Clutter control is of the utmost importance when it comes to being organized.
Often clutter seems to overwhelm, or even dominate, our very existence.
There are two main ways in which clutter can be successfully controlled. First and foremost, the amount that is allowed to enter your life must be limited. Second, purging must occur on a regular basis.
The following tips will help get you started on the path towards a clutter-free life. :)
Don't let it in. The fundamental principle of clutter control is to stop clutter at the source by limiting what is allowed to enter your life.
Ask yourself: Do I really need this item? What am I going to use it for? How is it going to improve my life?
Apply this to any and all situations - when you're shopping, when the mail comes, when people give you things, and so on.
Let's take the mail as an example. It comes everyday without fail and is at least 50% junk. Immediately pitch the unnecessary items before they are permitted to take up space on a surface, in your home or in your life.
Cleanse often. The amount of things coming in and the amount leaving your life need to be equal or close to each other. Purge regularly so that items get discarded when they are no longer necessary.
Need help determining if something is necessary? Ask yourself: Do I really need this item? Do I use it often, if at all? Has it served its purpose?
I know purging often sounds like a lot of work but on the contrary. By breaking it down into simple tasks, doing 5-10 minute purge sessions every day (or even every week) is more than sufficient for clutter control.
And really commit; put these tasks on your to do list and/or calendar. They are more likely to get done if they are broken down and if they are scheduled.
The more you do it the faster you'll become at making decisions and ridding your life of material intrusions.
Remember clutter control is a family affair. It is important to get everyone involved in some of the purging sessions. Ask your kids to pick out toys that they want to give to other children who don’t have toys. This is a good way to introduce organization, charitable giving and letting go of material possessions that are no longer useful.
Some 5-10 Minute Purging Tasks:
Pitch expired bathroom items
Gather books that you want to give away
Recycle old newspapers/magazines
Pitch expired items from the pantry
Pitch the junk in a stack of mail
Gather electronics to recycle
Pitch expired items from the freezer
Pitch expired coupons/gift cards
Pitch socks that are old, ripped, faded, stained, have holes or no matches
Gather clothing to give away
Pitch old receipts
Pitch expired food & beverages in the refrigerator
of the above activities may take more than 10 minutes depending on the
size of your home or office. Thus, you can decide whether to do a task
for 10 minutes and then stop or keep on going if you're on a roll.
Either way is perfectly suitable. Remember, organization does not equal
Ditch as you go. Part of clutter control is getting rid of things as you go through your daily life. Has anyone ever told you to wash pots, pans, and utensils as you prepare a meal rather than saving it all for the end? Well, this is the same concept.
Let's take clothing as an example. Often we'll come across something that doesn't fit like it used to or at all. Understandably this happens while getting ready for work or an event, and there's no time for an organizing session. The unnecessary item gets thrown back into the closet, and unfortunately continues to take up very valuable space.
Let's avoid the above example altogether. Keep a bag in or close to your closet. When you come across something to give away, simply toss it in the bag. This keeps your closet clutter-free without having to set time aside to clean it out.
Apply this to any and all situations - keep a bag in your office for electronics that need to be recycled, keep a bin in your kid's room for outgrown clothing, and so on.
Doing this also cuts down on the
amount of purging sessions you have to actually set aside time for
because you’re incorporating clutter control into your daily routines.
Eventually this will become a habit, and clutter control will no longer
be something you have to think about. It’s something you just do. How
Give it a home. Lastly, assign a home to absolutely everything. The accumulation of items that have no real place or purpose in your home is what makes up clutter.
The items that have obvious homes should be in their proper places (i.e. utensils belong in the kitchen, toys belong in the kid’s room, hair accessories belong in the bathroom and so on).
The rule of thumb for the items that don't have obvious homes is to contain them in the room or space that you will naturally look for them. For example, each kitchen should have one, and only one, junk drawer for miscellaneous items like pens or matches or other little odds and ends that get dumped there or each bedroom should have a valet tray to gather all the miscellaneous items that come out of our pockets like spare change, golf tees, and toothpicks.
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Check out this list: Declutter - Things You Can Live Without.
Not sure what to do with a particular item? These clutter control flow charts are fantastic for helping you decide!