Cluttering Is A Habit That Can Be Broken:
We are the clutter generation, inundated by a seemingly daily or weekly influx of clothes, accessories, gadgets, catalogs, mail, and e-mail. How much “stuff” do you have that is neither used nor enjoyed? Outdated or outgrown clothing, obsolete technology or software, trinkets doing nothing but collecting dust – these things are all “clutter”.
According to The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, “to clutter” means:
To fill or spread over in a disorderly manner.
To make disorderly or hard to use by filling or covering with objects.
How guilty are you of cluttering? Is every available surface in your home or office covered in mail, papers and who knows what else? How many times have you endlessly searched for something only to wind up empty-handed? How often have you put something down with the intention of coming back to it, only to forget about it later?
Clutter crowds our lives, is a chief source of stress, contributes to sidetracked dreams and opportunities, and can cause guilt and anxiety. So why do we clutter? Because cluttering is a habit. A bad habit. But because it’s only a habit, you DON’T have to live with it forever. You can kick that cluttering habit to the curb and get your life back!
De-cluttering is simply disposing of things you don’t need, don’t want, or don’t have room for. Deciding what those things are is up to you. If you have trouble making decisions about your things, recruit a friend (preferably a clutter busting friend) to help you. Their impartial view of your stuff can help you decide what should stay and what really should go.
Forget rummaging! Drawer Dividers, drawer trays, small containers and small boxes can all be used to turn your “junk drawer” into an organized “supplies” drawer.
When De-Cluttering, Start Small:
If you’re new to de-cluttering, you don’t want to tackle something as large as the garage for your first project. Start small. Perhaps a “junk drawer” in the kitchen or your nightstand drawer. Try decluttering your magazine bin. Do you really need all those issues from the past year? Does anyone still read them?
Once you’ve completed several small de-cluttering tasks, you’ll be able to move on to larger projects. You may even find yourself enjoying it! The more clutter you dispose of or “tame”, the more free space you’ll have for the important stuff and the easier it will be to organize…
Try these small de-cluttering exercises:
Bookshelves: Start with one bookshelf. Get rid of any books that you are not absolutely attached to. If a time comes when you want to read a particular book again after it’s been tossed, you can always borrow it from the library.
Medicine Cabinet: Discard all expired medicines as well as any lotions, sprays, etc. that you haven’t used in the last year. If you can’t remember the last time you used it, toss it out. Group the rest of the items into categories such as “first aid”, “medicines”, “toiletries” and so on.
Purse or Briefcase: Empty out your purse or briefcase. Put back only those things that are essential. Keep loose items contained in zipper-sealed bags. You only need one pen. Keep it with your checkbook and address book with a rubberband. File away the receipts. Write stray phone numbers in your phone book. Tackle or toss loose papers.
After several small de-cluttering tasks, you will probably notice you develop a zeal for de-cluttering. You’ll get a taste of the un-cluttered life and you’ll like it. A new habit will form. A good habit. The habit of being clutter-free.
Never leave a room empty handed. Scan the room for items that belong elsewhere, then pick the item(s) up, take it to the correct room and put it away. This goes for laundry, dishes, books – anything and everything.
There is no sense in de-cluttering your home or office only to have the clutter invade again and multiply. The goal here is to eliminate clutter and KEEP IT AWAY.
Junk mail is going to continue to show up in your mailbox. Broken and unwanted toys will still surface. Clothing will be outgrown. These things cannot be avoided. Use the de-cluttering skills you’ve learned to handle these problems.
Put those skills to use everyday, keeping clutter out of your home, your office and your life.
Keep a large bin in a permanent location for donations. Everytime you find something you no longer want, need, or that doesn’t fit, add it to the bin. Make it part of your routine to take the bin weekly or monthly to the donations drop-off.
Toss junk mail in the trash as soon as you get it. Don’t let it pile up until you can “get around to it”. Rip it up or shred it, then toss it.
Scan your laundry as you fold it for items that can be donated or that need to be tossed. Likewise, if you try on something that doesn’t fit, put it in your donations bin instead of back into your closet.