Clutter can add up around the house faster then you thought possible. Keeping clutter down in your home helps your home be more organized and clean. This is a guide about getting rid of clutter.
At our house, it only takes a few days for things to get out of place. I have figured out an easy and quick way to get things back in order.
I take my big plastic dish pan and starting with the dining room table, as that is where most of the clutter begins, I put everything that's out of place into the pan.
I walk around the room and place what stays in that room where it belongs and anything else that does not belong in that room, I put it into the pan.
I go from room to room and in just a few minutes, I have everything back where it belongs and have saved myself lots of steps.
When my father passed over a year ago, my husband and I were faced with the daunting task of cleaning out his house to sell it. We live in another state and it took us much time and money to get this done, almost a year in fact.
After going through this I am determined not to put my children through this hardship. I have been sorting through all the stuff my husband and I have accumulated over the years. I have sold things at flea markets, yard sales, and given to our local Salvation Army. I have earned money not only by selling but finding things I probably would have bought in the near future.
I am more aware of the stuff I bring into my home now. I weigh each purchase. The best is I save time by not having to move "piles" from one area to the next. We enjoy are home more because we are not always stepping over things and battling clutter. Home is a calmer more spacious place to be.
By Pat W. from Eastern PA
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At my school, we are just about to start organizing our second annual Bring and Barter event. After the great success of the first one, we are hoping for even more happiness and learning from this one. The idea came to one of my colleagues and I after I gave her a spare tomato plant I had grown and, in return, she gave me a large jar of home-produced honey. Now, I thought that this trade was unfair as the actual monetary value of the honey was far higher than one tomato plant (even if it was in quite a big pot!) but her reasoning was that to get that one plant she would have had to buy seeds, compost, pots in several sizes and find somewhere to put them along the way. So as far as she was concerned the trade was fair.
This got us both thinking and within a month we had organized a Bring and Barter event. We invited everyone to bring ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING they wanted to trade, set up a table and then waited to see what happened. Two hours later, about 150 people of various shapes, sizes and ages left delighted with their 'bargains' and happy to leave unwanted or surplus items with other folk who wanted or needed them more. One of our colleagues who had been very dubious about the idea was amazed that he had managed to trade up a wooden spoon, value approx 50 cents (multiple swaps of course) to a jar of my mango jam, value around $5. Children had to think hard about what things were worth to them and to others and some learned the hard way when their swaps were turned down!
If you want to use the idea as a fundraiser or need to pay for a venue you could make a small charge for entry, perhaps $1-$2. It was a great way of bringing the community together and the children really got to understand the meaning of 'Fair Trade'. Best of all, there was no clearing up or disposing of unsold items as they were taken away by the participants!
By Mrs. Christmas from Slovenia, EU
I hate clutter; probably because I dislike dirt. Clutter makes it far harder to just keep up, and to find things. I have even read that it can cause stress. For me, clutter means I can't find what I'm looking for, or hiding something I forgot I have.
One thing I noticed in a movie based in Iceland that I just saw, is that there was a noticeable lack of extra STUFF in their homes and other places. We as Americans have so much extra stuff, but I am trying to use that vision of a stripped-down environment to inspire me.
What a great tip, especially now that I see scads of phone books sitting under mailboxes all over the place. Most have been there for weeks already, all wet from the rain.
By GreenGirls from Summerfield, FL
Editor's Note: Be sure to follow the links. If you don't have the name exact, it will take you to a phony site. You should see a photo of a mountain at the top of the correct page, not a bunch of links to unrelated subjects.
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Clutter control tips from our readers. Post your ideas!
Egg cartons, tops cut off, make good organizers in drawers for little things. Earrings, safety pins, jewelry, keys, etc. For larger things, entirely fill a drawer with cut-off cereal or other boxes. Makes nice compartments and you can customize them to whatever you plan to put in them. Underwear drawer--just cut cardboard "dividers" fit to size. The clothing will keep them upright. Also you can use bowls from the thrift store for the "junk" drawer. One for keys, one for bread ties, one for popsicle sticks, whatever you save for later use.
Zip-lock baggies make nice organizers for your purse, suitcase, briefcase. Baskets are nice too, for catch-alls in the bathroom or on your dresser, such things as hair barrettes, small bottles of cosmetics, clippers, things like that. I keep a plastic desk drawer organizer on TOP of my desk. A little slot for paperclips, staple puller, note paper, calculator, etc. On the countertop, a large vase holds your most-used utensils. Only keep the ones you use frequently in here, the rest go into the drawer, so they don't just sit around and get dirty. I built a little shelf, VERY simple, top & 2 sides, to give myself more room over my kitchen countertop. Now there's 2 layers there with more workspace.
Some of your stuff looks good organized into a "collection". This way you get to show it off and enjoy it instead of considering it clutter. For instance, a pile of books on a coffee table. Keep them dusted. Maybe tie them with a ribbon and a silk flower on top. Baskets of yarn are especially nice to look at. Seashells too. Green or blue glass. and you can store smaller things in jars and make an arrangement. Hang shoe pocket organizers on the backs of bedroom doors, or make some out of fabric like old jeans, they're not hard to make. Boxes, shoe boxes especially, can fit into the most amazing places, like under the bed or behind the couch. Label everything if you do this. Mostly, just go around your house and see what's causing you the grief, then figure out what it would fit into, and whether you need to hide it or not. Now go have some fun, you have lots of work to do! LOL.
