The ultimate guide.
The dictionary defines clutter as an untidy collection of things. Ok, so we know that. So where can we see examples of this in our homes and why should we concern ourselves with de cluttering our belongings?
The tiny house idea aside, our homes are getting bigger and we are filling them with more stuff. This is leaving us with a number of related problems because of the sheer amount of belongings in our home.
Perhaps it’s as simple as the second drawer in the kitchen being so chock full of stuff you can never find the potato peeler, or it might be that your bedroom closet is bursting at the seams and you can’t pull together an outfit for the day.
It may even be that your email inbox is so full of random emails that you can’t find the can insurance bill to make a payment.
Then of course things may have gotten really out of hand and you find yourself surrounded by clutter no matter where you step.
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Some people state that they are happy living with their things in disarray and perhaps they are. Or maybe it’s just easier to live with in the status quo than it is to contemplate making a change.
I can understand that. Change is difficult, change requires thought and action and often believe that we don’t have the time or energy for either.
When we are faced with change, we go through a number of steps in the process. When it comes to our clutter, we go from denial (I don’t have a problem) to resistance (it’s too hard) through to exploration (I wonder what would happen) and finally commitment (I’ll work at this until i’m finished).
What are the benefits of de cluttering?
Why does it matter whether or not the things in our lives are untidy? Well, there are some distinct advantages of living in an environment with out clutter.
- 1. Save time.
- 2. Save stress.
- 3. Build positive relationships.
- 4. Save money.
- 5. ensures safety.
- 6. Creates mental space.
- 7. Make cleaning easier.
How de cluttering saves time.
How much easier would it be to find that elusive document or your favorite pair of earrings if you have a place for everything and everything in its place? What is the alternative? It’s hunting all over the house for the item, looking in the pile next to the TV, in the box under the bed and in the hall cupboard and often failing to come up with the item you require. Not only does this waste a large amount of time, usually at a moment when time is in short supply, it can lead to a huge amount of stress.
How de cluttering saves stress.
When we have a job to do and can’t find an item that we need, our stress levels rise considerably. You know how it feels, you start to get hot, tense and snappy at those around you. This is not a time when you need another family member to come to you for assistance with something and inevitably when some one will need your attention. Your interaction with them is likely to be short, sharp and unpleasant because of the worry you have and the need to just find the darn thing.
How being clutter free builds positive relationships.
Clutter can affect our ability to enjoy social situations in our own homes.
I know for me, I’m reluctant to have friends over when the house is looking so terrible. This happens at really busy times when we let the laundry pile up, neglect the growing pile of mail in the corner and allow the children to pull out all the toys they own with out packing any of then away when finished.
It can be embarrassing to have even close friends over when the house looks like that. Happily, once you have completed a good de clutter and have systems in place to stop it getting out of control again, a few short minutes of tidying will get the house ready to receive company at any time.
I”m not an advocate of the house looking like a display home at all times, I think that is unattainable and only creates stress which of course is something we are trying to avoid. What we are trying to achieve is a home that is easy to live in that only takes a couple of quick minutes to make “company ready”.
How being clutter free saves money.
Clutter can also be such a money waster. Anyone who does crafts for example, knows how quickly supplies build up and unless there is a system to store them it can be almost impossible to put your hands on just the thing you require at the time you need it.
There was a time I would never have to go out and re buy something that I knew was in the cupboard somewhere but just would not be found, only to have it turn up as soon as the project was finished. Of course this does nor just apply to crafts, work tools in the shed, the top that matches perfectly with those pants, any number of things can hide from us in clutter if we allow it to build up. What we want is to know what we already have and be able to put our finger on it easily when we need it.
How being clutter free keeps the family safe.
It may see silly but clutter can be a safety hazard. Think about great nana trying to navigate past a pile of old newpapers or magazines to make her way to the bathroom, or a young child finding something small on the floor and putting it into their mouths.
When the house is tidy and there are no obstacles or dangerous items lying around the house, the chances of unexpected accidents occurring is a lot lower. Of course there will always be times when things are our of place, but if most of the house is clutter free, we can see those items that need to be managed when special visitors come over and can quickly take steps to reduce any risks.
How being clutter free creates mental space.
Another advantage of a neat and tidy space is that it often frees up our minds and gives us greater capacity to think.
In practice, a friend finds it very difficult to concentrate on anything in her work if the office is crowded with stuff. She spends a short time each day setting things right and finds herself so much more efficient for the rest of the day and able to compute her work with out distractions.
