid of clutter. No matter how much you have, how small your home, or how little spare time you have, you can transform chaos into order, and here’s how to start.
There’s no right way to unclutter and no one way that works for everyone. What’s important to remember is that getting started is far more important than how you get started.
Figure out where to start. Begin by taking that first step. Start with the easy stuff. This will get you into the act of uncluttering with little or no pain or anxiety. Get a large garbage bag and walk through your house. Place in it anything that you will clearly no longer use:
- Expired medicines.
- Expired coupons.
- Outdated clothes.
- Makeup that’s more than a year old.
- Sunscreen that’s more than 2 years old.
- Things that are broken unless they are valuable and fixable.
- Odd socks.
- Grocery bags.
- Old restaurant menus and shopping guides.
- Outdated calendars.
- Spoiled food.
- Rusted utensils and tools.
- Old travel literature and maps.
Take the bag and sort through it. Recycle what you can, donate what you can, and dispose of anything that is left over.
Next: More tips to unclutter your home.
When you start to really organize a room, you can start with a single drawer or shelf. Empty the contents, so you can see everything. Pick up each item and make a decision. If you haven’t used or needed that item in the last year, put it in a donation or recycling area. Continue to tackle one drawer or shelf every day. This is the slow but steady approach.
Do not try to unclutter your house all at once. Work one room at a time and don’t switch to another room until you are done. Seeing progress will motivate you to keep up the good work.
Plan on spending no more than one hour each day on uncluttering activities. After an hour, you won’t be so fresh, and your decision-making ability may falter. That said, commit to spending at least 20 to 30 minutes on uncluttering each day.
Start out fresh. Don’t start out tired after a long day.
Make sure to commit to a daily plan. Set simple goals such as: “Tonight, I’m going to clean out my junk drawer and then I’m going to stop.” Or: “I’m going to clean up for 20 minutes and then I’m going to stop.” Then do it.
Finish what you’re doing before you move on. To avoid getting sidetracked, make a note to remind yourself of things you want to do later like organizing your sock drawer or photographs.
While you’re tackling the months and years of accumulated stuff, try to stay current with today’s stuff. Open, sort and file mail daily. Hang up your clothes when you take them off. Clean up the kitchen every night after dinner. And for every new thing you bring in the front door, send five items packing out the back door until you get your belongings down to a more manageable level.
Excerpted from Unclutter Your Home by Donna Smallin (Storey Publishing, 1999)