Clutter has a way of accumulating. However, clutter doesn’t have to take over. You can eliminate clutter in a few simple steps by following these suggestions:
In order to eliminate clutter, you have to know how, when, and where it originates. Take a day to look around and observe a few things. Keep the following questions in mind:
Where does the most clutter accumulate? Is it in the family room, where all of the kids’ toys litter the floor? Or is it in the entryway, where people tend to drop their bags, boots, mail, and other items when they walk in the door? These are common clutter areas, as well as dining room or kitchen tables, where people do homework and pay bills.
When does clutter seem to get the worst? Is it right after school, when the kids get home? Or is it at the end of the day after dinner when dishes are piled up and homework is strewn everywhere? Note the times when clutter seems the most unmanageable.
What does the clutter consist of? Everyone has a different definition of clutter. Some people don’t consider their children’s toys clutter, while others do. Focus on the things that bother you.
Tackle one problem or area at a time.
It can be overwhelming trying to overhaul your whole house at once. Instead, spend a day or a week implementing new habits for one room at a time. Some suggestions include:
Organize the kids’ toys. One way to solve toy clutter is to keep just one container of toys in a common area, such as a living room or family room, and leave the remainder of them in their rooms. You could also divide toys into four different containers, and the kids should also learn how to clean up after themselves. Make sure they do not start a new game or activity or go to bed before cleaning up their toys. This will greatly reduce clutter.
Tackle your entryway. Entryways are often a spot where clutter tends to accumulate. Keep envelopes for mail and sort it immediately when you get it. If you don’t have a front closet, install hooks or put a coat rack in the door. If your closet itself is cluttered, consider clearing out seasonal items and keeping the closet reserved for things that are only being used.
Encourage everyone to pick up after themselves
It may take awhile before everyone gets the hang of this, but encourage kids as well as adults in the house to pick up after themselves. This means that backpacks, shoes, keys, purses, and so forth should not be dropped anywhere. Everything should have a place. It may take repeated reminders, but eventually everyone will understand they need to put things away instead of tossing them just anywhere.
Decide what you can live without.
Clutter often comes from being a packrat. Make an honest assessment before you stuff a coupon in a drawer or save a knickknack. Are you honestly going to use it before the expiration date, or is it going to pile up with all the other coupons and items you save.
When it comes to kids’ artwork or papers, many parents can’t bring themselves to throw them away. In that case, keep artwork and papers in 3-ring binders.
These few simple steps will get you on your way to eliminating clutter.