Clutter. We all have it, whether it’s possessions tossed aside out of complacency or neglect, or items left out with well-meaning intentions of getting to them later. It can exist on our workday desks, in our cars, in our heads and, of course, in our homes. Many agree it is best to declutter where we can, to keep as many parts of our lives as healthy and organized as possible. Let’s look at some declutter ideas, and let’s focus on the most likely culprit for attracting life’s clutter – the home.
At wisnet, we put a focus on keeping a decluttered mind and work environment to help everyone stay fresh and energized for our clients and team members. However, it’s not enough to be decluttered at work and then cluttered at home. By taking a more holistic approach to a decluttered life, it’s important to look at work and at home.
A good first step is to identify any problem spots or “clutter jams.” Since they are problem spots, that means you are probably spending too much time each week tidying them up or you are ignoring them completely and ultimately can never find what you are looking for. Either way, these problem areas cause stress. It’s not uncommon for the home to have several problem spots. Just start with one. No need to cause more stress by thinking you have to do it all at once.
Analyze the problem area. There are 3 basic questions to consider.
1. What is causing the clutter to appear?
Identifying the problem can lead to some creative solutions – Is this just a “dump area?” The items lying on the table or counter or floor have a home somewhere else in the house, but they simply are not getting to their proper location. Rectifying this seems easy, but definitely requires all household members to be responsible for their belongings. And many times even you don’t know where these items should go. Does your husband’s screwdriver go in the toolbox in the garage or is it the one from the basement workshop? The one thing you do know is that your husband is in charge of its proper storage. The shoes lying on the floor belong to your son and the necklace on the coffee table is your daughter’s. Random items scattered as if washed ashore without purpose or destination.
A creative solution for this is the “crap basket” – decorative baskets that hold all that “crap” you find around the house that needs to be put away. Each basket is labeled with a household member’s name and they are responsible for putting the contents where they belong. When you find an item lying around the house cluttering things up, you simply drop the item into the basket. No need to hunt down that person or get frustrated. Add a rule that the baskets need to be empty by Monday morning so they don’t get too full.
2. Is the area too small for the items stored there?
Whether it’s recycling products, toys, or clothing, sometimes the designated area is just not large enough to accommodate all of the items. Now you need to get creative. If you’re keeping the recycling bin in the house, it’s probably a smaller size bin that you have located under the sink or in the closet. Maybe it’s time to move the bin into the garage or outside near the back door. You can get a much larger bin that will hold more and if you must store it outside, the “pelican” style garbage bin is perfect. It’s easy to open and close and will keep water out.
When it comes to toys, clothing, or other types of “collectible” item, it’s probably time to go through your collection and thin it out. You know the general rule about clothing – if you didn’t wear it all last season, you probably won’t next year either. And if your child didn’t play with that toy in the past couple of months they may have either outgrown it or lost interest. Either way, it’s time to donate. Analyze your storage areas. Could you add shelves to your closet that would allow you to store more items? If you’re not utilizing the area from top to bottom, then you’re missing out on precious storage space.
If shelves aren’t an option, try storage crates or stacking baskets. Both are great for clothing and toys. Adding storage containers for non-seasonal clothing and hiding them under the bed is a great method for storing clothing that you don’t need until next season.
3. Is this the best area to store these items?
Sometimes clutter simply appears in an area because it’s convenient; for instance, dropping the mail onto the kitchen counter or dining table. After all, you have to put it down somewhere and there is this big flat surface just waiting for it. If mail and papers clutter up your surfaces and never seem to get cleared away, then you need to decide where you’d like to store these items on a more permanent basis. If you have an office area, designate a place in that room for mail. If you have limited space, try adding a bin, basket or box that you can purchase (or create yourself) to your decor. It can be decorative enough that you don’t mind it sitting on your kitchen counter or stuck to the side of your refrigerator. Mail can be stored here where it is convenient to locate and yet your tabletop and counters are free of clutter.
No matter which creative solution you decide on, you must communicate your decluttering practices to all members of the household. Everyone needs to participate to help keep your home clutter-free.
Decluttering your house may seem daunting at first, but remember to just tackle it one spot at a time. At this point in the article it seems kind of cheesy to tack on a plug for wisnet, but the analogy fits nicely. If things seem a bit cluttered at your place of business, maybe we can help. With our expertise, we can help you declutter your website, your branding message, and even some of your daily routines. Check out all of our services or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re always happy to answer your questions.