Start Where You Are
Clutter consists of things that are worth saving that haven’t been put away, deposited on top of things that are not worth saving but haven’t been thrown away, which have settled next to things you aren’t sure what to do with. -Jill C. Major
Has weaving your way through clutter become a way of life for you? Do you spend time every day searching for things that you “know” are “somewhere”? Would you like to invite a friend or two over, but have no room for anyone to sit? Are you ready to say goodbye to clutter?
As with any bad habit, the BEST way to prevent clutter is not to start. And, as happens with most bad habits, clutter is easily acquired and spreads throughout our dwellings before we know it. We don’t set out to be surrounded by things; it just seems to happen.
We have been trained to live as “consumers”. People who want to convince us we “need” one of everything have told us:
• You can never have too much of a good thing.
• Product X will make your life easier/happier/the envy of all your friends and neighbors.
• You never want to run out of this.
And all of those must-have products have piled up around us until there’s no space to use them if we wanted to. Our houses look more like storage units than homes. Do you want your home back? Do you want to breathe a sigh of relief instead of dismay when you step in the door? Do you want to conquer clutter?
Where Do I Begin?
While my living space is still not ready for public display, here are three things I have found helpful:
1. Start small.
You want to succeed so just start small. Find a chair, table or desk and start there. I am very guilty of underestimating how long it takes to do something. I find it helpful to set a timer for 10 minutes. Even if I plan to work longer, dividing it into shorter lengths of time keeps me from losing track of time and realizing I should have been in bed 2 hours ago.
2. Start a “clearing zone” area in your home and begin to sort the things there. You will find your
clutter generally fall into 3 categories: Trash, Treasure, To give away or sell category.
- Trash is defined as obvious clutter: remove it first – out of date coupons, weekly flyers from weeks ago, magazines you saved to read “later” and that was six months ago. Put them in your recyclable bin and make sure they are curbside by the end of the week.
- Treasure. Have a box or basket beside you for the things you want to save that do not belong in the zone you are clearing. It’s okay to treasure it a while longer. Also, consider giving it to a dear friend for her to treasure for awhile.
- To give away/sell. Use another box or basket to collect items that aren’t trash, but that you no longer use and want to give away or sell.
3. If you don’t finish an area in one session, that’s okay. It will be more effective if you slowly take small steps toward clearing the clutter. It is a wonder idea to take before and after photos of the areas as you work on them. You may not want to share the pictures with others, but it will give you a sense of pure accomplishment.
If you do choose to share your accomplishments with us, we would love to see the progress you’re making. Do you have any tips or tricks for keeping clutter at bay? Let us hear from you. Simply go to our contact page. Your success may encourage someone else to start where they are.
Here is a fun book that I recommend but buy it only if you promise to pass it on once you get the gist of the author’s message. I don’t want to encourage your clutter.
The best advice I can give you is to begin today.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 – He has made everything beautiful in its time.