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How Decluttering Your Home
Helps Organize Your Life
Clutter collects everywhere, and everyone collects clutter. It’s just a part of modern life. No matter how much of a clean freak you might be, things build up. Coupons and menus that you might use later, bills and documents, gifts and souvenirs, impulse buys — surfaces clutter up quickly in any household. Add kids to the mix and keeping up can feel impossible!
Clutter has a strong relationship with psychology, and cluttered environments both cause, and are caused by, stress and anxiety. Clutter has a way of worming its way into our state of mind and muddling up priorities, which in turn make life more difficult and even more expensive. Being disorganized might mean regularly resorting to ordering more takeout, or less efficiency at work.
The start of recovering from clutter is to tackle it head-on. Pick a day, pick a room, and attack with a vengeance. Here are some ways to remove, and keep away, clutter in all parts of the home:
Start with a Purge
Decluttering should be done a bit at a time.
If you try and tackle the whole house at once, you might get overwhelmed. The first order of business should be to start sorting every object in a room. Start with three piles: “definitely keep,” “definitely throw away,” and “maybe keep.”
Try to be as stern as possible with your things. If you can’t immediately justify an item’s presence, don’t put it in the “keep” pile. Once you’ve sorted through everything, go through the “maybe” pile. Time to be mean, with yourself and with the items. There will come a point where you will have to start parting with things you love. How much does each item truly contribute to your happiness and emotional well-being? Are there some items that you keep that also have negative emotional attachments? Some objects might be hard to part with, but doing so will help you focus on the things that benefit you most.
Do this for every room in the house and be thorough. Look for opportunities to free up storage space and make a note of the things you throw away that haven’t been used. In order to reduce expense and waste, consider making a list of things to stop buying. This can act as a reminder to yourself; when you’re out at the store and feel an impulse buy coming along, the list can help you say to yourself, “last time you bought this, you didn’t use it.”
Working out organizational strategies around the house that are sustainable is the most important thing — not just finding places for things you currently own but planning for the influx of clutter that always occurs in a home. Future proofing your organizational efforts will save a lot of time in the long-run. This will look different depending on which room you’re working on.
Closets and Drawers
Clothes are one of the biggest clutter culprits. We grow attached to things that we used to wear and let clothing go unused for months at a time. If you find clothes that you’re attached to but never wear, rip off the bandage: throw them away. One common trick is to have all your shirts and tops facing the same way. When you put one back after wearing it, flip it around. At the end of a year, or at least given enough time that you’ve been through cold and hot weather, throw away anything that hasn’t been flipped!
Offices attract all sorts of clutter — from desk toys to old documents and forms. Go through all of your paperwork and start sorting what you need from what you don’t. We’ve all got records we kept out of caution that aren’t relevant anymore. Just don’t throw away anything that’s still pending or related to taxes!
Kitchens and Bathrooms
Kitchens and bathrooms both have nasty habits of collecting things that fill up space: utensils, gadgets, knick-knacks, and cleaning supplies. There might be less to throw away, but these spaces are often in the most need of organization!
Organizational skills aren’t just for work, and they’re not innate. They’re trainable and require upkeep. The more you practice good organization in your life, the easier it will be to keep up an efficient and organized routine.
Organization is about momentum, and so is disorder. The more chaos there is in your living and working space, the harder it is to maintain good habits. But every step you take toward a more organized life makes the next one easier. This is especially true for work and studying spaces, where disorder and clutter can make it much harder to concentrate and even perform work in an efficient manner.
Your best friends for re-organizing spaces are modular storage options such as plastic tubs and drawers combined with furniture designed with multiple compartments. A single piece of organizational furniture in a room can help you reduce clutter significantly by simply giving things places to belong.
Using plastic containers and empty storage spaces is more ideal than drawers and cupboards in many cases because you can label the bins and, if you get clear ones, see what’s inside. Shifting a modular container along with all its contents to a new location is also a lot easier than emptying out cupboards.
Organizing your current space is just the beginning, however. Every home has a near-constant influx of new things. You don’t always have time to decide what you want to keep and what needs to be thrown away. It’s best to create a plan for how you’ll organize new things, whether it’s mail, gifts, new purchases, or anything else that pops up. A place for incoming items can help a great deal, especially when it comes to bills and important mail — a collective pile for “new things you don’t have time for right now.” That way, when you do have time, you can sort through everything at once instead of letting things float about without a place to belong.
Organization, remember, is a skill. Skills need honing and practice. If you fall out of practice, it can affect almost every area of your life.
Personal organization skills can even benefit you in your professional life.
About the Author
Magnolia Potter is from the Pacific Northwest and writes from time to time. She prefers to cover a variety of topics and not just settle on one.
When Magnolia’s not writing, you can find her outdoors or curled up with a good book. Chat with her on Twitter @MuggleMagnolia.