I have a two-pronged approach to clutter: 1) Get rid of the clutter you have and, 2) Don’t buy (yes, I said buy) new clutter. Easier said than done? Really? Assuming that you are the average person with the average kid/baby home (as in, not the ones that I hear about on TV that truly live amidst mountains of trash), I think a little dedication to a few tasks will go a long way to minimizing the clutter in your environment. And this, my friends, goes a long way in minimizing the clutter in your mind (or at least, that’s been my experience).
Get Rid of the Clutter You Have
Quite simply, throw everything out that you don’t need!
• Go through your closets and donate clothes you haven’t worn for a whole season or, organize a clothing swap with your girlfriends like my friend, Emma did in our neighborhood.
• Do the same for books, furniture, miscellaneous household items. If you are a pack rat, enlist the help of a friend who is NOT… like me! Pretend you are moving to a small apartment and have to pay extra for every box you bring.
• For random papers (this is the best!), get banker’s boxes, one for each room if you want, and label them “pre-2009.” Just toss EVERYTHING in there. Store the boxes. If you don’t touch them in a year, toss them. If it makes you feel better, wait 2-3 years and then toss them. The point is, the piles of papers everywhere will stop stressing you out.
Don’t Buy New Clutter
Once your home is de-clutterfied… keep it that way. I’m no Fly Lady. She’s got much more involved tips in this respect. But my philosophy is that “clutter” doesn’t walk into your house on two feet! I have a bit of a zero tolerance policy on clutter because I have limited storage/space (which I’m finding is truly a blessing in disguise). Did anyone catch Jerry Seinfeld’s bit on “stuff?” …how everything we buy is just a few steps away from “trash?” Soooo true! The shiny new small appliance first sits on the island, then in a cabinet, then in the basement, then in the garage, then in the dumpster! My point being, before you buy anything, keep in mind that when you buy any thing, you’re actually making a commitment to IT! You’re the one who will have to clean it and maintain it and store it! So either don’t complain about it later or just don’t buy it. You’ll be doing a good deed, not just for your home, family life and pocket book but also doing your bit to save the planet and ourselves! Really… watch this video called, The Story of Stuff if you don’t believe me (or just because… it’s really cool, albeit depressing!)
For all those things that seemingly walk into your home unassisted, diligently escort them out promptly. I make a habit of putting junk mail straight in the recycling bin from the mailbox. I go through all my kids papers daily to see which ones can be trashed and which ones go in the giant portfolio for posterity (until they move out and decide to toss them out themselves), and any junk Happy Meal toys never survive more than a week before surreptitiously disappearing into the trash bin.
I seem to be winning the war on clutter in my house. My car… on the otherhand… is another story!
Do you have any good anti-clutter tips?
Practical Mommy is Ria Sharon. Click the links for Practical Mommy’s recommendations for travel car seats, affordable and fun diaper bags (skip hop bag), and the best-selling crib brand, Da Vinci Crib.