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Overwhelmed by Clutter? Show Junk Its Way Out with These 10 Steps.

Overwhelmed by Clutter? Show Junk Its Way Out with These 10 Steps.

As a Professional Organizer, I deal with people’s clutter daily. Over time, I have discovered that most of the clutter found in any given home is things that should have left home but failed to do so. We’ll call it junk. If you are overwhelmed by clutter, show junk its way out. 

Although junk includes trash, it also includes anything that does not serve us anymore, regardless of the item’s condition. How long waste stays in the home depends on the routines and procedures we follow (or fail to) in handling our belongings.

Those routines determine how cluttered our environment remains. Thus, consistently following specific practices and learning different habits can remove most clutter and help us maintain the space in much better shape. 

Handle The Trash 

Have a good-sized trashcan (13 gal.) and a recycling bin in the kitchen. To be functional, these need to be out in the open. Getting matching trashcan and recycling bins (or dual-purpose units) is a good idea. Square or rectangular shapes are best because these save space and configure better to the areas. 

Relying on the latest grocery bag hanging on a doorknob to discard your trash or an 8-gal trashcan in a corner to collect recycling might be an economical alternative. Still, it creates more obstacles than benefits and is not conducive to a cleaner kitchen. So instead, invest in good quality tools that make life easier.  

Sort The Mail

Have another trashcan and recycle bin set where you sort mail if this place differs from the kitchen. This process goes hand in hand with having an effective mail processing system

Add Trashcans Everywhere

It is easier to dispose of trash when there is a place to do so while we handle that waste. Therefore, place a trashcan in every room in the home. The amount of actual trash removed from homes while decluttering is astonishing. Garbage goes on the floor, under the bed, on the counter, and everywhere else when we don’t have accessible trashcans. During the weekly cleaning day, take all trash out.

Be Aware

Pay attention to when and how you experience the feeling that something no longer has a place in your life or your home. This feeling could be subtle as an energetic discrepancy in your body or noticeable, like clothing that does not fit. That’s the moment when you need to act. So take that thing out of your space. NOW.

Handle Packages Immediately

When receiving a package, open the box and remove the contents. If keeping it, remove the outer and inner packaging and tags. Take the item to where it is used or stored. Then, trash or recycle all packaging. Do not let those boxes and protective packaging material roll around your home for weeks. 

Every Time You Come Home

Every time you come home, especially when you bring bags of any kind, open that bag and remove its contents. Take everything where it belongs. Then, trash, recycle, or fold bags to reuse if desired. This process takes a few minutes, but it is better to employ seven minutes each day than suffer a panic attack when you realize you can’t deal with the clutter.

If anything can go anywhere, then everything will go anywhere. So you want to have control of your environment. Every single day, with consistency, is how you achieve that. 

Donate 

When you decide something is for donation, take it out of the house and place it in your car. Then, place a note on your windshield or seat to remind you to stop by the donation center when you go out next. This practice might sound silly, but it won’t when you see how effective this method is. 

Deal with Broken Things

Upon identifying an item that needs repair, put that item in a particular place dedicated to this purpose. Assign a monthly date in your calendar for repairs. Take the basket, bag, or bin with you on that day and take care of them.

Send Stuff Away

If you see something that you should have/could have/would like to send someone, prepare the package at that moment. If this is impossible, place the item where it bothers you enough that you will notice it and remember it. Then, include a reminder in the calendar for later that day to prepare that package. Once the box is ready, please put it in your car immediately to be shipped.

Take It Out NOW!

The point is to TAKE THAT THING OUT OF YOUR SPACE NOW. Some things need to wait. For those, prepare a labeled area in your home to place them. As you put something in that area, calendar the action or reminder to address the issue.

Is the item too big to move, or is the action something cumbersome you cannot handle now? You can always calendar these things. You deal with the issue the moment you decide about it. By placing a reminder or an action in the calendar, these things will be out of your head – clearing your mental clutter as well.

Refrain from entertaining trash, junk, and other people’s treasures in your home. Your home is living space, not storage space or a dump. 

Intentional Storage – Knowing Your Why

Intentional Storage – Knowing Your Why

Intentional storage means considering what we keep to determine how to keep it. However, in talking about storage, we must discuss the difference between putting things down and putting things away.

Putting Things Away

A simple life with fewer things means that we can adequately contain the contents of the house and develop sound systems around the use and care of those possessions.

A home that operates in this way is a home that facilitates putting things away instead of just putting something down.

Putting things down is the beginning of the end if you’d like a tidy home. 

Putting things away after using them every single time is fundamental to having a home that breathes peace and order.

And it’s much easier to learn to put things away consistently when everything has a logical, designated place in the home and everything fits its designated storage space.

Containers Keep Us Accountable

I heard Joanna from The Home Edit say something that stuck with me because it is so accurate, and I never thought of putting it into words as she did. She said: “Containers keep us accountable.”

I can see now why their organizing method always includes all that micro-organization and over-division of stuff. The more (appropriate) containerization, the easier it is to determine when our stuff is becoming too much – they’ll start spilling over.

When things start spilling over, we must decide (if we don’t want clutter to take over) what we should let go of or if that group of items has grown for a legitimate change that might require a permanent change in space planning. And this is what being intentional with the storage means.

The Why Dictates The How

Suppose you love crafting, embroidery in particular. And you have a section in your home office with all those supplies needed for your hobby. At some point, your hobby turned into a business possibility. So, you decide to pursue embroidery as an income-generating activity. Now, you’ll need much more material and supplies and probably more significant, better equipment to handle production.

In this case, it makes sense to “set shop” on a different part of the house dedicated to these activities, transform your home office into the facility you need, or even rent some industrial space. Either of these alternatives calls for a total change in how you gather, store, and use your embroidery supplies, materials, and tools.

Having a ton of new material available because your mother-in-law gave you a bunch of stuff over the holidays is not a reason to overflow or change the storage system that has worked for you so far. If you received embroidery material that you were not expecting or needing, you should decide:

  • whether to keep the new stuff and get rid of the previous material
  • sell or donate the new stuff
  • keep parts of each collection and give away the rest

The two instances are different but require an intentional decision and an action.

All that additional material will hang around the carefully appointed system and previously set containers without an intentional decision. As a result, it won’t look as contained anymore nor be as functional as it was.

When Storage Space Is Minimal

And one more thing! If the home of your dreams has minimal storage space, some “stored” items might not be concealed (as in open storage). So, when stuff needs to be in view like that, the trick is to blend that with the design and make it “disappear” from sight.

You’ll need some out-of-the-box thinking to achieve this. Finding the right storage solution means transforming potential eyesores into space enhancers, conversation pieces, and even eye candy. How about that? Are you up to the challenge?