If you want to have a home that’s clean and organized, you’ll need to be able to keep your home clutter-free. It can become a challenge to do some serious cleaning if the clutter in your home is out of control. Before you can get down to the real task of cleaning, you’ll need to do some de-cluttering and this can not only use up a lot of your time, but also your energy. By the time you’re done de-cluttering the kitchen counter, for instance, you’d be tired to continue cleaning or maybe you don’t have any more time to finish cleaning. The issue at hand then is how you can control clutter so you don’t become overwhelmed by it. Here are some de-cluttering tips you can use right now.
The most common of all home clutter is paper clutter. Paper clutter can be the mail, bill statements, newspapers and magazines, paperwork your spouse brings home from the office, your children’s school projects, etc. It doesn’t take much time for paper clutter to accumulate; that small pile of unread mail or old newspapers can turn into a huge pile in just a matter of weeks.
So how do you tame the paper clutter beast? For one, make it a habit to go through your mail immediately – as soon as they’re delivered. Have a garbage bin just for junk mail. Place all your junk mail in this bin and shred its contents every week or two weeks. Don’t simply dispose of your junk mail without shredding, unless you want to be a victim of identity theft.
What about your other mail? Have a “To Do” basket and put your payable bills and statements in it. Keep the basket close by the phone or computer. This way, you’re always reminded that you need to have them settled. File the other important papers right away. Avoid leaving them in a pile on your desk, telling yourself you’ll deal with them later. Chances are you’ll forget them.
The same applies for paperwork your spouse brings home with him from the office or for school projects your children take home with them. Assign a spot in the computer room or living room where your husband can keep his “to do” paperwork in one area. If your children have a study room, put a basket on each of their desks and have them put their current home work and projects on this basket.
If you want to keep all the things your children make, know that they can quickly clutter up their room or desk. That is, if you have no filing system set up. If it’s really hard for you to throw away those old home work and art projects, get large plastic containers to store them. You can store these containers under your children’s beds, or stack them up in the garage, basement or attic.
Don’t let old newspapers and magazines pile up. If you intend to recycle them, find a place to store them and pile them up neatly. You can also assign a garbage bin just for disposing of old newspapers and magazines. Keep this bin close to your garbage can. Every time you empty your garbage, you can empty the bin too.
Paper clutter isn’t the only type of clutter there is. Clutter can also be your old furniture, damaged or broken appliances, and old clothes. You’re likely to be tempted to keep these things instead of disposing them when you’re de-cluttering. Eventually, they’ll accumulate to the point that it’s become very difficult to clean the house.
So here’s what you can do: ask yourself if a particular item is something you’re likely to use again. For instance, if it’s been more than a year since you’ve used a item, it’s unlikely you’ll use it again, so better just get rid of it because it’s clutter. If it’s still in good condition, you can donate it or sell it. If you’re still undecided about an item, place it in storage for about 6 months. If you haven’t used it by then, throw it away.
You can put seasonal items like clothes and decorations in storage. Buy several large stackable storage crates. Label each crate so it will be easy to find things later on: “Jenny’s winter clothes,” “Christmas and New Year decorations,” “Paperback books”.
As for items that are stained, broken or damaged, throw them away unless they are heirlooms or have any family or historical significance. This applies for any item, seasonal or non-seasonal. Unless you get rid of them, your home is going to continue to be clutter and cleaning is always going to be a challenging task.