By Suzanne Haze
Ever notice how purging clutter is the first agenda item on home makeover shows? If you are getting ready to redecorate or make simple changes to your space there is ONE crucial step to make first. Before you paint, before you refurnish, before you bring one cute-must have decorating item into your home - you have to get rid of the clutter. If you skip this step, your new paint, furniture and must haves will be lost in the sea of your possessions.
What is clutter?
Clutter is a confused collection of ‘stuff’, including things you do not use or enjoy, in a disorderly state. Clutter adds stress to your life. It keeps you from being organized, wasting your time and space.
Your physical, emotional and mental health is directly impacted by your environment. If you can’t unwind at home and have to go to a spa to relax, clutter is most likely the culprit.
Americans are notorious for acquiring ‘stuff’. We spend weekends at the mall shopping for clothes and house wares. As everything goes in and nothing goes out, your home becomes constipated.
Clutter is Expensive
Have you been thinking about moving as your home bursts at the seams? Are you paying rent on a storage space for things you haven’t touched in years? By culling through your existing stuff it is possible to free up precious closet, shelf and storage space. You may realize that you don’t need a bigger home after all. That’s a hefty financial bullet dodged.
Having a clutter free home allows you to know what you have. Nothing is more irritating than going out and buying black shoe polish then finding four bottles of it in a drawer the following week.
Getting rid of clutter takes time. If you attempt to sort through everything at once you will be overwhelmed. Do it in phases.
Take one room at a time and start with what is seen. Look at each item in that room and ask yourself:
- Do I really need this?
- Do I really want this?
- Am I going to be upset if I get rid of it?
- What is the worst that can happen if I give it away?
Your home is an environment you control – not your Aunt Beatrice who gave you the crotched toilet paper cover. Bag it up and send it off.
Take a look at the things that you bought for yourself. Have you grown out of your unicorns and whale phase? If so, off to the thrift store with them!
Once you have gone through what is seen in each room, move onto what is unseen - your closets. Go through the same process. The rule of thumb for closets is, if you haven’t used it or worn it in over a year – get rid of it. The little black dress is one of a few exceptions.
There are two enormous benefits to getting rid of clutter. Your keys stop disappearing and you eliminate much of your housework. As you streamline your home you will become more organized, thus being able to find those mischievous keys. Also, with less ‘stuff’ to shift, dust and file you will be able to clean in half the time.
The key to keeping your home clutter free is diligence. The minute you bring in the mail, go through it and toss what you do not need to keep. If you purchase a new item, see if you can get rid of something you already have. Clutter is sly - go through your home once a week and see if any sneaked in while you weren’t looking.
There is a strong possibility that once you declutter, you will realize that you don’t need to paint or buy new furniture after all.