When you get home, can you relax? If not, you may be feeling cramped because you have too much stuff in your house. Today’s guest post by Allison is extremely helpful in living a lighter life! Check out these excellent tips to tackle the challenge of conquering clutter.
Clutter makes me nervous. When I am nervous I eat more and sleep less. Therefore clutter makes me overweight and tired. That is a simplification, to be sure, but that is the way I felt when I looked at my cluttered and overwhelming house. I just got depressed thinking about the mess I had to come home to every day.
What did I do to fight the clutter and regain a healthy lifestyle?
1. Nothing In – The first step I took was a vow to bring no new stuff into the house. It didn’t matter what it was. If it wasn’t something like food that would be used up, then it did not come in. I didn’t buy anything new otherwise and even the mail was answered at the mail box or tossed out. This is not a long term solution by any means but it can help you to be more conscious of what you are bringing into your home. Clutter builds up over time. It is not an immediate thing. So becoming more aware of what you bring into your life can help you to keep unnecessary clutter out of your life and home.
2. Trash Time – Next I took a box of large trash bags and just started filling them. To my right I had trash and to my left I had stuff to give away. Everything fit into a bag or had a place to go. No place to go? It was going out the door. By having a bag in hand I was not tempted to set anything aside for later. Instead I forced myself to make a decision about it right now. Think it through: are you ever going to really use it? Have you ever used it? Will you miss it? If you know you don’t really need it then let it go. Think of it as a public service. You are giving to those in need and making your life better at the same time. When you don’t think you are wasting your stuff it becomes much easier to throw things out or give them away.
3. One Trip Down – Every time I got a bag full I stopped and took it where it needed to go. I knew if I kept the bags around I would have to look in each bag again to see if it was trash or donations. Then I would be tempted to take something out. Instead I took the donations to my car and the trash to the street. By taking one trip at a time you can make it much easier on yourself in the long run. When my car was full I made a trip down to the goodwill or the donation drop box outside of the supermarket and then returned home. These mini-breaks also helped me get out and away from the dust and allergies I was kicking up.
4. Stay Healthy – Speaking of dust and allergies, I had a hard time breathing for awhile when I got to hard-to-reach places or closets. They were covered in dust and it was hard for me to stop coughing. That is when I realized I was endangering my health. I went to the hardware supply store and bought a painting mask that would filter out the dust. I also covered my hair in a bandana and put on cool but long clothes to protect my skin. Safety goggles also helped keep dust out of my eyes and kept me from getting debris in them, too. I know it may seem like overkill but in some cluttered situations you need to take measures to protect your health. I also reminded myself to stop for drink breaks and keep hydrated. I ate a snack or two to keep my energy up and I also worked with a fan on to keep me from getting overheated.
5. Focus – It is important to avoid getting overwhelmed by cleaning up all your clutter. It can be hard to see where to get started but the thing that helped me was to focus on one spot at a time. I narrowed my vision to see just the closet or the kitchen or the pantry and then worked from there. By keeping my focus I was able to clean one area instead of getting distracted and just moving from project to another without actually accomplishing anything. Truth be told, when I was done one area I didn’t feel like I had completed very much but over time this focus helps you to achieve a lot.
6. Time Limits – Although I wanted to declutter my whole house in one go it was not meant to be. There was simply too much. In the process I made myself sick and exhausted trying to work twelve or more hours a day on cleaning. After the first day I realized I would have to set limits on my work time. I set a strict time limit and stuck to it to avoid exhausting myself. This actually helped me to accomplish more because I could focus better and make good use of my time because I was under a crunch. Besides, who wants to spend endless hours cleaning?
7. Surface Clean – When it comes to decluttering on a day-to-day basis, what’s worked for me is the surface method. I pick a surface and get to work cleaning it off. The kitchen table, a counter, the coffee table and so on are examples of surfaces to work on. Surfaces tend to collect more clutter than furniture, like couches or even the floor. That means they are a great way to make a big impact in a hurry. I love to see a flat and shiny table just waiting to hold a flower arrangement or something of beauty instead of piles of junk.
8. Goal – Having a goal can be a huge motivator for a cluttered household. Maybe you’re moving and have a deadline to get out of the house. Maybe you have friends coming over and want your home to look presentable. Or maybe you are just sick of wading through clothes on your bedroom floor. When you set a goal make sure it is reasonable and you have a time frame to accomplish it in. That way it does not become something looming on your to do list but rather something that actually gets done. Try to accomplish your goals as soon as possible while they still matter. Don’t procrastinate like I love to do and then try to get everything done in the hour before company comes. Instead have a goal and a time and stick to it no matter what.
9. Use It or Lose It – Last but not least, I have a “use it or lose it” mentality. If you haven’t used an item in six months then chances are you won’t ever use it. I find myself saving things like the fondue pot my mother gave me or the vase I got flowers in on my birthday or even the remote control from a television that is long gone. These items take up space for no reason and can easily be tossed. It can be hard to part with things you think you might use, but if you stay honest with yourself you will find a lot of stuff you own is just taking up space and making your life more cluttered.
Like I said, clutter makes me nervous. Living in a cluttered home is unhealthy and can cause all kinds of issues from the physical to the mental and emotional. If you have a problem with clutter try to get some help and focus on cleaning up your environment. Even one small step can mean a lot to your health and happiness.
About the Author
Blogging for was a natural progression for Allison once she graduated from college, as it allowed her to combine her two passions: writing and children. She has enjoyed furthering her writing career with www.nannyclassifieds.com. You can contact her through e-mail at allisonDOTnannyclassifiedsATgmail, the rest you know.
Do you have any tips for decluttering and organizing your home? Please share them in the comments below!