Clutter control made easy — the secret art of overcoming chaos
Clutter control can be easy. You just need a plan. And like any good plan, this one comes in small, easy to swallow bites.
That’s the key. When your house is cluttered, you feel overwhelmed with the enormity of putting everything in order. But if you take one area at a time, and learn how to follow four simple steps, you’ll have a neat-as-a-pin home in no time.
Your space and clutter are unique, but the beauty of this plan is how easy it is to customize your organizing decisions and actions.
STEP 1: Cut the Clutter
Remember, the bottom line here is you simply have too many things. The goal is to get rid of some of them. As you attack each space in your home, you're going to go through every item and make a decision to keep, toss, donate, sell, or pass the items on. But exercise some self-discipline and follow purging rules:
- Decide quickly
- Handle items just once
- Set limits
- Pass the "keep" test
- Recognize garbage
STEP 2: Increase Storage
Sometimes you don't really have too much stuff, you just have it all over the place. That, too, is clutter. "Containing" your belongings so they are safe, clean and together is critical.
- Map your space. Plan your new storage based on the amount of things you have left after purging. Don't forget to think vertically — consider tall storage or even storage suspended from the ceiling.
- Shop for containers. That doesn't mean you have to spend a lot of money at a fancy home decor store. You might be surprised where you can find things that can hold other things.
STEP 3: Get Organized
What's the definition of frustration? Knowing you have something, but not being able to find it. Or perhaps it's finally finding something but discovering it's broken, smashed, eaten, mildewed, or otherwise ruined.
- Pack properly. Store everything with like items or zone-similar items, packed appropriately, and then labeled.
- Label. Your labeling system could be a hand-held label machine, computer-compatible versions, or hand-written.
STEP 4: Keep It Clean
Step back and admire your accomplishment. The space is cleared out and organized. Everything is sorted, stacked, ordered, and labeled. The floor is free of clutter. Surfaces are tidy. You feel great, and you love your space.
Now that you have it this way, you want to keep it this way. It's easier than you think, especially since you've already done the hard part.
The secret: Take care of things now. Don’t step over the towels on the bathroom floor. Hang them up or throw them in the washer. Don’t toss mail onto the kitchen counter. Open, sort, trash, and file it as soon as it comes into the house. Procrastination breeds clutter. But if you act on things as they happen, you’ll find your clutter gradually disappearing.
Print our Daily Speed Clean Checklist for the kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom and learn how you can zip through cleaning chores that once took all day. In fact, just a few minutes of speed cleaning a day in these 4 zones can make your home livable again. Learn how to clean smart, not hard.
- FC&A Staff Writer