According to the Merriam-webster Dictionary to clutter (verb) means to fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness.
For some people, it's simply a matter of not keeping tidy and organized. For others, it's not knowing how to organize. And then there are those who simply like to collect and hold onto stuff for no significant reason. Just the made-up ones we convince ourselves are valid. This is the category I fell into.
I didn't realize how much clutter I had until I was planning to move in with my husband after marriage. My husband and I had to combine two houses full of furniture, clothes, books, tools, small appliances, bric-à-brac, and dishes.
I still can't believe how many topless plastic containers I had collected over the years! Did I mention I had three days to pack up my apartment for a 950-mile move? It wasn't an easy task, but I learned a lot about myself and my decision-making process.
Do the piles of clutter in your home overwhelm you? Do you want to have a clean home but you honestly do not know where to start the clean-up process? It is time to create a decluttering strategy.
1. Why Declutter Your Home?
Here are my top reasons I decided to declutter my home
Improved mental clarity and reduced stress levels
Decluttering and organizing your living space can have a profound impact on your mental clarity and stress levels.
When our surroundings are cluttered and disorganized, it can create a feeling of chaos in our minds. This can lead to increased stress levels, difficulty concentrating, and even depression.
However, by taking the time to declutter and organize, we can create an environment that is calming and conducive to clear thinking.
When you begin the process of decluttering, it's important to start small. Choose one area of your home or workspace that feels particularly overwhelming and focus on that first. Begin by removing everything from the space so that you can see what you're working with. Then, sort through each item one by one, deciding whether to keep it or get rid of it.
More efficient use of living space
As we try to make the most out of our living spaces, it's time to get rid of all those things that are taking up valuable real estate. Not only will decluttering help you create more space, but it will also make your home look and feel more organized.
When you start decluttering your home, it may seem daunting at first. But trust me when I say that once you get started, you'll begin to feel a sense of liberation.
You'll be amazed by how much stuff you've accumulated over the years that no longer serve any purpose in your life. And once those items are gone, you'll have so much more room for the things that truly matter to you.
Increased productivity in daily tasks
It can be hard to focus on daily tasks when your space is filled with piles of papers, clothes, and other miscellaneous items.
Getting rid of clutter can increase your productivity.
Creating a system and assigning designated spots for paperwork, toys, clothes, and anything else that tends to pile up around your home or office, will free up physical and mental space.
The ability to donate or sell unwanted items and help others in need
Donating or selling items brings great rewards. Not only will you free up space and create a more organized home environment, but you'll also have the opportunity to help others in need. By donating or selling unwanted items, you can make a difference in someone else’s life.
Many charities and organizations accept donations of clothing, household goods, and even furniture. Not only will you be helping someone who is less fortunate than yourself, but you’ll also be helping the environment by keeping these items out of landfills.
Don't forget about local schools, libraries, foster care programs, senior centers, shelters, or community centers – they may have programs that could benefit from your donations as well.
Reduced risk of accidents or injuries due to cluttered areas
Have you ever frantically scrambled to remove clutter for fear of someone stepping on a toy and cutting their foot or falling and hitting their head or the corner of the table? It's not a relaxing way to receive guests into your home.
One of the key benefits of decluttering is that it creates more space in your home. When there is less stuff around, there's less chance of tripping over misplaced objects or bumping into furniture that's too close together.
Cleaning regularly also helps remove dust and allergens that can cause health issues like respiratory problems or allergies.
Organizing your belongings in designated places makes it easier to find what you need while keeping dangerous items out of reach from children or pets.
2. Identify Your Clutter Triggers
First and foremost, identify your clutter triggers. What makes you start collecting stuff in the first place? Is it because you're sad and want something to take your mind off of things? Or is it because you're excited and want to show off your new collection to everyone? Maybe you're nervous and think that if you have more stuff, you'll be better prepared for anything that comes your way.
Indecisiveness may cause you to start collecting things because you can't make up your mind about what you want. You see something you like and buy it, even if you don't really need it. If you're impulsive, you may start collecting things on a whim.
I was guilty of grabbing a cute notebook or two while I was in line at TJ Maxx, even though I didn't need them. The excuse I made to myself was that I could give them away as gifts, which of course never happened.
So once again, what makes you collect things? Only you can answer that question.
Once you know what sets you off, you can begin to change the way you respond to those situations.
3. Don't Make Excuses for Why You Should Wait
I know it can be hard to get rid of things that are in good condition, or we believe we can use some day, so let me tell you a little story.
A friend of mine had been paying $90 per month for a storage unit over a 10-year period. He was holding onto the "stuff" just in case he needed it and some of it he was saving to give to other people.
One day the storage company called him and said they were raising the price, so he finally decided to clean it out. When he opened the storage unit, most of the stuff had dry rotted, was way out of date, or had been destroyed by rats that had somehow gotten into the unit.
The items that were worth saving barely filled the back of his pickup truck. It took him 10 years and over $10k to realize these precious items were nothing more than clutter.
4. Set Some Decluttering Goals
Walk through your home with new eyes. In fact, some organizers recommend that you enter your house, going room by room, and making a list of everything you want to change. Before you start doing anything, take a close look at the list.
Which room or space irritates you the most? Prioritize each area you want to clean based on this list.
Rather than trying to tackle an entire room, start with one small area. Focus on that one area - whether it is a counter, a dresser drawer, or a bookshelf.
Completely clear everything from the area and then go through each item, choosing whether to save it, donate or give it away, or throw it away. As you find items you want to keep, put them back until everything is back in its place.
When you step back and see the cleared space, you will feel a sense of satisfaction and may feel new energy to move forward.
You may be tempted to start on the next item on the list, but it would be better to wait. Give yourself a couple of days to a week to get used to having the area clean and see how you do keeping the area clutter-free.
Your goal is to develop the new habit of keeping this one area cleared. When you feel secure in keeping this one area clear, it is time to move to the next priority item on your list.
5. How to Move to Your Next Area
The next step is to work on another small area. You may want to have a decluttering spree, but bear in mind that doing too much too soon can wear you out.
Instead, plan to spend a minimum of 15 minutes a day cleaning. If you can schedule more time, an hour or two each week would be fantastic.
Follow the list of prioritized items and mark the time on your calendar. Guard the time like you would a doctor’s appointment to be sure you declutter each week.
Once you have gotten your own clutter under control, it is time to enlist the help of your family. Develop a chore chart for everyone in the family so you are not the only one cleaning.
You may be the only one decluttering but it only makes sense for everyone in the family to be involved in general housekeeping. It also helps to develop a routine.
As you go through clutter, whether on your own or with your family’s help, remember the importance of not only cleaning but also getting rid of items that you no longer need.
You may want to put a “give away” box in each room. When you find an unwanted or unneeded item, place it into the box. Once the box is full, immediately take it to the car and donate it to a charity like Salvation Army or Goodwill. Perhaps someone else will need it.
You may feel like it is taking forever to clear the clutter, but it took more than a day or two to amass it. It will take time to get your home back in order, but once you do, you will be more likely to use the new skills you have learned and keep the clutter from coming back.
To help get you started, sign up for my free 30-Day Declutter Challenge printable today and finally experience the freedom and peace of mind you've been longing for. Say goodbye to stress and hello to a clutter-free life in just one month!
Don't wait any longer, sign up now and transform your space!