Excessive clutter is often a symptom and a cause of stress and can affect every facet of your life, from the time it takes you to do things to your finances and your overall enjoyment of life. Clutter can distract you, weigh you down, and in general it invites chaos into your life. Often times, however, tackling the clutter can seem an insurmountable task if you don’t know where or how to start. By devoting a little of your time to getting rid of the clutter in your life and maintaining things relatively clutter-free , you’ll reap the rewards of pleasing living areas, reduced stress, and a more organized and productive existence.
The best way to tackle the decluttering of your home, and your life is to take things one small step at a time. Combined, small steps will lead to big improvements that will be easier to maintain over the long-run.
Your home is where most of your bulk lies. So it’s no wonder that a messy house can add to daily stress.
- Simply your rooms. If your rooms are too cluttered, you’ll want to simplify them. Start by clearing off anything that is on the floors. Throw out or donate unused things. After clearing the floor, move to flat surfaces such as worktops, shelves, tops of dressers, etc. Clear them as much as possible, and then move onto furniture. Consider if you need everything . Sort things in piles – toss, donate, or keep. Organize everything that you’ve decided to keep into drawers, cabinets, and cupboards, keeping them out of sight, but still neatly organized and uncluttered. Do this one room at a time.
- Tackle the cupboards. These are a great place to store things that you don’t want out in the open, and can easily become a place where you shove things just to keep them out of view. Go through your cupboard – take everything out, clean it, and toss , donate as much as you can. Decided a specific place to store anything you decide to keep. Keep only the things that you love and use frequently. As for your clothes, get rid of anything that you haven’t worn in six months.
- Clean out your drawers. Drawers are prime place for things to get shoved into. Empty out your drawers, and sorting them by whether you’re keeping, tossing, or donating them.
Decluttering your home is a great ways to start reducing the clutter and stress in your life, but there’s still more that you can do.
- Reduce your commitments. Often times, our lives are too clutterd with all of the things that we need to do at home, work, school, in our religious or civic lives, with friends and family, with hobbies, and so on. Take a look at each area of your life and write down all of your commitments. Seeing it all written down can be quite an eye-opening experience, as well as overwhelming. From here, look at each one and decide whether it really brings you joy and value, and if it is worth the amount of time that you invest in it. Another way to reduce your commitments is to identify a few that you truly love, and get rid of the rest. Learn how to say no and decline offers. If you eliminate the things that don’t bring you joy or value, you’ll have more time for the things that you love.
- Reconsider your routines. Many of us do not have any set routines in our daily lives, and simply tackle our obligations, chores, and daily tasks haphazardly. Without structure, it can lead to chaotic days and a drop in productivity. Instead, batch tasks together. Instead of doing your laundry several times throughout the week, do it all on one day. It’s helpful to write down all of your weekly and daily obligations, chores, and tasks, and then plan out daily and weekly routines. Hang it up where you can see it and try to follow it. You might find that having a routine brings a new sense of calm and order to your life
How to Maintain Order Over the Long-Term
Once you’ve successfully decluttered, whether it be one area or all the areas mentioned above, clutter will inevitably begin to creep back into your life. You must be vigilant in weeding it out on a regular basis, or it will just take over your life again.
- Set up a system to keep clutter in check. Examine the way that you do things and how things make their way into your life, and consider whether you can put together a simple system for everything, from washing your clothes to work projects. Write down your systems step-by-step and try to follow them as best as you can. Follow your systems and you’ll keep the clutter minimized.
- Don’t get lazy. It’s easy to put things off for another day, but it’ll save you headaches in the long-run if you deal with things immediately. Throw it out, give it to a charity shop, or keep it and put it in a designated area.