10 Tips to Tackle Clutter

10 Tips to Tackle Clutter

During the height of the COVID pandemic, many of us passed the time with online shopping. Now that we’re starting to venture out and do more, we’re looking around our homes wondering, where did all this stuff come from? If you’re like many people, you realize that you probably don’t need ten Ninja Foodies, three juicers, or half of the workout equipment you bought but don't use.

Some things you probably do want to hang on to. Perhaps you’ve run out of room and are drowning in the chaos of stuff. Here are 10 tips to help you tame the clutter monster in your house.

Take Baby Steps

Yes, it’s tempting to start throwing everything out and jumping headfirst into the mayhem. After all, you want an organized house, and you want it now. Trying to do it all at once is a surefire way to get overwhelmed and burn out before you barely begin.

Instead, take baby steps and set mini-goals for one area or set of items at a time. You might concentrate on your bedroom closet or one area of your laundry room or inside your fridge (how long has that been in there?). Don’t start on a new task until you’ve completed the first one.

Pace Yourself

Even when you’ve broken your organization overhaul into small, manageable chunks, you can run out of steam if you try to complete tasks in unreasonable amounts of time. Choose your project, then divide it into small time chunks. Take frequent breaks, and set a timer if you need to so that you stay on track and don’t get sucked into an organizing abyss. Look at EVERYTHING

Don’t assume anything when it comes to the stuff in your house. Things have an uncanny way of multiplying in secret, and before you know it, you’ve got 10 of the exact same pair of yoga pants. If you’re working in a particular place, pull everything out of it, down to the smallest of items.

If you’ve decided to organize by item, say all of your clothes or all of your kitchen supplies, then bring out each and every one of those items. The point is to assess precisely what you have so you know exactly what you need to let go of.

Gather Like Items Together

Once you’re looking at everything, it’s time to break the big pile into more specialized categories. For example, if you’re organizing your kitchen items, place all of the serving trays together, all of the utensils in another pile, and all of the dishtowels and linens in yet another heap. You get the idea. This more detailed and precise look at what you have will help you make more informed decisions about what you should toss, donate, and keep.

Be Realistic and Honest

When making decisions about what should stay and what should go, don’t play games with yourself. You know the ones; telling yourself you’ll fit it in one day or you’ll make that soufflée one day, etc.

Anything can happen one day, but you want to be comfortable in your home today. If you really have an honest goal for an item, then put a deadline on it. If you haven’t used it by that deadline, it needs to go.

Recruit Help

If you find yourself struggling with letting go of things, recruit the help of someone you trust who can offer an unbiased eye. For example, your friend who won’t bat an eye telling you a dress makes you look 20 years older. Plus, decluttering with a buddy can help make the whole process more fun and less daunting.

Go Digital

Paper accounts for a huge chunk of most clutter in people’s homes. It’s astounding the number of receipts, old files, and outdated documents we hold on to thinking they’re important. While some records are critical, you don’t have to hold on to every piece of paper.

And in many cases, you can opt for digital versions instead, especially for things like bills and bank statements. Simply file them away digitally and print them if you ever need a hard copy.

Organize for What You Have

Many people make the mistake of starting their organizing and decluttering process backward. They go out and buy a bunch of fun bins and baskets that undoubtedly look beautiful and useful, then try to make all of their stuff fit into these containers. The problem is, this doesn’t work.

You end up wasting a lot of time and money on things you can’t use, or you end up with a storage system that ultimately doesn’t work well for you. Instead, go through all of the above steps first, and don’t decide on your storage solutions until you know exactly what you have to store.

Function Over Fashion

When it comes to choosing your storage solutions, while pretty is nice, function is vital. If your organization system doesn’t work well for you and your lifestyle, you’ll end up right back where you started.

So, choose items that work within your space, and fit your personality and how you do things. Besides, there are so many options out there nowadays that you can find something functional and aesthetically appealing. Follow the One-In, One-Out Rule

Once you’ve tamed the clutter, keep it at bay with the one in, one out rule. Quite simply, if you get a new pair of shoes, say goodbye to another pair. This little tip can help you from losing control of your stuff. At the very least, it will make future organizing sessions much easier to deal with (and they’ll take up less time, too).

Article courtesy of Coldwell Banker Hearthside, July 2021

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See Annette’s articles on related real estate topics. If you’re planning to buy or sell a home, contact Annette at (610) 247-7892 or annette@preferredhomes.com

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