The Thorough Guide to De-cluttering Your Home
Everyone has a little ‘junk’ lying around the house. OK, some of us have more than a little. We can all benefit from getting rid of clutter and excess things we don’t need any more, or things we haven’t seen in a while. The National Association of Professional Organizers(NAPO) conducted a poll that suggests nearly 65% of Americans feel their home is at least somewhat disorganized.
Clutter, however you define it, can be bad for your health. People tend to feel like life is out of control when they surround themselves with more things than they can manage. Many begin feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and defeated. You may not be taking care of yourself if you’re not taking care of the clutter in your home.
When is clutter a problem? Many people waste excessive amounts of time looking for things they can’t find. There are extreme cases where people may suffer from obesity or depression when a life of consumption increases beyond ‘stuff’. A house full of clutter can cause fire hazards and other health complications when mold and dust are present, these are hoarding situations.
What is clutter? Clutter is anything you’re keeping around your house that doesn’t add value to your life. Making room in your home for the things that matter most is what de-cluttering is all about.
Why should you de-clutter? De-cluttering can be enjoyed by many people because it relieves stress by providing a sense of control and accomplishment. For others, getting rid of their junk frees up a little extra space in the house that wasn’t there before. Some people may just need to purge before they move to a new home. This thorough guide will help you through the process of de-cluttering your home, no matter what your reason is.
Plan a date with your clutter
Most people never get around to clearing the clutter because they don’t have the time. So this being said, your first task is to schedule an appointment with your space. Schedule an appointment with your home to begin organizing, just as you would schedule a regular checkup with your dentist. Set two hours aside one morning to start getting your things in order.
Pick a target
Start looking around and decide what overwhelms you. What is most frustrating? Is it your unorganized wardrobe? Or the stacks of paper on your office floor? Pick the area that is most frustrating and begin there. Don’t go anywhere else while you are working on that space.
Visualize the end result
First you need to think about your goal. What would you like your space to look like? Knowing where you’re headed can make tackling your chaos easier. Work on your vision.
Shed the surplus
Remove everything that doesn’t fit with your current needs, goals, and lifestyle from your target space. Keep things that are useful to you today – not things that you might use someday. Be honest with yourself. Do you use this item? Do you need it? Or do you love it? Those are the only three reasons to keep something.
Keep three containers handy
As you are removing unwanted items make sure you keep three containers beside you: a laundry basket, donation basket, and a garbage/recycling bag. The laundry basket can be used for items that belong elsewhere in the house. Donate as much as you can into charities and recycle or trash the rest.
Gather like things
When you don’t know where to begin start in one corner of the room and work your way through, sorting things as you go. Gather all like things and place them in groups. Don’t stop to worry about if you are going to keep an item or where you will put it. This will only overwhelm you and slow you down.
Examine your groups
Once all of your similar items are in one pile, you can make decisions about them. Get rid of items that aren’t being used or that are broken. Then narrow each pile down to your favorites.
Maximize your space
Think about ways that you can make the most of your space. Many pantries and various shelves are adjustable. Things that are not used most often should get the prime real estate – the countertops or the lower shelves. If you are working on your closets, you can also add shelves.
Get things off the floor
When possible, keep things off the floor – this makes them easier to see and keeps the floor free of chaos. This is especially useful in a garage or shed, where you can hang items up on the walls to make them easier to find.
Cure “flat surface disease”
Many people are visual thinkers and tend to keep all of their belongings out where they can see them. After you have divided all of the counter top clutter into piles of like things, find homes for them. If piles of mail are a problem, find a container to put them in. When the container is full it’s time to go through it, throwing away as much as you can.
Light up your space
Poorly lit rooms tend to be the spaces where people pile the most junk. Dim lighting also makes a room uninviting and a good dumping ground.
Decrease the amount of time you look for things by labeling shelves and other areas. Labeling can also communicate to the entire family where something belongs. You can also use this method to label the draws in your office.
File essentials in a fireproof box
Ideally items such as birth certificates, passports, social security cards, titles to your home and car, and other must-have documents should be kept in a fireproof box or safety deposit box.
Involve your family
Unless everyone in your family buys into the plan, reorganizing the house won’t work. You need to convince everyone that their lives will be better without clutter. Have your family help you create themed spaces for things and make labels. Show them where you have organized and labeled everything. Involve them in every way you can so they can help you maintain a clutter free home.
Keep wastebaskets handy
A lot of clutter piles up because people are too lazy to carry something into another room to throw it out. To eliminate this problem, make sure every room in your house has a wastebasket. Also keeping a container for donations and a recycling box handy can help.
Go through your wardrobe at the end of each season. Get rid of clothing you didn’t wear or don’t love. Make notes of things you need for next season.