Taking Control Of Your Clutter
February 12th, 2013 posted by FamilyCorner Staff
We are all familiar with the old saying “There’s a Place for everything and everything in it’s place”. Everything you own must have a home. When you think about it you are probably about 95% there. Let’s face it, when you come home with the groceries you don’t just leave them sitting by the door (the way we do with shoes, books, newspapers, mail, etc.) You make a conscious effort to put the meat in the freezer, the milk in the fridge and the bread in the pantry. You must use that type of thinking for everything you bring into your home. When you purchase something new, whether it be a new couch or just a pair of shoes it usually goes without saying that you have a pretty good idea where it is suppose to go. Why not start that kind of thinking every time you consider a purchase. If you have to take the time to think about where something HAS to go chances are you might reconsider the purchase thus preventing more clutter. Now I know you are probably thinking, that’s great Paula, but what do I do with the clutter that is already in my home? Well I am here to tell you that there is a solution. However, depending on the amount of clutter you currently have that it might not be an easy undertaking, but keep in mind that the results are far more rewarding than the tangible and intangible costs of dealing with your clutter on a daily basis.
Where to begin
Begin by getting a pen and paper and making a list of the cluttered areas around your home. List EVERYTHING that drives you crazy from your child’s toy box to the cleaning supplies under the kitchen sink. While making your list, write down all of the supplies you are going to need. For just about any de-cluttering project you will need boxes to haul away the stuff you are not keeping. It is important to have all of the supplies you need with you in the area you are about to de-cluttter because it is entirely too easy to get side tracked once you have to leave this area. Now set a date when you would like to conquer the clutter, be realistic, don’t say 3 months from Saturday, the sooner you start (and finish) the better you are going to feel. Write the name of the project/area and the start date across the top of the page.
It is very important to set a deadline for accomplishing the project. Creating deadlines move us one step closer to achieving our goals, thus reaping the rewards that come with accomplishment. Naturally you don’t want to start a project that you know you wont have time to complete. For example don’t start an overhaul on your bedroom closet an hour before your husband brings his boss home for dinner. This will ultimately lead to failure. Give yourself enough time to see a project from start to finish. Determine when you would like to have this particular project completed. For example,your child’s closet needs to be cleaned out before his birthday next month because you know the grandparents are going to overdo it with the toy buying. The day has arrived and you are ready to dive in. Gather your supplies, and eliminate all distractions. Remember those boxes I told you to get? Now is the time to label them, using my “D” Clutter method. Get a big black marker and label each boxes with one of the following words
DUMP — DONATE — DOLLARS — DELEGATE — DECIDE
When trying to decide what you should put in which box, ask yourself these important questions.
- Do I really love this item
- Do I really need this item
- Is it too nice to use
- Is it too ugly to use
- Will I benefit from keeping it
- WIll I benefit from tossing it
- When is the last time I used this item
Begin by removing EVERYTHING from this area, whether it be your closet, pantry, or junk drawer. Empty it completely out on the floor. This is the only way to really see the stuff you actually have. You are going to be truly amazed at how many times you say “WOW, I forgot all about this!” Now continue by filling those boxes.
This one is a no brainer. Toss out anything that is:
- Broken or beyond repair
- Has missing parts
- Beyond its expiration date
- Too many of one item (like 20 old toothbrushes you have been saving for cleaning the grout!)
This box always lifts my spirits. I love thinking of someone else getting use of my gently worn/used items. If you really have a hard time donating to charity maybe you can donate it to a friend or family member so you can see someone getting use out of it.
Let’s face it, one of the reasons we hold onto so many of our things is because we paid a lot of money for them! If you have any items that fall into this category you can clear the clutter while making few bucks. A few ideas are:
- Bring them to a consignment shop.
- Have a yard sale
- Sell on an online auction
- Place an ad in the paper
There is bound to be about a dozen items that don’t belong there. Items like sporting equipment in your bedroom closet, books in the toy box, etc. These things need to be returned to their proper home/owner. By removing things that don’t belong to there and putting them into the delegate box, you now have one less decision to make by giving this responsibility to others.
You have had to make many decisions today.Even after giving and throwing stuff away you are still faced with items you just aren’t sure what you want to do with. It’s ok, put these things in the DECIDE box and go through it at a later time. It is very important to put a date (2-3 weeks max!) on this box so you don’t put if off indefinitely. Go as far as to put it on your master list so you have no excuse not to do it. When the day arrives to clean out this box you will look at these items differently now that you have been living with an uncluttered area. If you feel like this is going be an overwhelming project, start off with something small like one drawer, one shelf, or one cupboard. Once you start to see some progress you might be motivated to keep going and perhaps tackle even more.Keep in mind though that it is ok to stop for today and do the second drawer, shelf, or cupboard another day. Now gather up these boxes and bring them to the appropriate places.
Bring immediately to the trash
Place by front door and call your local goodwill for a pick up or place this box into your car and drive it to them tomorrow.
Decide how you would like to “sell” these items and act on it immediately.
Place the box in the middle of the living room floor and tell your family members that if they do not remove their items that you are donating it to charity. This may be extreme but I have heard from many women that this method actually works.
Decide later box
Place it out of the way until the date you have chosen to go through it again. DO NOT FOR GET TO GO THROUGH IT AGAIN!
Yes I said Dial. Pick up the phone and order a pizza for dinner. You have worked very hard today and deserve a night off from cooking. You are truly amazing, you have accomplished a lot today, be sure and reward yourself for a job well done!