How being clutter free makes it easier to clean.
Lastly, it’s so much easier to keep any house clean if you don’t have to tidy it first. A quick wipe down of the kitchen bench can turn into a marathon task if you can’t actually find the bench because its covered with random objects.
When my children we small, it seemed like a never ending task trying to vacuum and wash the floor. By the time I had picked everything up and vacuumed I was worn out. I had no energy left to actually was the floor and by the time I got around to it, it was inevitably covered with things again.
How do we solve a clutter problem once we know we have it?
There are a number of ways to tackle accumulated clutter in the house and which one you choose will probably depend upon your personality type and the level of the problem. Some people suggest an all at once approach where everything is pulled out onto the floor and gone through in one huge effort. This approach is not for me.
On some days I am energetic and have plenty of time. On these days I might be able to pull out the entire pantry, clean the shelves, throw out the junk and rearrange everything as I put it back in. Other days I am time poor and have little energy to do that. At these times I will simply set my timer for 15 minutes perhaps pop on a bit of music and do a quick out of one small spat in the hosue.
The three step de cluttering system sos de cluttering technique.
This is where my SOS de cluttering technique comes in.
This three step process will make it as easy as possible to complete one de cluttering task each day. Until things are back under control. It will help you decide exactly where to start and what to do when you get there with out telling you that on Tuesday you need to clean out your wardrobe and on Wednesday its time to rearrange the medicine cabinet.
Once you understand the steps, you can use it to make a plan that suits your life style and situation on any given day.
The 3 step SOS decluttering technique explained.
1) Identify the space with in your home.
2) Select an object with in that space.
3) Chose a section of that object with in that space.
Identify a space with in your home.
Firstly it involves selecting a space or room you wish to declutter.
Examples may include the car, garage, shed, kitchen, laundry, bathroom, bedroom, family room, game rooms, essentially any large area that contains clutter.
Select an object with in that space.
Secondly, choose an object or item in the room which contains or hold the clutter you wish to remove.
This can include cupboards, wardrobes, tables, benches, fridges, freezers, car boot, tv cabinet, bed, pantry.
Choose a section of that object with in that space.
Lastly, choose the section of that object by breaking it down into its smallest manageable parts.
For example, in the pantry we have each separate shelf, containers on those shelves and even the floor. Each of these sections can be worked on independently of each other to make the de cluttering task as simple as possible on any given day.
Lets say, for example that we choose the kitchen (space) and the pantry (object) and a pantry has a number of sections. There are all of the shelves, the floor, the different container of items on those shelves. Depending upon the level of clutter and the time available if we try to tackle the entire pantry in the one go, we can become over whelmed burn out and give up.
The SOS system there for directs us to choose one small section of that pantry to tackle each day.
In the SOS technique we simply spend 15 minutes working on the area of our choice.
I like to choose the spot which is causing me the most annoyance and do that one first. We are focusing on the one place until it is all finished, not scattering our selves all over the house, hardly making a noticeable dent in anything.
Using the SOS technique we are creating a snowball effect. The tangible results achieved by using this method create a sense of accomplishment.
Using the 3R method of de cluttering.
There are a couple of very simple steps I recommend to easily de clutter the section of your choice. You will need 3 bags/boxes/containers for the 3 R’s
The meaning is simple here, this is for junk that will go straight into the bin.
Things that you no longer need but are too good to throw away can be donated to good will. I do not recommend trying to have a garage sale or something of that type as this involves keeping clutter around until the event and is really only moving it form one place to another. This will counter the momentum we are trying to build up by seeing the clutter removed from our homes.
We want to get it out of the house as soon as possible for the best effect to be achieved for all of our hard work.
This is for all of the items that you need to keep but are in the wrong place in the house. It’s much easier to collect them all together and relocate in one go at the end, than to be distracted trying to return and item at a time in the middle of the process.
Go through the chosen section and put the items into the appropriate box if there is no place for them in the area you are working on, it doesn’t really matter to me how you organize the things that are left.
Keep your home clutter free with these 4 simple rules.
Possibly the simplest thing to keep in mind are the 4 simple rules. If you follow them, you will be further along the road of having a tidy uncluttered house than 90% of the population.
I have shared alot of information with you here.
Hopefully you will be able to put each of the steps into place and begin the slow and steady transformation of your home into one which feels welcoming, looks fantastic, and feels good to live in.
Remember, it is not a race. Take your time and do it properly. You may feel that in order to begin, you need to be walked through the process step by step for the first week and that’s okay.