Despite your best efforts to keep your house clean and tidy, clutter continues to exist. Sometimes, due to frustration and a busy schedule, it’s easier to tuck away and forget about that pile of mess than to tidy it up.
But just because you were able to safely keep all that clutter out of sight doesn’t mean your home is spic and span. When you continue to hoard and hide that mess in your house, it will soon become unmanageable.
What it means to declutter
Decluttering is a cleaning process wherein you get rid of things you no longer need and that have no value.
It also means removing unnecessary items from a messy place and organizing them. By decluttering your home, you remove unwanted stuff from your life and create a space for better, useful things.
Below are some decluttering benefits to motivate you to tidy up.
- The more you develop the habit of assessing the value of things, the lesser attachment you will have for material things.
- When you declutter, you realize the things you already have and start evaluating future buys more carefully. This can also ultimately save you money.
- You will spend less time during cleaning and dusting without a pile of clutter blocking your way.
- You will have an idea of where your things are, and find your stuff more quickly and easily.
Trashing, selling or giving away things that you no longer use will make your life simpler. Before it gets any worse, start solving that “mess” problem now.
Where to begin
When standing amidst your stockpile, it can be quite challenging to find a good place to start. Often, that discouraging pile of mess makes you want to just give up on the idea of being tidy. Don’t dwell on negativity, strengthen your resolve instead to maintain a clean and orderly home.
To get a good start in decluttering, follow these easy tips.
1. Find a small doable clutter problem
Do things one at a time. Adjust your vision from the stock of clutter and zero in on one relatively smaller mess. Either you declutter one counter or clean one shelf. This way, you won’t build up frustration, and you’ll be happy with your little success by tidying things bit by bit.
Your small successes will motivate and prepare you for the long haul. So when you feel yourself starting to decline and falling back into old bad habits, go back to that clean space to remind yourself of your goal, which is to declutter.
2. Make steady progress
To counter the clutter that has been increasing over time, you must also develop gradual cleaning and organizing habits. Sooner or later, boxes will fill up and stuff will pile up until your household clutter becomes intolerable.
The solution to clutter will take time and it has to be an established routine. For someone who’s always busy, a professional housekeeping company can help you make steady progress on your clutter problem. Decluttering doesn’t involve shortcuts. It’s either you do it yourself or you enlist help from a professional service.
3. Build good habits
Developing good habits will cut down your tendency to accumulate clutter. When you
return home, for example, immediately hang your car keys on their designated hook. This will prevent things from getting misplaced and encourage you to keep clutter at bay.
Got new mail? Don’t slump down in a chair and directly sort your mail over a trash bin. Dump junk mails then file the remaining important ones into their designated storage. Once you adopt good habits, you’ll be mindlessly staying clutter-free.
4. Allocate storage for household items
The major sources of clutter are those items like toys, mail or newspapers that don’t have an assigned storage space. Without proper storage, they’ll wander around your house and eventually build up into clutter.
Establish a good space for specific items. You can fold those newspapers and stack them under a coffee table. Allocating proper storage for your household items will prevent clutter from building up.
5. Schedule a time to declutter
Spending even just 15 minutes for decluttering is already a good start. If you have the luxury of time, you can schedule at least two to four hours once a week for organizing and cleaning your home. Once you have a timetable set, it will be easier to make your goal of organizing your household into reality.
6. Assign a clutter storage area
Clutter happens and is part of day-to-day living. Don’t frustrate yourself every time clutter builds up. Instead, accept reality and assign a dedicated clutter area. Look at it like a wildlife preserve where your clutter can lie around freely.
A kitchen drawer can contain various items like rubber bands, vitamin bottles and receipts so long as they stay within the boundaries, you should be fine. Kids may also have their own basket where they can place stray playthings. This way, you can control the clutter within a specific area and prevent it from wandering off to other places.
However, you will still need to allocate some time later to sort your miscellaneous clutter section to prevent it from overflowing.
7. Adopt the one-in, one-out rule
This rule suggests that when you buy a new shirt or any item, an old item similar to the new one should either be thrown away, donated or recycled. Abiding by this rule keeps your stuff under the “clutter point” since you get to regulate the total quantity of similar stuff.
The one-in, one-out rule can also save you money. By selling off some items you no longer use, you can have some cash on hand.
You can outsource resources to reduce the number of things that enter your home. For example, if there’s no real need to buy them, rent or borrow tools for home repair or other projects. Borrow DVDs or books from a video rental store or from the library.
The less stuff you bring into your home, the fewer the chances for clutter to build up.
9. Start the change within yourself
In a family setting, clutter piles up for a number of reasons. Grown-ups read newspapers and use personal items, then abandon them. Children, on the other hand, accumulate art materials and playthings. Overall, the root cause is a poor housekeeping routine.
Even if you lay down the clutter law by calling a family meeting, your efforts may still fail. Instead, build motivation in your family by mastering your own clutter problems first. From there, you can then move on to involving the remainder of your family. Demonstrate a successful change within yourself to help you help others make a good clutter-free start.
Decluttering is no simple task. If everyone in the home dumps things in inappropriate places, clutter will continue to prevail. To conquer clutter, focus on regular decluttering and developing the habit of putting things in their rightful place.
Mohamed Samad is the Founder & CEO of Matic Services. He started the company in 2016 after a series of small start-ups within the home services sector. Prior to that, Mohamed was Vice President at Greenstone Equity Partners, where he spent 24 months building the UAE business from 2011-2013 with its founder.