Do you feel like clutter is taking over your life, and sapping your once-great determination to get organized and be tidy?
It might seem inevitable that clutter should overtake your space over time – but it’s not! There are things you can do – simple, but life-changing things – that can insulate you from clutter creep.
Here are 7 easy ways to arrest the overflow of stuff and keep your life clutter-free.
1. Make Cleaning Up Part Of The Task
What this means is that you expand the definition of a ‘task’ to include the pesky tidying-up part.
Um, what now?
You heard me right! You can no longer think of cleaning up as a separate activity to be done later – it’s part of the task, and the task isn’t complete until you’ve done whatever is needed to restore order to the space.
Thinking this way can be a major paradigm shift – and clutter shifter.
Whatever you use, take out, or cook with; whatever the kids watch or play with; it all gets put away as part of that activity.
Imagine how that would look in your life.
2. Become An OCI-OGO-er
OCI-OGO stands for One Comes In – One Goes Out.
This is a beautiful concept, allowing you to continually enjoy new things, but without any increase in life disorganization or clutter. The net amount of stuff in your life never grows. No more clutter entropy!
Now doesn’t OCI-OGO sound like a lovely way to live? Decide to become an OCI-OGO-er today.
3. Stop Shopping As A Past-time
Buy what you need, have what you love. Enjoy beautiful, fun, useful stuff.
Don’t go looking for things to buy as a way to distract yourself, procrastinate, pass the time or avoid existential angst. You’ll just end up with existential clutter.
When you do shop, be smart about it and make a list beforehand. While you’re at it, make a ‘What-Not-To-Buy’ list, too.
4. Parse Everything Through The Love/Use Test
Things cost much more than money. They also cost time and energy: to purchase, store, tidy, dust, clean, rearrange, look for, shop for when lost, create mental clutter, undermine peace of mind.
Reminding yourself about the true cost of stuff is like applying a reality filter when you look at the things in your life. It will help you make smart, quick decisions about what to keep and what to lose.
- When considering what to buy, remind yourself that Things = Time and Energy. If you don’t need it or love it, don’t buy it.
- When considering what to keep, remind yourself that Things = Time and Energy. Whenever you spot something in your home that you don’t need or love, donate or discard it.
Applying this filter will stop you from tolerating clutter in your life.
5. Have A Ready-For-Donation Basket
In fact, any time you notice something you don’t use or love in your home, wardrobe, car or office, simply pop it into your donation basket.
When the basket gets full, bag the contents and immediately place them in your car to drop off at your local charity store or bin. Don’t leave them in the house, where you may accidentally re-discover them with childlike glee and decide to lovingly re-donate them to yourself.
Let it go. You’ll feel good about giving stuff away, and your home will be more organized, too.
6. Set Up An Outgoing Spot
Choose a convenient spot near the door for things that need to be taken out of your home – DVDs to return, library books, the gift for Friday’s party, that crossbow you’ve been meaning to give back, etc.
If you don’t have such a spot, you could:
- Move a small table near the door
- Clear a shelf in a hallway closet
- Liberate a drawer in a hall table.
Make it a habit to check this spot as you leave the house. You’ll ‘improve your memory’ things more often, keep transient clutter out of your living area, and feel much more organized.
7. Do An Express Bedtime Tidy
Spending 10 minutes to do an express tidy every night will help to stop the daily accumulation of clutter.
Just hit the main problem areas as part of your bedtime routine: load the dishwasher, put toys in a toy bin, hang up clothes or toss them in the hamper, use a hand-vac to scoop up the day’s crumbs.
You’ll feel pretty pleased with yourself as you head to bed, and it will put a smile on your face when you start the next day.
Need a little declutter mantra to motivate you? How about: 10 minutes a day/ Will keep clutter at bay. (Yes I know I won’t be getting a song-writing Grammy. Nice of you to mention that.)
How Will You Clutter-Proof Your Life?
You don’t have to surrender to clutter. Defend your home and sanity with these clutter-busting ideas – and you can enjoy a happily organized world.
Which of these strategies will you use to clutter-proof your life?
More ways to declutter your life…
[Image by Sean MacEntee]