About a month before getting married, I moved out of my parents’ house and into the house I now share with my husband. Part of that process involved throwing out all the unnecessary things that caused clutter in my bedroom and creating a clutter-free home.
Well, we’ve been married for almost eighteen months and I’ve decluttered multiple times. I can’t believe the amount of stuff we’ve accumulated. Sometimes it feels like clutter will always be a problem and other times, when our home is looking particularly sparkly and tidy, I realise that clutter does not have to be in my life. I don’t like it and I’ll do what I can to get rid of it.
Before attempting to get rid of clutter, here is something to remember:
Decluttering isn’t a once-off task.
Clutter finds its way into our lives on a daily basis. Nice new magazines that you read and then no longer need, paper clutter that comes through the mail, things that we think we’ll use every day and then don’t. Don’t think that you can declutter once and you’ll be clutter-free forever. Commit to maintaining a clutter-free home and you’re on the right track.
So here are a few things you can do to eliminate clutter in your home:
Get rid of old things
Old magazines, expired medicines and food products, unread books, old cellphones, outgrown clothes, mismatched socks, mismatched storage containers, duplicate appliances and cleaning items, worn towels, broken jewellery, old mail, unused toiletries, old make up, spices you never use, scratched or unwatched DVDs, and so on. Get rid of things that cause clutter by not even being used.
Give everything a home
By not having a home, the items in your house will start to find themselves on kitchen countertops, bedside tables, desks, the floor and other places that really need to be kept tidy. If everything has a place in your home, it’ll be easier to move it from the countertop to its rightful place, thereby eliminating clutter.
Limit the amount of hangers you have in your cupboard
If you only have forty hangers in your cupboard, you can only hang forty things in your cupboard, thereby eliminating clothing clutter. This will encourage you to think twice before buying new clothes and/or give clothes away more often. This process is made even more simple, by asking yourself one question: “If I were shopping right now, would I buy this?”. If the answer is no, you can donate that item.
Find out where your clutter is coming from
Junk mail, too many new purchases, or laziness that results in the build-up of things you really do use a lot. Is there anything you can do to eliminate this clutter? For example, automate your bills so that they can be received via email and paid online. Put a restriction on things you buy and how often you’ll buy them so that you are bringing less into your home. Perhaps you need to have a regular decluttering schedule – every day when you walk into the house, empty the paper clutter from your handbag and throw away any bits of paper and trash that you don’t need.
Find ways to get rid of books
Donate books to the local library, give books to family and friends and sell old textbooks. When it comes to recipe books, only keep the ones that have a large amount of recipes that you use. If you only use a few, photocopy them, put them in a file and give the book away.
Make your bed every day
There is something really powerful about starting your day by making your bed. Tidying up your room sets the tone for the rest of your home and the rest of your day! If your bed is tidy, you’ve got space to organize and fold things, and all your messy things start to look out of place when your bed is neat.
Get rid of excessive dishes
Glen and I have ten dinner plates, so that when we have friends over we can feed them without asking them to bring their own plates (because that is weird). The problem is that sometimes we get lazy and instead of cleaning a plate, we grab one from the cupboard. By having fewer sets of dishes, cutlery and glasses, you are forcing yourself to clean up instead of grabbing something clean and then creating a pile of dishes to be cleaned later on.
Start using the “touch it once” rule
This is how the rule works: when something comes into your home, there are a few things that could happen while it’s still in your hands:
- Throw it away
- Store it away
- File it away
What we usually do instead is move things from one countertop to the next, creating clutter in every room of the house.
Here are some examples:
When we receive wedding invitations, the date is put into our calendar and we either put the invitation on our fridge until the wedding is over (and then throw it away) or we throw it away immediately. The date is already saved in our calendar, after all, along with registry details, the address and that sort of thing.
The only birthday cards I keep are the ones from my husband. It’s something I’ve one since we started dating, so I make a point of putting his cards and letters into a box I’ve kept for the last seven years. All other cards are read, appreciated, and then thrown away.
When we buy new medicine, it gets put straight into our organized medicine box. Our box is categorized, so different types of medicine are grouped together (things for colds and flu, things for sore throats, things for sore tummies, etc).
You know what they say; a cluttered home creates a cluttered mind. If you are serious about getting rid of clutter in your home, join the Declutter Challenge. Starting on Monday 24 October, you’ll get an email each day with an area to declutter. I’ll send you my before and after photos, so you can see what I’ve done. The idea is to spend five minutes each day for five days getting rid of some unneeded clutter! If you’d like to sign up you can do that right here.