Sometimes a house isn’t as dirty as it is cluttered. Unneeded objects or items we simply don’t know where to store or that get brought from one area of the house to another and not put away can quickly accumulate and overtake a home. Jackets get left over chairs, toys pile up, mail to be tackled covers our counters or dining table, shoes, backpacks, pens, books, homework, laundry…over time it is easy for this to go on and on. De-cluttering is overwhelming and the easiest chore to procrastinate. Problem is, even after a house cleaning, it is hard to get satisfaction and feel clean in your home if it is cluttered. Learning how to de-clutter your home and regain the space will bring extraordinary satisfaction, peace, beauty and a true sense of clean in the home. Psychologically, order creates a sense of clean and calm so no matter how much you scrub your bathrooms or degrease your kitchen, if you do not get a handle on the clutter, it isn’t ever going to feel clean. As a professional in the cleaning industry, it was key for us to help clients get a handle on this aspect of beautifying their homes and these tricks have really been helpful for those clients over the years. This chore will never get done if you try to pick up one thing at a time and put it away. You will maybe get to item 3 or 4 before you get sidetracked and overwhelmed. Try the system outlined below and let us know how it goes!
- First step: Grab a laundry basket and walk each area of the home picking up items that are out of place and put them in the basket. Don’t get sidetracked, don’t think twice, just do it. This is a quick walk through every area of the home grabbing things that do not belong and putting them into the basket. Over-thinking is the enemy of de-cluttering: If it doesn’t belong there, put it in the basket. Once this is finished you can take your time putting these items away so take heart and don’t get anxious. This step likely takes less than 15 minutes if done right and viola: Your house is now free of clutter. Next step is to put those things away.
- Now that you have all the clutter in your basket, sit down with the basket and go through each item one at a time. This is not more than a 10 minute step: Consider whether an item is truly needed. If it isn’t known when it was last used, or when it might be used again, consider tossing it out or donating it. Remember – if it looks like junk, feels like junk, and nobody knows what to do with it, it’s junk. Grab a trash bag and label it “donations” and another bag for trash. Sort everything from the basket into the bag that it should go. You will be amazed how much stuff is trash: Junk mail that has piled up, broken toys and other items you have kept telling yourself you would fix or make use of- toss them or donate them. If they have been sitting around cluttering up your beautiful home this long without use, they are junk! There is a tremendous sense of freedom you will get when you detach yourself from clutter-chaos. Now, the items that are not junk or trash should be all that is left in your basket and you can move on to the next step.
- Don’t rush this next step because it is the step that returns order from the clutter! At your own pace move from room to room putting items that belong there away. Do not let yourself get anxious or hurry this process or you will end up with baskets of stuff around the house or items not put away rather than a decluttered home. If you run out of time, no problem: Put the basket in the back of the closet or in the garage and resume your declutter process when you have a few extra minutes. (Note: You must be highly disciplined and make sure you come back to the basket-o-stuff or now you will end up with baskets of stuff everywhere and a new bigger problem to solve!). Once this step is completed, not only is the home instantly de-cluttered, but things are where they belong and there will be no more “Mom/Dad! Where is my black jacket,” “Honey! I can’t find the tape measure…” or “Mom/Dad! Where is my text book!”
- Moving forward: Make sure whenever an object is done being used, it is put away. It is helpful if the family learns to follow this rule as well so you are not having to repeat this every week. Take some time to get the rest of the family on board with your new process. It is a bad habit to not put things away and there is no reason that bad habit cannot be turned around. In the beginning, this will mean you have to catch family members leaving things laying around and instruct them to “uh, uh, uh…where does that go”. Keep after this for a week or so and pretty soon you won’t have to say anything anymore! If you get resistance, then use the basket method again but this time, do not put those family member’s items where they go: Put the basket in the closet and next time they scream “Mooooom/Daaaaaad! Where is….” You can just shrug your shoulders and let the natural consequence be their teacher!