Most people live in a cluttered home. Drawers and closets overflowing with stuff and half-finished projects everywhere is quite common. Whenever we get visitors, this usually changes quite quickly. Then, the whole family would jump into full-action mode and get the home to pristine condition, all neat and organized and make it look presentable.
When you think about that, you’ll realize clutter isn’t that we did not care. Rather, we weren’t able to remove the clutter and keep the home clean and organized consistently.
Over time, we can all come up with a system that works well to suit the whole family. Irrespective of how far away from the goal your home is right now, it is still possible to change your ways. Let’s take a look at four steps that will ensure your home becomes clutter-free. Shall we?
Step 1 – Trust That It’s at Least a Possibility:
While most know we can live in clutter-free surrounding, you probably need some help to make that possible. Even if you see yourself as someone who can’t, open yourself up to the possibility that you can change.
Some of us have been living in homes that where cluttered for ages and you’ve really give up any hope of finding a way out of it. Let me assure you, it is possible and you should believe it. Living in a home that’s clutter-free is something you get to do with resolve and you must believe it, before you set out to accomplish it. Believe, and don’t worry. You could take a step at a time, no rush.
Step 2 – Start with Everything That’s Excessive:
Homes are filled with things and clutter is common, when we keep piling up things. On the other hand, when the items you own become less, clutter is automatically reduced and kept at bay. For this reason, the first step to making your home clutter-free is removing unwanted or excess possessions from your home. After all, they steal your time, energy and your life!
Getting rid of clutter can also help you decide what’s clutter. It is very important to understand clutter and define it in clear terms a) excessive stuff in a confined space; b) stuff that’s no longer needed, used or cherished; or c) any stuff that lead / led to a disorganized home. Using this as a guideline, check every room in your home and get rid of anything that fits these criteria.
There are times when this is easier:
- Junk drawers that are filled with items you don’t use anymore (old keys or batteries, rubber bands).
- Closets filled with clothing you don’t wear anymore.
- Decorations that isn’t useful or outdated.
Other times, more time and energy might be needed for this step:
- Big projects like attic, garage or basement.
- Items that hold sentimental value.
- Clutter piled up by other members in the family, which in turn crept into common space.
The key is getting started with this step (identifying and clearing clutter) and completing it, preferably starting with easier projects initially. You could start with those and then, count on your small achievements. This will give you the motivation and drive required to take on larger projects like de-cluttering the harder areas (an attic, an entire basement, etc.) in your home.
If you think you can’t eliminate excess stuff in your home, find the drive to get it done. You could probably dump all the items you aren’t able to convince yourself to get rid off in a carton box and keep it away from your vicinity and mark it with a date. This way, you don’t rush yourself but still, moving towards getting rid of it at some point – convincing yourself you no longer need it, whether it lies around or not.
Step 3 – Come up With Ways to Manage Clutter:
For a very long time, I thought managing clutter was simple enough – clean, organize, rinse & repeat! But I realized that was so wrong, since I never put in any effort to remove the clutter, which effectively means I can never get past the clutter in our home. With so much stuff, stuffed in a small space what can be done? No matter what you do or try and organize, it never works.
For this reason, clearing clutter and a habit to keep it at bay must be put in place. So, never skip through the step of de-cluttering your home. The sooner you realize how much clutter there is in your home, the sooner will you come up with a way to manage stuff better and keep your home clutter free.
When excess or unwanted stuff is cleared from your home, you will understand how being clutter free is and how you can make it a habit. Besides, being clutter-free brings a freedom and lets you live stress-free, so embracing it will become easier.
Make these your daily habits:
- Cleaning up your kitchen after every meal.
- Keeping stuff you use daily like toys, books or clothes in their allocated space.
- Having a routine for clearing up stuff (either in the morning or evening) based on your schedule.
- Completing incomplete projects around your home.
Some of these tasks or habits will be around your cluttered locations, or concentrate more on areas that need more attention. In our home, kitchen counter was most used as it was our go-to collecting space (schoolwork, mail, cooking, cutting) all through the day and our living room, where activity is abreast almost always and our master bedroom was more cluttered than the other bedroom and these locations needed more of our time and energy.
Some tasks or habits might have to changed or altered, from time –time:
- During change of season – removing seasonal stuff, or changing the timings for your de-cluttering schedule, etc.
- Getting rid of excess stuff after birthdays or holidays.
- Considerable change in one’s life – new job, addition of a new family member – spouse / kid, might call for adjustments and revision and reassessment.
With time, we realized clutter tends to attract more clutter. Once you begin to pile it up, you really need to put in a lot of efforts to clear it up. It is a good idea to have it as a habit to get rid of clutter, for your family. When you identify how to do it, implementation is just logistics.
Step 4 – Accumulate Stuff Slowly:
We consume throughout our lifetime. It is not something we can avoid, considering our culture and society. Getting in new stuff is going to happen always, but by thinking it through and waiting on before accumulating them, clutter could be managed better.
Want to know how to reduce the pace of accumulation? It takes a change in your mindset and being calculative or speculative about your purchases. You should remember the purchase you are intending to do, costs more than just money. Every purchase will need your energy, time and effort from the time they enter your home. If you planning for a purchase, ask these questions to determine if you need it:
- Do you really need the item?
- Should I store this item once it gets home?
- What would my contribution for this purchase?
- My reasons for buying, are they right?
These questions aren’t meant to stop you from purchasing in the future, rather, they’re meant to provoke your thought process. You are going to need to buy stuff and keep yourself updated and adequate. But, the intention behind you purchases should be valid – not everyone will need everything. Right? They improve your awareness and help you decide if or not a purchase is needed and when. This way, you would slowdown accumulation and reduce clutter when you postpone or avoid a wrong purchase.
Let me tell you – you can live clutter-free and having a clutter-free home can be a reality. This guide is intended to help you reach that goal. As a person who has seen both sides of the coin and the freedom and enjoyment that comes with living clutter-free, I sincerely hope you would try to make your home a clutter-free zone.