Are you a hoarder, a procrastinator or simply a believer in the chaos theory of organization? Maybe you are one of the absent-minded-professor type who possesses the uncanning ability to locate everything from deep within piles? Life happens and sometimes it is easy to just look up one day, to find clutter has crept up on us. Especially those stacks of paperwork so many of us dread. We all have a system but if you want more organization, space, and energy in your life, these decluttering tips may be for you.
There are many underlying reasons why some of us are hoarders and clutter is a common and even comfortable scene at home. This article provides tips to help with the process of decluttering. The deeper reasons why we are pack rats will be the topic for another day.
Here are six simple tips to help you tackle your clutter:
① Tackle One Area At a Go
Decluttering the entire house or even one single room at one go can be nightmarish and overwhelming. Target the whole place at one go and any motivation you may have felt will quickly evaporate. You’ll likely be left frustrated, even defeated.
Try dividing your de-cluttering into bite-size pieces. For example, tackle one cupboard at a time or resolve to clear the mess on your desk this weekend.
You can also add to this strategy – shallow to deep. Clear out the surface items. The easy, no-brainers and leave the ones that demand more of your energy and attention to another day.
② Cultivate New Habits
One good habit is to minimize the spread. Of the mess, that is. Close cabinet doors behind you. Put things back right away after you use them. Cancel subscriptions to those newspapers and magazines you don’t have time to read. Clean around the kitchen when you are waiting for the toast to pop, kettle to whistle, dogs to finish their meals…
Do you often find yourself wearing a rotation of the same clothes, even if your closet has more inventory? Or do you have a shelf full of books you are not going to read again, or haven’t read yet? If you have not worn an item in X months, time to share it. Decide if this is three months, six months, or twelve months. Your clothes and books can make a difference to someone else. Share the love, and that extra space creates a sense of lightness.
You can save a lot of time in the mornings by streamlining and decluttering your routine. Organize your bathroom area to help you easily find what you need (tooth paste, toothbrush, cleansing routine). Move anything you don’t use on a daily basis out of sight. And bin anything that is beyond its expiry dates. Cosmetics and skincare have a varying shelf time, from generally three months for mascara to about a year for facial creams. And those trial size or samples? Say no, unless you will use them right away.
⑤ Group your Stuff
Certain clutter is difficult to avoid (e.g. loose stationery). Group them in a way that is logical and easy to stick with. Have a box in your study where you put all loose envelopes and other random stationery. Keep a bowl near where you undress to throw loose change from your pockets into. Maybe another one in the laundry for the same purpose. And electrical cords? iPhone chargers? Boxes and trays are great for keeping things together, and for making it easy to find them again at a moment’s notice.
⑥ Distinguish Between “Need” and “Want”
Think about what an item means to you and whether you are holding onto it because of what you are using it for or what it means to you. Unless you really are using it, consider letting it go. The exception is something of absolute beauty, and gives you immense joy to be around it. A beautiful environment is important.