Making Your Home Clutter-Free

by Sheila

Clutter is the enemy of so many people - they just don't realize it! Often, your home is not messy, just filled with clutter.

What Is Clutter?

Clutter is all that "stuff". You know what I mean - all those items that you don't love completely but still have lying around your house. Pots and pans you never use, ugly figurines given to you by an aunt, clothes that no longer fit.

There are a number of reasons why most of us have clutter in our lives. The most common reason is because we can't be bothered to get rid of it, and it just piles out.

Another reason is the "Just In Case" syndrome - what if you need that purple fuzzy sweater or broken umbrella one day?

Yet another reasons is having emotional connection to the items - for instance, those tops that no longer fit you were your favorites when you were in college.

Recognizing The Negative Impact Of Clutter

Until I started reading blogs about minimalism, I never realized how harmful clutter can be.

First of all, clutter hurts us visually. It's so much more calming to be in a home where every item is loved and wanted, rather than in a home where things have just piled up. And of course, a cluttered house is a messy house - you can't organize clutter.

Clutter means that it's harder to find what you need - which ironically means that you buy more things, because you can't find the item you're looking for.

And of course, clutter means that you a harder time cleaning and trying to put things away. Plus you waste money on a larger house, storage solutions, etc that aren't needed if you just get rid of the clutter.

Breaking The Emotional Need For Clutter

The first step to getting rid of clutter is confront the emotional needs you have for clutter.

This means, acknowledging the fact that your memories will always be precious, and you will have them mentally and in the forms of other mementos - you don't need to keep every single item that reminds you of a happy time in your life. Surely you would still remember the happy times when you and your partner first started dating, without having to keep that dress you wore on a few dates, which is now faded and ill-fitting? The same goes for all the other items that are "memorable".

You also need to acknowledge the costs of clutter - which means that you shouldn't keep unloved and unused items "just in case".

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Getting Rid Of Clutter

The process of getting rid of clutter is simple.

I like to collect my possessions in two bags.

The first bag is for items I shouldn't have around the house. In this bag, you should put in everything that is unloved, unwanted, unusable and broken. This means things like torn clothing, broken knick knacks, chipped glasses that you don't use, etc.

Put this bag in your car immediately - drop it off to a donation center. Please don't make things difficult for yourself by planning to auction things off, I've found that uncluttering is much easier when you just get rid of things immediately.

The second bag is for items I'm unsure about. In this bag, put clothes that don't fit but that "might" if you lose weight... You can also put items with "emotional significance" here if you're really unsure about them.

When sorting through things, be honest with yourself. Do you really need everything, will it ever fit, or do you have to keep it for emotional value?

The Red Carpet Rule

When trying to decide if something should stay or go, think of your house as an exclusive nightclub. Only items that are fabulous, that you absolutely love, should stay in your home. Each and every thing in your home should be well-loved and used.

Organize

Now that you've rid your home of clutter, you'll find a lot of free space. Organize everything into suitable places, and buy some storage solutions to keep small items together.

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Updated: 03/14/2012, Sheila
 
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