We don’t set out with the intention of accumulating as much clutter around us as we possibly can.
No. It sneaks up on us gradually. Quietly filling up draws, closets, and cupboards, until every surface has been conquered, and we finally feel compelled to buy even more stuff just to keep it all contained and under control.
I mean, given the choice, who wouldn’t choose to live in a beautiful clutter-free home? A simple, elegant, and tranquil space, free from the stress of too much visual noise.
The good news is that with a little planning, it’s easily achievable.
I’ve put together a few easy and practical steps that you can take to start living your life free from the stress of having too much stuff.
Divide and Conquer
The method is very simple: You just systematically divide everything into four piles: keep, trash, donate and recycle.
But there’s a trick to being efficient and staying motivated, and that’s to be realistic about how much you’ll be able to achieve in the time you have available.
Ask yourself, do you really have a full day, or just a couple of hours available to sort out a kitchen cupboard or two, before it’s time to pick up the kids, or take the dog out and make dinner?
If you limit how much you take on in one go, you won’t end the day with the job half-done and more mess than you started with.
Studies have shown that multi-tasking actually just makes us less efficient at more stuff. So it’s much better to concentrate your efforts on just one room or project at a time.
Not only will you be more effective but it will also help you to stay motivated to keep going and move on to the next project or room.
The main culprits of bedroom clutter are clothes. Clothes that no longer fit, and clothes that we quite like, but don’t actually wear – ever!
Don’t worry, you are in good company. According to a 2017 survey of 5,200 women in the US, it was reported that on average they owned 41 items of clothing that they didn’t wear. So if you think you may need a bigger closet, you probably just need fewer clothes.
Other items to give the boot are spare coat hangers that take up rail space with nothing hanging on them, shoes that look great but give us blisters if we walk more than two paces in them, and that collection of single socks that we’ve been hanging onto in the vain hope that the other one will turn up again – eventually.
Don’t forget to include belts, hats, and any underwear that wasn’t gray when you initially bought it.
Your living room should radiate a feeling of tranquility and calm. It should be a stress-free place in which you and your family naturally want to gather together and relax. So it’s important to keep this in mind when it comes to decluttering this space.
Your living room furniture should be comfortable but it shouldn’t fill every available space.
A few toys in a basket and a couple of video games aren’t going to hurt. Just don’t allow too much stuff to take over.
If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin, here’s a tip to get you started:
Imagine you are a stranger and you’ve been invited into your home for the first time. Now take a looking at what’s around you:
How much of what you see would you want to keep – if you didn’t already own it and have just got used to it being there?
Ask yourself, are these things really essential? Do they help to make the room feel serene?
Kitchen clutter is the master of disguise. It presents itself as an innocent array of helpful utensils that hang about in draws doing absolutely nothing for years. Or small electrical appliances that in reality only ever supplied you with one toasted sandwich, a couple of waffles, or one batch of yogurt that, if you are honest with yourself, took you longer to make and turned out to be more costly to make than that perfectly good store-bought yogurt that you actually prefer.
Check the use-by date on all tins, packets, and jars. And it’s time to let go of those cookbooks. You know the ones. They are filled with weird and wonderful recipes for dishes that you’d never order from a restaurant – ever.
You don’t need all those cleaning products either. It’s so much better for your health, as well as for the planet, to use one environmentally-friendly multi-surface cleaner, than to hoard an assortment of questionable cleaning products that you’ll never use.
A bathroom shouldn’t be treated as a tiled storage closet to stuff full with extra toilet rolls, shampoo bottles, conditioners, and yet more cleaning products. Your humble bathroom has the potential to be a mini luxury spar, with just a little decluttering.
When it comes to shampoos and conditioners, a good way to lessen the visual mess created by too many bottles of all different sizes and with competing labels, is to buy a couple of simple colored glass (or plastic) pump dispenser bottles that are easy to refill.
Exercising at home is good for you. It’s cheaper than the cost of a gym membership and will save you the travel time (and hassle) of getting there.
However, it’s not going to do you any good, if it’s just sitting there. And the problem is, exercise machines tend to take up a ridiculous amount of space.
These days there are some great foldable alternatives of every kind of exercise machine you could want, from treadmills to exercise bikes to rowing machines. The space a foldable machine will save you makes it well worth the investment.
What to Expect From a Clutter-Free Life
The benefit of decluttering are huge. Here’s are some of the ways it can have a noticeable and positive impact on your quality of life:
- Less time spent cleaning and tidying up.
- Less time spent hunting around for stuff that you actually need.
- More space. Your rooms will feel so much larger, without all that extra stuff cluttering them up.
- More financial freedom. Practicing a clutter-free life will make you less likely to spend your money on things that you don’t really need.
- A sense of mental well-being. It is well documented that being organized helps with mental clarity. Calm and relaxing spaces are also scientifically proven to help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
- Helping others. By donating your unloved items, you can help others in need and at no extra cost to yourself.
There’s really no downside, so let’s grab those trash bags and get started.