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Is Clutter Holding you Captive?
Have you ever walked into your home after a long day only to be bombarded by clutter, stress and chaos?
The shoes strewn on the floor, the muddy dog tracks leading outside, the coats haphazardly thrown onto the back of the sofa. Clutter everywhere.
Instead of coming home to rest and recharge, your home reminds you that you are just beginning second shift. You’re work in never done.
For most of us, this is just a way of life but it doesn’t have to be.
Last week I was reading (OK listening to) a wonderful book called “Manage your Time to Reduce Your Stress: A Handbook for the Overworked, Overscheduled, and Overwhelmed” by Rita Emmett.
I expected the book to be about scheduling, prodcutivity and priorities. It was…but it wasn’t. Emmett spent more time talking about self-care, enjoying your life, and using your time for what really matters to you. The book wasn’t what I expected but it was exactly what I needed to hear.
In a chapter about streamlining your life, Emmett hones in on the fact that clutter causes you stress. Images of our “morning routine” flooded my mind. Flashbacks of being an hour late because of a missing Halloween costume, or the time we almost couldn’t leave the house because I couldn’t find my son’s shoes, missing keys, missing cell phones, always rushing, always forgetting things.
My crazy cluttered house is making my crazy life crazier!! I decidede to dedicated two hours each week to defeating clutter and re-claiming my life. I don’t have time to waste sifting through things I don’t need!
How much of your valuable time is being whisked away by clutter? Are you ready to fight back?
How Clutter Causes you Stress
According to Psychology Today, clutter overstimulates our brains and keeps us from beign able to focus. Clutter increases stress and decreases productivity.
Your home should be your sanctuary, not your battlefield. Yet clutter makes it harder to relax and unwind because it is a constant reminder that our work is never done.
Clutter makes us feel guilty, inhibits creativity, and creates all kinds of frustration (because you can never find ANYTHING).
Here’s the good news: less stuff=less clutter=less work=less stress and more time! It’s time to get rid of some junk my friend!
How do I know it’s clutter?
I am a recovering packrat. I keep everything just in case. But guess what? Rarely do I need any of it. All that stuff lying around is just in case I wanted more surfaces to dust (I don’t).
If you aren’t sure what to classfiy as clutter, ask yourself the following questions. If the answer is no to any of them, it is clutter.
- Have I used this item this year?
- Would I buy this item today?
- Do I truly need this item?
- Is this item important enough to me to take the time to dust it?
How to De-Clutter your Life
- Set a goal. My goal is to spend 2 hours each week de-cluttering (around 20 minutes a day). You can join me here!
- Pick a room. Focus on one room of the house at a time. Start with the room that causes you the most stress.
- Sort your clutter into 3 categories: Sell, Donate, Dump. Use labeled boxes or bags to make items easy to transport after you are done.
- Designate and Organize. Put all the items you decide to keep into a designated, organized place. You may need to invest in some storage containers to keep everything neat, and organized. Be sure to add some money for storage to the budget and look for ways to save by purchasing items and thrift stores or creating DIY storage options such as these: Diaper box turned storage bin, bookshelf storage bench, DIY Shoe Rack.
- Finish the job. After you have finished de-cluttering, immediately dump the trash, give away your donations and set a deadline for your items to sell. Mark the date on the calendar. If the items have not sold by the set date, donate them.
Here are some of my favorite ways to sell unwanted items:
How to Keep Clutter Out For Good
Now that you finally have a space you enjoy coming home to, let’s keep it that way.
- Only buy things you truly need. If you know you will only need the item for a short period of time, borrow it instead (i.e. ALL baby items)
- Put things back immediately after you use them. Everything should have a place and it should stay in that place. Train your family, your friends, your foes to put things back where they found them. Always.
- In with the new, out with the old. If a new object comes in, something old (or a few somethings) must go out.
- Have a maintenance plan. Don’t let all of your hard work go to waste. Set a specific amount of time each day, or week, to put everything back in its place and keep clutter at bay.
Tips and Tricks
Take before and after pictures (and add them to our Facebook page) to show off your clutter conquering skills. Check out some of my transformations for this week!
Set a timer and don’t take a break until you reach your goal.
Make it fun! Have a de-clutter party. Enlist friends and family to tackle your clutter monster with you.
Good luck tackling the clutter monster. I know you can win. It takes time, effort, and maybe a little money now but it will be well worth it in the long run.
I’d love to know how it goes in the comments below or in our Facebook group.
Mom. Writer. Lover of all things DIY. My mission is to empower my fellow creatives to show money who’s boss, ditch debt and follow their dreams. Achieving debt freedom isn’t easy but our dreams are worth it!