The trouble with clutter isn’t so much the tripping over it, the embarrassment of it, or even the losing critical items into its bottomless void. No, the problem with clutter is the mental energy it sucks out of your life.
Let me explain.
Unless you are Oscar the Grouch and enjoy being surrounded by mess and chaos, every time you look at your clutter it weighs on you. Every time you go into the kitchen and see the pile of mail waiting to be sorted. Every time you go into the front entry or mudroom and see the weekend’s fun dumped on the floor. Every time you clear a counter, step over a jumble or frown at a pile, it costs you.
Not only does it cost you your precious mental energy, it distracts you, it frustrates you, it adds to that overwhelming mental list that keeps growing and growing and GROWING.
Maybe you read your family the riot act or fight with your spouse about how much you have to do around the house and would it kill him to just help out for once or maybe you do double time trying to keep up with it all…
Whatever you do, however you deal with it, it costs you.
So what can you do about controlling the clutter chaos? You end it (here’s how):
5 Steps to Conquering the Clutter Chaos
#1: Ditch the Duplicates – Go through your home, room by room, and search for the multiples and ask yourself, “Do I really use both often enough that I need two or three versions of the same thing?”
If the answer is no, get rid of them. If the answer is yes (but only sometimes), put the less favorite duplicate in a more out of the way spot so you free up your prime real estate for the daily clutter management.
(Oh, and by the way, if you don’t find yourself dragging out that crockpot after a year of only using your Instapot, it’s probably a good indication it should go.)
#2: Downsize – Evaluate the little-used items in your mudroom, basement, kitchen/pantry and storage cupboard and decide if you still need them.
Yes, it was handy to have drawers of yarn, stickers, paint, popsicles sticks and glitter when the kids were little, but if your teenager isn’t into crafting, it’s time to pass those along to someone with kids in the pre-K stage.
Do this for every room, for every category (especially your wardrobe). If you don’t need it or it no longer suits you, say good-bye.
#3: Stop the Spending – Now that you’ve created space in your home, resist the temptation to fill it with new treasures (and by ‘treasures’, I mean, mess). The hardest part of curbing the spending is when it comes to sales. It’s hard to resist a good deal, but resist you must.
When you find something on sale, even if it’s an amazing deal, evaluate if you really, really need it. If the answer is yes, only buy one. Stocking up is how you trick yourself into acquiring more clutter.
The best way to avoid overspending on sales is to identify what you want to find on sale and wait until it goes on sale to buy.
#4: Containerize – Create container systems for storing the common mess culprits. So, for example, use open bins on pantry shelves to sort baking supplies, packaged items, and canned and dry goods.
Not only does containerizing help you control the clutter, it enables you to see what you need to restock at-a-glance and saves the shelf space until you replenish them.
Key areas to consider are your pantry, linen closets, craft area, family room, bathrooms, mudroom, bedroom closets and basement.
#5: Find a Place for Everything (and I mean E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G) – Designate a home for everything. If you own a labelmaker, this is your chance to go crazy with the labeling!
To make it easy for other members of your family to maintain your system, label the top edge of drawers, sides of bins, and shelf areas.
Hint: if you can’t actually fit your stockpile of toilet paper in case of a zombie apocalypse in your storage closet, you need to go back to step 2 and get rid of extras.
Carla blogs over at MOMeo Magazine so head on over to check out her blog!