There is something that makes me feel as if I can’t breathe, that makes my temperature rise to insanity and changes this happy mama to one crazy lady on a rampage. Do you know what it is? Clutter.
And from all your comments about clutter on our facebook question, I know you feel the same way! You wrote that clutter makes you feel stuck, crazy, out of control, like a hoarder, trapped, claustrophobic, overwhelmed and anxious (multiple times for this one!).
Sometimes, I just can’t handle clutter. Toys, books, papers and random junk. I will be the first to admit, I’m not just talking about my kids. I’m also talking about me. The amount of papers that flow through this house . . . how it is possible? Can you relate? My kitchen counter is often stacked with papers that need to be filed, addressed or sorted.
Taming home clutter is an on-going and relentless battle. To this battle, I discovered only one magical solution: Sell your house. Since having our home “on the market,” I am forced to keep up on everything. I will confess that I have a huge tupperware container full of my odds and ends papers that do need to be taken care of, but other than that, clutter is under control.
Seeing my house neat and clutter-free is a wonderful and freeing feeling. I don’t care if people swing by unannounced. My house doesn’t look as if it had just been broken into and ransacked. The kids are even doing their part . . . ok, they are earning a commission each week if they keep up on their chores. But Sweet Boy is especially motivated since he really wants to buy the Gup-B. Any Octonaut fans out there?
Now, I’m not suggesting that you sell your house too. But I am suggesting we tackle the clutter head-on and get rid of all these feelings of anxiety. We don’t need to live like this!
Peter Walsh (remember seeing him on Oprah?) talks about two kinds of clutter. Lazy clutter: the stuff that accumulates when we don’t address it, the things that aren’t meaningful yet fill our counters and tables. Memory clutter: the things that remind us of something important: a person, event, achievement or special time.
Personally, my struggle is with lazy clutter. My memory clutter, while significant . . . is significant and in most cases, well-organized. So how do we handle clutter in our homes? How can we keep clutter from taking us captive?
Let’s jump into 28 clutter busting tips to help regain control of our home and make it a place of peace, not anxiety! (Thank you to those who shared your tips!)
1. Take 15 minutes each night before bed and quickly move through your house putting things away.
2. Get up early and tackle one area that accumulates clutter.
3. Start a chore chart for the kids. (Nothing is getting too out of control because the kids are actually cleaning up daily!)
4. Develop a paper organization system.
5. Try a folder system in an accessible place. Mark folders: Immediate Action, Action, Waiting, Someday, File.
6. Invest in a Filing Cabinet.
7. When you leave a room, never go empty-handed. Always take something to put away.
8. Purge your clothing every season.
9. Follow the Rule: one item in, one item out.
10. Tip from Melissa of Freeing Imperfections: Don’t try to clean all day. Nothing will get clean. Do a clean sweep of the house once a day. Night-time cleanings make your mornings a lot easier.
11. See the clutter as dollar bills waiting to be sold. Set a goal for what you want to make, just don’t buy more clutter with your earnings.
12. Sell your clutter at a garage sale. My garage sale is this week and my sales goal is to pay for a set of back stairs in the new house.
13. Sell your clutter online (Craigslist, private Facebook groups in your area).
14. Reduce the number of kitchen utensils that need to be hand-washed (less plastics that aren’t dishwasher safe sitting in the sink).
15. Reduce the number of things that need to be dusted.
16. Reduce the amount of stuff in each room. Visualize your room with less stuff and then work to stay at that limit.
17. Melanie’s tip: clean out a kitchen cabinet and store all your clutter there until you’re ready to deal with it.
18. Ask yourself if you have used a particular item in the last year.
19. Have a “To Be Fixed” Jar. Mine is in my office and holds all the pieces that need to be glued and fixed.
20. Have a “Missing Pieces” Drawer. I just read about this idea in Family Fun. This particular family kept a drawer filled with random missing pieces. Not only is the clutter not all over the house but they can find that missing game piece rather quickly when sitting down to play a game.
21. Keep a dish pan under each sink for cleaning supplies. It will help things stay contained, neat and tidy.
22. Develop a mail system to handle incoming paper. I have this Wall-Mounted Letter Holder to help with out-going mail, in-coming bills and receipts.
23. Have a well-organized toy collection and a specific place for each kind of toy: lego container, book basket, puzzle drawer.
24. Invest in clear, quality containers for long-term storage.
25. Set a timer and clear clutter as fast as you can.
26. Read Tsh Oxenreider’s book, Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living. She is systematic, purposeful and well-thought out. If you are looking for a great guide to purge your entire home, this book is a must read.
27. Don’t go to bed with dishes in the sink.
28. If you need accountability, make it a point to have someone over every week. You’ll have to keep up on everything then, right?
29. Bonus tip from Emily: Stay away from home! 😉
Happy Clutter-Free Living!
Do you have a tip to share? Leave it in the comments!
This post is a part of our series, Path to a Simply Organized Life (A 12 Month Journey). Start anytime and get your life simply organized!
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