5 Tips for Eliminating Clutter in Your Home
We all hate clutter, but it seems impossible to eliminate. Piles of unwanted items grow like weeds in various corners of our homes – until a major effort is required to sort through them. We vow that we won’t allow this or that space – the kitchen counter or the bathroom cabinet or the bedroom closet – to become cluttered … and then it happens all over again.
Eliminating clutter requires more than good intentions – it requires resolve, a sound strategy and disciplined actions. Here are five great suggestions to include in your clutter-busting strategy.
One item enters, one item leaves
Every time an item comes into the house, take a similar item out. Unless you’re bringing home a diamond ring or a new baby, this is a great rule! Since your home isn’t getting any bigger, it just doesn’t make sense to bring in more stuff than you take out. Yes, applying the rule requires a certain ruthlessness, but chances are you’ll be able to find a seldom-used kitchen gadget to remove when you bring home that new food processor.
Implement a no-piling rule
Take to heart the old cliché, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” Never put something down in a temporary location. If you bring home food, put it in the refrigerator, cabinet or pantry. If it’s a clothing item, put it in the closet or a dresser drawer. If it’s a book, find a spot on a bookshelf. Piling something in a temporary location just means that you’ll have to deal with it later.
Find a large container and place it in some seldom-visited corner of your home – like the back of the garage or the closet of a spare bedroom. Then, when you come across an item that you’re not sure you need but haven’t yet decided to throw out, don’t just leave it where it is – throw it in the receptacle. Later it can be evaluated as outlined in the next section.
Evaluate every questionable item
On your monthly clutter-busting day (see next section), assess all questionable items by using a fixed list of questions. For instance, you could ask yourself and/or family members the following questions:
- Has this item been used in the last three months?
- Will anyone miss this item if it’s removed?
- Is this item being put to its best use?
If you answer “No” to all three questions, you don’t need it! So … sell it (if that’s worth your time), give it away (if it has value for some other person or organization), or throw it out.
Dedicate one day a month to de-cluttering
Last but not least, set aside time on a regular basis to implement your clutter-busting strategy (or the strategy itself will gather dust). It makes sense to choose a particular day – say, the last Saturday of every month. At that time you should empty your clutter receptacle and evaluate each item according to the criteria in the previous section; dismantle every pile that has accumulated and put every item in its proper place; and deal with miscellaneous clutter wherever it’s found.
Clutter isn’t necessarily evil, but it congests your home and makes it more difficult to find the things you do need. Include these five suggestions in your clutter-busting strategy, and you’ll soon enjoy a more comfortable home environment.