As we go through life, we become collectors of stuff. Our bodies have a way of expanding to accommodate all of the stuff we put in them. Unfortunately, our homes don’t operate this way. We actually have to take time to clean out the stuff from time to time or we will become overrun with clutter. I guess that same truth could be said about our bodies. But, that isn’t today’s topic.
So, how do we get rid of all of this stuff? Where do we find the time to go through it all? And, what do we do with all of it once we have established that we don’t need/want it anymore?
Start with one room at a time
Pick an easy one. Make a list of all of the cabinets and drawers that need to be cleaned out. You won’t realize it at first, but this list will motivate you to keep going when it has some things checked off of it. You will need forward momentum.
When you move on to another room. Add it to the original list. You’ll be encouraged that you completed one room and will want to complete the next one.
How Do You Eat an Elephant?
One bite at a time! Just clean out one drawer or cabinet at a time. The truth is that a drawer will only take 10 – 15 minutes. We can all commit to 15 minutes. Don’t make the whole project one big overwhelming task. This isn’t a sprint. Your house became cluttered over a long period of time. It will take a long time to declutter it too. Save the larger projects for the weekends. But, try to fit something small into each day.
Throw stuff away
When you are going through your stuff, don’t just look at it and put it back in the drawer. If you don’t use it, get rid of it. Look at every single thing. Ask yourself if you have used this item in the last year. If not, chances are you won’t need it. Remove it from the drawer. Throw it away, give it away, or sell it.
Keep clean areas clean
Once an area is clean, make sure you take the time to keep it that way. The last thing you want to do is have to cycle back through the room once it is all checked off. Take the last 10 minutes of each day and pick up the things that have been left out. This will make a huge difference!
Everything needs a home
While you are cleaning, organizing and decluttering, think about what you would label each drawer or cabinet. You don’t actually have to put labels on things. But, let your mind think through that process. If this drawer had a name, what would it be? Now anything that fits the title should go in that drawer. You might need a bigger space for that category. If so, relocate the contents of the drawer to a larger area.
As you go through each room, you will add to that drawer. For instance, office supplies should all be in the same location of the house. If you are looking for tape, sticky notes, staples, note pads, extra pens, pencils, or paper, you will find them all together in one location. As you find these items in other rooms, relocate them to the office supply area.
The president is coming
Look around the room. If you were having a very important guest over, what else would you relocate? Are there things stacked in a corner? Sometimes we become so comfortable with the clutter, we don’t even notice it. It is the small things that clutter a room. If you do this right, you will feel like you are living in a brand new house.
Put out a memo
Attention Family Members… this is a no clutter zone!! Let everyone know how you have designated the areas. They may not remember and will probably need gentle reminders. But, they will enjoy having everything organized even if they fail to mention it.
Your home should be a place of refuge. It shouldn’t be a source of stress. Clutter is the enemy of peace!! And, we all need peace. An organized home will give you time back in each of your days. Gone are the days of searching for hours to find things. Your home has the potential to be a well sharpened tool for you to increase your productivity. You will find yourself with more time to spend with your family and friends. You may even start inviting them over for dinner again.