I had a small bit of a clean out the other day in my living room when I was feeling kind of blue. The rearranged and decluttered, now more minimal and monochromatic accessories lifted my spirits. And if you believe in such things, moving the items around eliminated stagnant pools of bad or stale energy allowing good fresh energy to flow throughout the room, which is what perked me up. Either way it feels good to give a room a bit of a declutter.
Clutter is to "fill with things in a disorderly manner" or "a state of confusion". I think we all know it when we see it. If you struggle with clutter (and really - who doesn't have a little clutter tucked away somewhere?) here are some tips to make clearing it out easier.
- Declutter for 15 minutes every day. It's amazing what you can accomplish in small increments.
- Declutter during TV commercials. You don't need to watch the commercials and want new items. Get up and spend a minute or two decluttering a surface, drawer or basket.
- Don't allow new things in the house in the first place. Whether you’ve begun decluttering, or you’ve just completed it, stop bringing in new stuff NOW. This way, when you do get to decluttering the existing stuff, you’ve already stopped making it worse.
- Use the "one in two out" rule. For serious clutter busting, when you bring in a new item, two items have to leave. A new decorating accessory in - two back to Goodwill.
- Reduce your storage space. If you have lots of storage you can have lots of clutter. Clutter will fill up whatever space you let it. Eliminate extra storage barns, lockers, rented space, etc. and stop it's creeping presence.
- Clothing Rule - if you haven't worn an item in 2 seasons (e.g. last summer and this summer) or it doesn't fit donate it
- Donate the stuff you are decluttering This way you won't feel like you're wasting things. Besides donating can help someone else out and keep things out of the landfills.
- Declutter one room at a time (including desk drawers, closets, etc.) It will feel so good to be in that room that it will help motivate you to keep going.
- Declutter in layers. You won't get all the clutter on your first pass around a room. Start at the door and go around the room. First get the superficial stuff (the surfaces and piles), then open drawers and doors on the next pass around the room. Then when you think you are done, revisit the room in several weeks or months and give it another pass. You'll be amazed at what you now see and are now willing to part with. Decluttering is like housework. You might "finish" but you have to do it again next week because, well, it keeps getting dirty!
- The One-Year Box. Take all your items that you are unsure about getting rid of (e.g. “I might need this someday…”), put them in a box, seal it and date it for 1 year in the future. When the date comes, and you still didn’t need to open it to get anything, donate the box WITHOUT OPENING IT. You probably won’t even remember what there was in the box (don't label the box - that's cheating).
If you want to revisit an early post of mine on the emotional aspects of clutter go here.
How's your clutter? Mild, Medium, Get the Bulldozer? Do tell!