If your house is cluttered with junk, you will probably find that you have absolutely no time to enjoy hobbies. I know that I have a hard time sitting back to read a book, work on a fabric project or make crafts with the kids when I have dirty dishes in the sink or I can’t see the counter because of last week’s mail. I am always going through all our closets and stashes of stuff to see what is important. Here are a few things I am learning about how to conquer clutter.
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9 Tips to Help Conquer Clutter
Stuff reproduces when you turn your back
I am convinced that the stuffed animals in the pet net and the toys in the closet actually multiply when you aren’t looking. How in the world do kids end up with more stuffed animals than you intended? A few month ago when we started going through the kid’s room, we started pulling out the animals that have no emotional attachment and donated them to Goodwill or Salvation Army. There are other toys that the kids have outgrown but they are still special. Some of those items have gone into long term storage boxes so we can go through them in a few years to see whether we have changed our opinions.
Always replace; don’t add
Some people have a rule that if one thing new comes into the house, then one thing old goes out. It’s a tough thing to put into practice but makes a lot of sense. If something breaks, doesn’t work right, or no longer has special significance, then replace it. But don’t make the mistake of keeping the old one when you don’t need it.
Touch mail once
When mail comes into the house, sort it out immediately. Most of the mail is probably junk and should be recycled or trashed. But things that are important should go to their home as soon as possible. Coupons that come in the mail go straight to my coupon basket. Bills go in my ‘to be paid’ cabinet spot and junk mail is discarded. If I leave it on the counter, I end up with a huge mound of papers, and inevitably something gets lost or overlooked.
Pick one clutter spot to tackle each day
There is no way you can conquer clutter in one day. So just pick one spot each day to clean and get it finished. When our house gets cluttered and messy, I start in the farthest corner and clean forward. I love the feeling of looking behind me and seeing the clean finished path.
Start at the Beginning
If you don’t know where to start and feel overwhelmed with the mess, just start at the beginning. It’s just like the classic song from Sound of Music says ‘just start at the very beginning’. Experts know that you just have to jump in and get started somewhere. Take a look at one place in your house that you see when you first come in the front door and get started.
Don’t Keep Junk
If you don’t like something, get rid of it so you don’t have to clean it again next time. There’s no reason to keep something you don’t love or use!
Do the big stuff first. If the bed is made and the blankets are neat, their room already looks halfway done. Start with the biggest thing in the room so you can see fast progress!
We call it a blitz in our house. Everyone pitches in and blitzes the house. If everyone jumps in at the same time, the house can be transformed quickly.
Set a Timer
Set a timer and work hard for 15 minutes. That way you know you don’t have to spend your whole day working. This is also a great way to get the family involved. If they know that you are working for a limited amount of time, everyone will be more willing to work hard!
What are your best tips for conquering clutter? I’d love to hear!