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I could be wrong, but does clutter in the house create clutter in the mind? Being free of clutter can certainly make you feel better.
In any case, too much clutter is not pretty. And it really brings down your decor! Finding ways to clear the clutter in your home can help reduce stress. (That and a good glass of wine of course.)
You love your things: your books, your dishes, your art, your clothes. But your things could be overwhelming your house and you.
Plus, if you have to move and you walk into the nightmare of packing and moving your stuff, your things have now become so much more work!
What do you do?
There’s a current popular suggestion that says hold on only to the things that have a special place in your heart.
For many, this isn’t terribly helpful, because the sheer volume of accumulated stuff means that letting go of some of it means you’re still left with mountains of things to pack and move.
It may be hard to do, but finding ways to get free from clutter and simplify your life can wind up making you feel good! Marie Kondo actually says that tidying up your life can help you find more joy!
If you want to know how to minimize the mess and reduce visual clutter fast, here are four rules to help you tame the clutter beast.
Why clear the clutter?
You may wonder why you should care about getting a clutter-free home. But as we mentioned, clutter can actually cause you stress! It can also zap your motivation.
A study done by Princeton University actually showed that a cluttered home environment impedes your ability to focus.
And, without focus, it can be hard to be productive.
Researchers from UCLA found that women with more clutter in the home also had a higher amount of Cortisol in their body. Cortisol is a stress hormone! More clutter = More stress. This same study found that the cleaner and more clutter-free a home was, the happier the residents were.
So, clearing the clutter in your home can help you focus, reduce stress, and just feel better overall.
How can I cut the clutter without throwing everything away?
Getting rid of excess junk is a fast and easy way to reduce clutter and minimize mess in your home, but you don’t have to throw everything out.
The good news is, you really need to focus on reducing the visual clutter in your home. In other words, you can still have clutter in cabinets, and behind the scenes if you need to.
You just don’t want to be able to see the clutter. There are tons of organization hacks and storage containers you can use to help reduce visual clutter without throwing things away.
How to declutter when you are overwhelmed
The worst thing about clutter is it can make you feel overwhelmed. And, feeling overwhelmed can make you have no motivation or ability to clear the clutter in the first place!
If you feel completely overwhelmed by clutter in your house, go easy on yourself to start with. Don’t expect that you will be able to purge all the clutter at once.
Just take small steps if that is all you can do. If you don’t know where to start to clear out the clutter, then make a declutter your home checklist with goals and areas to work on. Write down each of the decluttering rules below on it, and attack them one at a time.
You can also put certain rooms on your decluttering checklist to keep track.
If you work on it a little at a time, but work consistently, before you know it you will have a clutter-free home!
Rule One to drastically Clear the Clutter: Be Ruthless
Seriously. Anything that is absolutely, positively not a one-of-a-kind family heirloom is fair game for disposal.
One of the fastest ways to purge clutter from your home is to throw. stuff. away.
Count the number of people in your household. Let’s say there are four of you. To figure out how many mugs, glasses, dinner plates, cutlery place settings you need, double that number to eight.
Any glasses, dishes, knives, and forks over that number–get rid of them. You simply do not need them. If you have a set for “every day” and a set for “good” dishes and cutlery, think seriously about jettisoning both and substituting a set that works in both casual and fancy settings.
I mean how often do you really use that fancy china? If you are fortunate enough to own a sterling silver dinner service: use it everyday. It won’t wear out, and it will earn its keep rather than sitting around gathering dust in its chest.
Cutting out clutter gives you full right to use your best household items instead of saving them for a special occasion.
The same rule holds true for bath towels, wash clothes, and hand towels. Two per person is all you need. The rest can go to a survival center or an animal shelter.
Minimizing your clutter is also a great way to give back to others who may need it!
Two sets of bed sheets per bed is your goal, one to wash and one for the bed. The number you get by doubling the number of family members is a good rule of thumb for paring down stuff you use collectively.
Rule Two to get free of clutter: Outsource Your Storage
You love to read. That’s great, until you try to move multiple 50-pound boxes of books, many of which, if you are honest, you know you will never read or consult again. Get rid of them!
You have two alternatives to letting your house be littered with books:
The public library, where you can go anytime to be mesmerized by the atmosphere of bound volumes and where you can drink in the aroma of old books.
An eReader on your smart phone or tablet. You can fit at least as many books in your personal library on your e-reader, which is portable and indexed. Even if you don’t have one, there are online sources for books you can read on your computer.
One of the easiest ways to reduce paper clutter is to use your computer as your file cabinet. Scan paperwork and file it on a zip drive or a remote server. If you store electronically, you can whittle down your paper files to a manageable folder or two.
Reducing clutter in the new digital age is even easier than in the past. You can ditch extra items cluttering your house, but not actually have to lose them!
Rule Three to clear the clutter: organize it
Maybe the clutter in your home just needs to be organized and put away! You may just be in need of some good storage containers and cabinets.
One of my favorite ways to cut down on clutter is to use under the bed storage like this pack of 4 Rubbermaid containers. There is so much unused space under your bed! You can easily reduce visual clutter in your home by just storing items in containers under you bed.
You can still access what you need any time, but not have it making your home look messy.
You can clear the clutter from just about any part of your home with the right storage tools.
Even your pantry can be clean and neat with these airtight food containers.
Store extra blankets and clothes in these super cute storage bins.
I don’t know about you, but I have a LOT of water bottles. Did you know you can actually store and organize them in something like this?
The point is, purchasing the right storage tools and bins can go a long way to help you clear out the clutter in your home.
Rule Four for a clutter-free home: Live in the Present
There is really only one good reason to hang on to an appliance or an article of clothing or a piece of sports equipment. You either use it, wear it, or play with it–now.
When was the last time you used your bread machine? Two years ago. Get rid of it.
When was the last time you wore that fringed jacket? Three years ago? Get rid of it.
Ditto the snowshoes and exercise ball. Just because once upon a time you indulged in a hobby or sported a certain trendy look doesn’t mean you will again.
Donate, sell or trash the things that once served a purpose but do not currently. It’s a pretty safe bet if you stopped using something, you’re not suddenly going to start back up again with it.
And, you should definitely look in your garage. You can reduce garage clutter quickly using this rule.
And if it an item isn’t being used, then it can be turned into cash or donated to someone who will use it.
Rule Five to clear clutter: Don’t Buy It
By far the most difficult rule to keep if you love stuff. You see something pretty or potentially useful. It’s only a few dollars, you tell yourself, and it will really give you a lift. Why not?
Because you have lived your life until now without it, and, chances are good that once you leave the store you will forget about it–that’s why.
The mountain of clutter you face didn’t spring up overnight from an undersea volcano. It grew step by step, as you acquired things but never stopped to consider the growth of the mountain.
It is important to learn ways to minimize clutter, but it is equally important to learn how to prevent clutter in the first place.
Imagine if you ran other aspects of your life this thoughtlessly. Do you eat until you explode? Do you keep on putting coins in the parking meter after you’ve paid for the time you need? Of course not!
Apply that same good sense the next time you visit your favorite store. The result? Less clutter and more money in the bank!
Final Thoughts on Removing Clutter From Your Life
It is important for your emotional health, stress and productivity to keep a clutter-free home!
And, it isn’t that hard to remove clutter and keep your home organized and pretty.
These clutter-clearing rules will set you on a path to minimize the amount of stuff you have, and train you to keep from adding to your things.
Even if all you can do is spend 10 minutes a day clearing clutter, you’ll have your whole home neat before you know it!
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