The stack of mail in the corner that you know needs to be sorted.
The pile of laundry falling off the chair beside your bed.
The toys all over your house that you keep tripping over.
Those strange lamps your aunt gave you that you feel guilty about getting rid of.
It’s easy to feel like your house is a total disaster, especially if your life is very busy.
Fortunately, there is help for those who feel like their clutter is falling in on them.
Minimalism is very popular and with good reason. Many people are recognizing that the more things they accumulate, the more difficult it is to stay organized. With today’s busy lifestyle, taking the time to dust all the knick-knacks on the shelf is not an option.
Becoming organized is also about finding a place for all the belongings you have, and loving the things you have in your house. It’s about clearing out the mental, emotional, and even digital clutter from your life.
If you’re serious about decluttering and staying organized, here are some quick facts about clutter and 10 tips you can use to get your life in order.
Why is it Important to Declutter?
With the craze to declutter the house or workplace, you may be wondering if it’s actually worth all the hype.
Is Marie Kondo really on to something, or is it just a fad? Is an organized space truly helpful? As it turns out, clearing out the clutter and keeping an organized place can offer a LOT of benefits.
Here are 4 good reasons to declutter and start organizing.
1. You’ll Have More Space to Move Around
This may seem obvious, but one of the biggest perks to decluttering is simply to have more room! No one likes feeling like they’re crammed in with a lot of junk.
A common solution is to move to a bigger place, but you don’t have to! You can grow your living space without paying a higher price tag for more square footage.
Fewer things = more open square footage.
2. You Could Turn Your Junk Into Cash
If you’re planning on downsizing your belongings, you might be happy to learn you can make a little money back.
There are a lot of options for turning your discarded options into cash. You can have a yard sale, post it on your local Facebook flea market page, or list it on Craigslist. Of course, there are online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, or Etsy too.
There are even apps for selling your things like Decluttr, LetGo, and Cash4Books.
3. It’s Easier to Clean When Things are Organized
Another perk of a decluttered house is that it’s easier to clean! With fewer items to dust, and fewer objects to move around, it’s a LOT simpler to clean.
That means you’re spending less time tidying and more time enjoying your home.
4. Clutter Causes Stress
Believe it or not, it’s been proven that a messy cluttered place can cause you a lot of stress.
The New York Times cites a 2010 study in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology saying,
“The wives in the study who perceived themselves as having a cluttered home or a home that needed work tended to have increased levels of cortisol throughout the day. Those who weren’t feeling cluttered, which included most of the men in the study, had cortisol levels that tended to drop during the day.”
In a 2017 TedTalk, Kerry Thomas describes people’s relationship with clutter. She uses words like
“overwhelmed” and “ashamed” in association with disorganization and clutter. She goes on to explain that she once had a client who even felt “paralyzed.”
A house that is overloaded with belongings — especially ones that don’t really have a place — can certainly lead to a lot of negative emotions.
However, stress and anxiety don’t have to reign in your home. If you’re struggling with the pain of clutter, here are ten tips to get you on the right path.
10 Tips for Decluttering and Organizing Your Home
1. Declutter Before You Organize
Physical clutter leads to mental clutter. Before you can start organizing your home, it’s a good idea to purge first.
Chances are there are a lot of things in your house that you just don’t use that often. Perhaps you have keepsakes that you hold on to even though they no longer have a purpose. It’s likely that you have clothes in your closet that you never wear, and dishes in your kitchen that are never used.
Find these items in your home and sell, give away, or donate. It’s a totally freeing experience!
2. Declutter One Area at a Time
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to declutter one area at a time. If you try to declutter the whole house in one day, you’ll quickly become overwhelmed and want to quit.
When you’re deciding on the first place to start, try to pick a focus area. Choose an area of the house that you use every day like the kitchen or living room. When you’re finished, you’ll get a little boost every time you see your progress. That thrilling feeling will help you move on to the next project.
3. Only Keep Things You Really Love, Want, or Need
Decluttering and minimalism aren’t just about getting rid of everything you own and living like a Spartan. It’s about parting with things that no longer make you happy.
If it’s something you don’t like, want, or need — pass it on.
4. Periodically Remove Things that Are No Longer Useful
It’s really helpful to do one big purge in your house to get rid of many unnecessary things. But don’t forget to do maintenance purging along the way.
It’s amazing how quickly your house can return to its original state of you don’t continue to remove useless or unwanted items.
5. Don’t Buy Things You Don’t Want or Need
One trap people often fall into when decluttering their house is to fill their empty spaces with new things. If there’s something you really want or need it’s absolutely okay to bring it into your home.
Things that you love can really bring joy and warmth to your space.
However, avoid buying things that you purchase just because it’s on clearance or because you feel obligated. It’s okay to pass on things even if they’re a really good price.
6. A Place for Everything, and Everything in Its Place
The old saying holds a lot of truth: A place for everything, and everything in its place.
One of the best methods for staying organized is to have a place to put all of your belongings. Often things become disorderly when they don’t have a home.
For example, if your clothes don’t fit into your drawers there’s a good chance they’ll be on the floor or on your bed. That’s a frustrating way to live, so make sure that all of your clothes actually fit into your dressers and closets. If not, it might be time to toss some into the donate pile.
7. Keep Similar Items Together
When you’re organizing your home, try to keep like items together.
For example, keep all your toiletries in one place, have a specific place for linens, and choose a designated place in the kitchen for all your canned goods.
With this system you’ll always know where things are, and it’ll be much easier to return items that are out of place.
8. Give Your Kids An Easy Way to Put Away Their Toys
If you have kids, it can be a nightmare to try to keep their belongings organized.
One way to solve this is to give them an easy way to clean up their own toys. Choose fun bins or baskets that they can easily return toys to. To make things even easier, you can label the bins so they know exactly where each lego, doll, or crayon should go.
Open bins also make it much quicker for kids to clean up after themselves which will make them more likely to want to help out in the future.
9. Use Four Methods for Organizing Your Mail
Almost every day of the week you receive mail. Some of it is important and some of it definitely isn’t. Instead of leaving it all sitting on your kitchen island, give each type of mail a proper home. Generally, there are four categories of mail:
- Action Mail – Action mail is any kind of mail that requires an action from you. This is most likely going to be a bill that you have to pay. Put this in a specific place that’s easy to see when it comes time to pay the bills.
- Junk Mail – When the junk mail comes in, get rid of it right away. Throw in the trash or recycling bin, but don’t keep it on your counter.
- Shredding Mail – If your mail is sensitive but needs to be discarded, run it through the shredder.
- Filing Mail – Some of your mail needs to be kept for a longer period of time. For those important documents, create a filing system. Just remember to go through it from time to time to remove mail that has become irrelevant.
10. Don’t Forget Your Digital Items
We live in an age where we spend a LOT of time on our phones, tablets, and computers. Don’t forget to keep those places organized too.
If you upload photos to your computer, make a folder with a memorable label. If your inbox is overflowing you can always unsubscribe to emails that you no longer want to receive. You can also delete junk mail as it comes in so you don’t end up with 10,000 unopened emails.
You Don’t Have to Be a Prisoner of Your Things
The things you have in your home, office, or car are meant to be useful or beautiful. They should inspire you, offer practical help, or make you happy.
Don’t be afraid to pass on things that you don’t really want. You don’t need to feel guilty for giving away something that you don’t want anymore — even if it has sentimental value.
Once you’ve taken the time to remove those items, give the rest of your belongings a place. When you’re finished using something, put it back where it belongs.
These simple tips are a fantastic foundation for a clutter-free life.