7 strategies to declutter your home and keep it that way
Nearly 45 percent of Americans devote between five and seven hours per week toward tidying up the house, according to polling done by the American Cleaning Institute. And a major source of these often unenviable tasks is dealing with clutter.
Clutter is a lot like dust - it tends to get everywhere, and just when you think you're rid of it, there it appears once again. In short, clutter is organization's arch nemesis, affecting - if not infecting - virtually every room in your home.
Each of us have clutter personality types, according to Molly Graves and Ashley Murphy, founders of the NEAT Method. As reported by the Huffington Post, most fall into one of three clutter categories:
The "Extras" crowd are those who have more than one of various items, largely because they don't have a system in place that allows them to keep track of things, leading to a vicious cycle.
Then there are the "Constant Worriers." People who fall into this category, according to Graves and Murphy, opt not to throw things they don't use away because one never knows when that something will be needed. They're the "Just in Casers," if you will.
Last but certainly not least, there's the "Overwhelmers." As their title implies, these individuals can't help but feel overwhelmed by what are often Herculean decluttering tasks, that they have no idea where to begin. And as such, they don't, leaving it to another day … a day that invariably never comes.
Decluttering is like just about anything else in life - it's a process. However, with the right mindset and determination you can stamp out the stuff collections for good. Here are a few helpful strategies:
1. Declutter in small doses daily
With everyone seemingly constantly pressed for time, tidying up the place frequently - from kitchen cabinets to closets - gets put on the back burner. The problem with that is what may have been quick and easy fixes turn into hard and drawn out work.
Set aside an allotted period of time each day (you could even set a timer) to declutter, advised Neatnik.org's Nicole Anzia. Speaking to Lifehack, Anzia recommended allocating a few hours in the typical week - or as little as 20 minutes in the average day - toward straightening things up. Doing a little bit over time - instead of a ton all at once - will spare you from frustration and make the straightening process more hassle-free.
2. Be cautious about impulse buys
Impulse buys affect us all. In fact, based on a poll commissioned by Slickdeals, Americans purchase things due to sudden urges on average of three times per week, The Motley Fool reported. Impulse buys are fine every once in a while, but each and every one of them has to go somewhere. And by definition, impulse buys have a tendency to collect dust because they so rarely get used.
Commit to being more reflective the next time you buy something. This doesn't mean necessarily that you should only buy things you truly need, but try to be a bit more discriminating when it comes to your wants.
3. Create a junk bin or drawer
This tip may be particularly helpful for the Constant Worriers previously referenced. From USB cables to lids to extension cords, you probably have one too many of something that doesn't belong.
If you can't bring yourself to get rid of it completely, devote a drawer or bin to these items. So long as they aren't too big, anything and everything can go inside these vessels so they're out of sight and out of mind for the time being.
4. Find places for items you use
We tend to think of clutter as stuff that we don't regularly use. But clutter is an umbrella term that includes the possessions we use all the time. They too need places to go. As recommended by Leo Babauta, purveyor of the self-help blog ZenHabits.net, select five items that you handle frequently and think about where they'd make sense to store.
For example, if you like fiddling with sports equipment, like a baseball bat while watching the Red Sox or Dodgers when spring and summer roll around, try putting it in the corner of a room where the walls meet. Alternatively, you might want to purchase an attractive wooden baseball bat rack that you can mount to the wall so fewer things are stored on the floor.
5. Make your bed right when you wake up
Try to get into the habit of straightening up your bed every morning when you awake. An unkempt bed only adds to the sense of confusion and disorder that clutter causes. A made-up bed can help set the tone for your bedroom and can encourage you to keep everything that surrounds the bed in order, such as the night table, bureau or chest.
6. Clear out closets of clothes rarely worn
When was the last time you did an inventory of your clothing? People have a tendency to wear the same five or six shirts, jeans, pants and shorts, perhaps expecting to use those rarely worn some other day. But when has that day actually arrived? Instead of letting clothing stay there so it takes up storage space, you might consider donating it to goodwill or perhaps giving some of what you don't wear to younger relatives who might wear them.
Alternatively, get into the habit of "seasoning" your clothing, where you put the typical items you'd wear during summer in your dresser drawers and closets - such as shorts, polos, tee shirts and blouses - and packing the heavier items away for winter. Pack them in clear containers - instead of bulky boxes and trash bags - so you can easily see what's inside and tuck them away.
7. Make decluttering a lifestyle
We all tend to be creatures of habit, which can be a good or bad thing. Tidying up regularly definitely falls in the "good" basket, which is why you should try to adopt a decluttering mindset. Much like staying healthy and in good shape, organization is a lifestyle, not a "one and done" deal. Thus, whenever you use something, find its rightful place upon completion, whether that's in the closet, drawer, bookcase or trash can.
With these decluttering tips and tricks, we’re positive you can finally organize your home from top to bottom once and for all.