How I Conquer Clutter in my home.
According to a recent survey, the average American home is over 2600 square feet. Mine is less than half that, especially when you consider that our square footage includes our basement which is a utility basement. It has a washer, dryer, and storage but no livable space. While I love my small home, it can be challenging to keep it neat with two boys and two dogs.
Maybe you’ve noticed that decluttering or purging is something that pops up in lifestyle magazines and TV shows on a regular basis. The truth is, many homes have at least some clutter. While clutter may not be taking over your home, it can still be a nuisance. Here’s how I stay on top of it. For me, I have to, it’s a sanity saver. My brain is cluttered with too many thoughts. I don’t need my visual fields cluttered too.
4 Tips to Getting Rid of Clutter
And let me tell you, it’s a learning process. My Depression-era grandmother raised me. Let me tell you, she threw away nothing. And I mean nothing. Because “you might need it someday.” I mean it, the woman reused aluminum foil and wax paper and washed plastic utensils.
On top of that, I love collecting certain vintage items which makes it hard for me to get rid of things. My basement is still a work in progress, but our upstairs is better organized than before.
Use Transition Times-Every few months, you’re more than likely switching out fall and winter for spring and summer or vice versa. This is a great time to purge your home. As you go through your clothing, purge anything you no longer love. The same goes for home decor. This year I really purged holiday decorations. I also make it a point to go through both my boys’ rooms twice a year-right before their birthday and right before Christmas. Those are times of the year when there is an influx of toys and clothing, and purging beforehand keeps it manageable.
Have limits, set goals and have a system-Decide what your limits are. If the kids have not played with this toy in X amount of months, it goes. If I have not worn this item in X months, it goes. And so on. I have two bins in the basement for consignment sales, one for the fall sale and one for the spring sale. I keep another shopping bag with the bins for Goodwill. When I’m purging, I just quickly evaluate each item: consignment sale, donate, or trash. I know of a decluttering group and they have a “Rule of 20” which is: If I haven’t used it recently and can be replaced in 20 minutes for under $20, it goes.
Getting real with why I wanted to keep items-I held on to our TMNT stuff for far too long. Then, one day I had that epiphany. I wasn’t emotionally attached to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I was attached and wistful for the years that Brian played with that stuff. He played with it as a preschooler and it’s hard to let go of those years. But realizing that, and remembering that I have a ton of photos from that time period, helped me let go. I kept one TMNT shirt that was his favorite, and the rest got sold or donated.
It can be very difficult to ‘get real’ when it comes to heirlooms and family items like that. Still, it’s important to do or you could be overwhelmed and a candidate for the Dr. Phil show on hoarders. I keep jewelry, pictures, anything that my mom made (she was really into ceramics in the 60s and 70s) and anything that is handwritten by the person. I’ve found that to be a good starting point and the rest is on a case-by-case basis. My point is: I don’t keep every little thing from my grandmother’s house “just because it was hers.” Not every single item was important to her. They just happened to be in her home when she died.
You know what else helps? Reminding myself that many families shop at Goodwill, and will be happy to find my item at a great price. We all make purchasing mistakes or fall victim to impulse buys. But keeping it around the house “just because you spent the money on it” doesn’t help. Keeping items that are like-new, just because they are expensive is not a good reason. Also, doing this has helped me become a better spender.
Does it take time to purge your home? Yes. Is it time well spent? Absolutely. If you want to live in a home that is clutter-free and well-organized, you need to take the time to get rid of the items you and your family no longer need.