I have a long icky story that I won't bore you all with, but I am in a bit of a pickle. I have made huge strides in de-cluttering and clearing my home. I began 3 weeks ago with the easy stuff, garbage, old magazines, papers, etc. that were most visible and I knew would make the "visual" impact that would keep me motivated.
Now I am at the hard stuff. Let me give you a scenario. I have a ______ (enter "box, closet, room, container, etc") containing the following: letters, books, important papers, pictures, office supplies, crafts, samples, toys, kitchen items, bathroom items, shoes, etc.
My question is, what do I do first? Sort and put things where they are supposed to go? or purge? (do the emotional part of deciding to toss, ie., do I need this, do I have another one just like it, does it work, does it make me sad, happy, etc.).
I'm going to call you Econo for short 'cuz your user name is too long for me to memorize as I scroll down the page to respond. :) Congrats for the first step! I'm like you, the visual improvement motivates me to continue the de-cluttering process. Just be aware that it can also cause a false sense of achievement! (Been there, still dealing with that!)
My best suggestion involves eight bins or bags with eight different labels:
1) Keep - Put back where it belongs.
2) Donate - Items must be clean and functional
3) Recycle - Plastic, paper, etc.
4) Trash - Trash, soiled, broken, dysfunctional, 'Nuf said
5) Sell - The garage/yard sell stuff
6) Sell - the more valuable E-Bay/auction stuff
7) Repurpose - Wood, fabric, etc.
8) Keep - Sentimental
As soon as the #1 bin (put back where it belongs), the #2) bin (donate), the #3 bin (recycle) or the #4 bin (trash) gets full, deal with them: put up, donate, recycle or trash at each days end.
Bins # 5, 6, 7, & 8, as they fill up, will need to move into another area for later action. (These will be the toughest to deal with and you will feel better by giving yourself a second, slightly delayed, opportunity to validate your original quick sort decision.) Honestly, however, by allowing yourself a second chance to go through these items you will probably find more and more items to eliminate via the trash, donate, recycle options. You will feel more confident in these choices as you give yourself the opportunity to think through it twice!
For most, the room by room method works best, but for others, it's drawer by drawer, or wall by wall. Just keep your system flexible enough that if you get stuck ("what do I do with this?") you can forgive yourself for not tackling it immediately and move on to another area that helps you keep up the momentum.
Be realistic as to how many hours per week you can actually devote to de-cluttering. Even if you get behind schedule, never beat yourself up as long as you are making significant progress on a routine basis.
I got into my own cluttered life style because a) I'm sentimental - my grandparents and parents were all gone before I was 33 years old and I inherited a lot of their stuff, b) I'm frugal, borderline cheap, and can tell you within a dollar how much I spent on every item in my home, not wanting to part with a dime and c) I can't stand throwing away anything that still has a useful purpose, even if I don't have a useful purpose for that item. (In part, that's why I use so many bins.)
I'm getting out of my cluttered life style because I'm weary of being the caretaker of "stuff"! Wishing you the same sense of sanity and best of luck with the process.
If you're like me you can get overwhelmed with the clutter. I found this tip in a magazine it works really well. Clear out 30 bags of junk in 30 days. I just fill a handbag from all over the house as I'm cleaning each day, and the clutter is going down.
I am a pack rat by nature and I save everything: Broken jewelry and bits of china, ribbon pieces to be used in future craft projects; clothing that is a decade out of style but just too nice to throw away. It is a compulsion and a bad habit that with some practice can be reformed.
Tips for reducing clutter in your home. Post your ideas.
Log into Yahoo.com and search for FreeCycle groups within your state and in your county/area. I believe every state and a lot of countries are represented on this site. FreeCycle is an international group created to keep things out of landfills and to promote a healthier environment. Members on this site do not throw away anything. Nothing is sold or traded, strictly give away.
They recommend that you start the group with an offer. I have seen EVERYTHING on this site: books & magazines, movies & music, furniture, clothing, toys, appliances, food, and even automobiles. I have also seen, offered and received things like empty kitty litter buckets, butter tubs, coupons, empty wine bottles & corks, plants & seeds, used lumber, countertops, sinks. You name it, you can either find it or give it away on these sites.
Before I purchase most things, I will place a WANTED on this site first. Hey if someone has it sitting around collecting dust, I can give it a new home. I save money (which us thrifty people love), save the environment by keeping something from a landfill and from the pollutants created by the manufacture of a new item, and I help the giver declutter.
Some area groups have rules against offering or requesting pets, but we have been able to give (2) wonderful kittens a new home. On 11-18-06, we received our first one and on 11-18-2007, we received our second one. This website is wonderful!
Since so many of us have a lot of time off for Thanksgiving, it's a good time to go through stuff and see all you've been blessed with.