First impressions of a person’s home are significant. We can’t help but draw conclusions about people from how they manage their surroundings. We’ve all had the experience of walking into a perfectly organized home as well as one that looks like a movie set for the latest disaster flick. We all know which one we would rather live in ourselves and present to the world! Remember there is a difference between a clean home and a cluttered home. We have many customers whose homes we clean which are cluttered but clean. We are also not talking about a Hoarder (as seen on TV) Just the normal build up of our things in our surroundings.
Cluttering our homes isn’t a conscious decision, but rather where we end up by default when we become unconscious of the cluttering process at work. Let’s face it, clutter happens! And if you have children, clutter accelerates at warp speed. Young children don’t know any better and have to learn. Teenagers know better, but are driven to flaunt their independence in the all too typical you’re-not-the-boss-of-me fashion.
So how do you finally begin undoing years of accumulated clutter? How do you make the needed changes so your home stays neat and organized? Here are a few guidelines to declutter your home:
Organize a plan of attack. List every room or space and start with the most-used or messiest room. This is good psychology! Tackling the highest visibility clutter – kitchen, living room, or entryway – first gives a real boost to the over all process. Everyone sees what’s possible and can begin visioning every other room clean and organized.
Everybody helps. Cluttering is almost always a group effort and everyone should play a part in setting it right. Assign tasks based on ability. Even young children can do something to help (turning it into a game with frequent breaks and reinforcement really helps!). In the process, everyone learns how to clean and organize, and what’s expected in the future.
Make sure to include a timeline. It took time to clutter your home and it will take time to declutter it as well. Make sure each task – usually centered on a particular room – has a specific timeline even if its only 5-10 minutes a day. Some tasks will take longer then others based on size and the amount of clutter. A family room will accumulate more clutter than a typical closet and will take longer to declutter.
Complete one task at a time. Flitting from room to room with great intentions is highly ineffective and will always take longer. Focus on one room to the exclusion of all others. Stay with that room until the clutter is gone and the room looks complete.
Decide what stays and what goes. This is a biggy! Accumulating “stuff” is at the heart of clutter, so getting rid of “stuff” is almost always essential. Decide what stays and store it neatly on shelves, in closets, or in bins or containers. There are plenty of options for getting rid of unneeded things. Check out theses tips to help you decide.
Tips for Letting Go
- The main reason that clutter starts to build is because most people have a hard time throwing things away or giving them to charity. As you sort through your belongings, there are some things you should keep in mind.
- Take one item at a time. During sorting, make quick decisions about whether you want to keep the item or not. Remember the goal is to get rid of stuff. The longer you take to decide, the more likely you will end up with stuff you don’t really need.
- Question yourself. If you don’t know what to do with an item, ask yourself some questions for clarity, such as “Do you love this item?”, “Have you used this item in the past year?” and “Do you really need this item?” The more questions you ask yourself, the easier your decision will be.
- Move on. Possessions can become a reflection of our personal history, so it’s easy to form an emotional attachment to them. If you’re having a tough time getting rid of stuff, remind yourself that your goal is to move on from the past and clear the way for a more functional living space.
- Take out the trash. A large portion of the clutter in your home is actually trash. Remove all the obvious trash from each room on a daily basis. Be sure to throw away or recycle the following:
- Expired items such as medicine and food
- Old magazines and newspapers
- Junk mail
- Clothes that are torn, stained or ripped beyond repair
- Packaging and boxes that are no longer useful
- Broken televisions and electronic equipment
- Give it up. Remember the best way to declutter your home is to remove all the items you don’t use. Donating to charity or friends is much better than having something sit in the closet. Be sure to donate, give away or sell the following:
- Clothes you haven’t worn in the past 12 months
- Extra furniture you aren’t currently using
- Gifts you’ve received that are just sitting in your closet
- Items you can no longer use such as betamax tapes or 8-track tapes
- Unfinished crafts and supplies
- Items you know someone else will get much more use from
Finally, commit to spending time each week keeping clutter away.
Stop the Clutter Before It Starts
- There are a few simple things you should do in order to maintain your new environment.
- Remember that you can’t have a cluttered home if you don’t bring it into your home in the first place. Don’t bring unneeded items into your home.
- When you purchase necessary items such as clothes or furniture, get rid of old items.
- Resist impulse purchasing. Don’t purchase anything on a whim.
As you can see, there’s nothing magical about decluttering your home. Following a few simple guidelines is always the surest way to achieve an organized home in the shortest time frame with the best chance of it staying that way. So do it! Then have MaidPro give your home the 49 Point Makeover!
Also Check out this short video on How to De-Clutter your Home.
Feel free to post any additional suggestions or comments.