Have noticed the plethora of television shows about clutter and hoarding? It seems we are a nation of collectors running out of room. While hoarding is a different problem altogether, clutter can be helped with planning and a strategy for order. Here are some tips on keeping things in order.
If you’re starting to trip over your stuff, there’s no time like the present to purge and declutter. The holidays usually brings in a new batch of stuff, so maybe now’s a good time to clear out the old and start off fresh. Whatever the reason, here are a few tips on decluttering.
1. Decide why you want to declutter and get organized. Set goals for why and where you want to end up after you’re done. For example, I want to have $5000 to make a down payment on a small RV so I can travel, or I want to take 3 truckloads of stuff to Goodwill so I can move into a condo. Setting goals reminds you of why you’re doing what you’re doing, even if the going gets tough.
2. Take stock of what you have. When you stop and look around you with new eyes, you may be amazed/overwhelmed at how much you have accumulated over the years. Don’t beat yourself up about it, just go through each room with new eyes and make decisions.
3. Have everyone in the household onboard with the decluttering. Teamwork is in order to get this big job done in a timely manner. The members of your home may have different reasons for getting rid of the clutter, but if you all pitch in the job will get done before you lose interest.
4. Start small so you won’t get overwhelmed. Take it step by step, room by room. If you’ve got a lot to do, start with a closet. The more you do, the better you get at it. If you simply can’t get started, think about getting a professional in to help you. A caring friend can add a helping hand as well.
5. Devise a system.Use bags or piles labeled Keep/Throw/Charity/Storage. Having a specific bag to put each thing in helps you move forward instead of becoming overwhelmed because you can’t think of what to do.
6. Keep it going with anything new that enters the home. The amount of personal mail, junk mail, newspapers, flyers, and magazines that come into your home each month can be staggering if you put off dealing with them. After you get them initially taken care of, it’s easier to handle any incoming paper on a daily basis.
7. Document the little things. Of course, your attorney will handle your will, but sometimes there are little things you want to let you kids know about. Perhaps you want to tell them your computer password or about any of the forums you attend online. Maybe you want to give them the combination to your storage shed. Write it all down on one sheet of paper and give one to your kids and a copy to your attorney.
Decluttering is never a fun job, but a clean organized home is always worth the effort. If you do feel overwhelmed, consider hiring a professional organizer. That person won’t be judgmental and will set you up with organizing systems so you can keep up with your life. You’ll be amazed what a sense of freedom being organized and clutter free brings.