5 Rules for Breaking the Clutter Cycle

No matter how meticulous your home may be, it is my guess that you have at least one spot for clutter. For me, it’s a little more then one spot. But I have learned that if you practice just a few easy steps, 5 of them to be exact, you can master the clutter. Now, I am truly talking about clutter. That’s the issue we are tackling, not dirty dishes or laundry. But I do promise you, whatever your house looks like now, if you put these 5 tips in practice your home WILL BE neater.

Tip # 1: Find Your Clutter Spots

If you take a look around your home, what becomes a catch all for your clutter? Is it a junk drawer? The top of your desk? Your kitchen table? Counter tops? Television stand? You night stand? Closet? Or ALL seven? The important thing is that you become aware of the places clutter begins to build up.

Lets define clutter so we know exactly what it is. According to the Websters dictionary clutter is defined as this : To crowd together in disorder; to fill or cover with things in disorder; to throw into disorder; to disarrange; as, to clutter a room.

So look for things that are obviously out of place, crowded together that cause disorder in that particular area.

Clutter can be anything that seems to “not have a place of it’s own” Your goal is figure out what your clutter items are. For me, for example, my clutter is usually mail and papers. Important papers mixed with junk mail, and magazines I just can’t throw out because I like one article in it. What items do you find in your clutter spots?

Tip #2: Does it Have a Home?

Most of the clutter we build up has a home, we just have not put it there. Somehow our lives have become so hectic and over filled that it takes too much time to put things where they belong. That was not said out of sarcasm, it is true. The busy lifestyle that we all seem to have, leaves us feeling that a 24 hour day, is too short.

Find out where the home for your clutter is, but find out if it is truly functional. If it is not functional, then you just found out why you never go there. For example, my important papers that are in the same pile as my mail, is there because putting it in the filing cabinet is something I have a hard time doing. Not only that, but my own filing cabinet had become cluttered, and I hated taking every folder out to find what I was looking for. The same may be with whatever your clutter is.

I know too, that baby clothes that are too small were often a clutter problem for my children’s closet. didn’t have a functional way to store them, so they just piled on top of each other.

If you have a functional system for your clutter list, then find out ways to make it easier to get them there. But if you do not have a functional place for your clutter items, then your next step is to find one.

Tip #3: Lose The Attachment

Have you ever seen a baby so attached to her pacifier that it becomes the only way she can relax, or a toddler who can’t sleep without his teddy bear? They have formed an attachment to these items, and they can’t imagine living without them. The good thing about these kids though is they ARE actually using it. We seem to form the same attachment to items we may not even use at all!

How many times I have tried to save my magazine s I can read them later, or keep them for reference, and NEVER once went back to them to read. How many years I have held on to my size 5 jeans, swearing I would fit into them again. I can’t even tell you how long I held onto things “in case I ever need them again. The truth is, a lot of this is trash, and the other items ARE needed by other people right now!

How many people could have benefited from my large wardrobe of clothes I was desperately hanging on to, in case they fit me again. How many schools needed my piles of magazines for their art room projects? When we hang on to these things we are really depriving someone else the ability to enjoy it.

Many people suggest selling it. That is a personal choice, if you want to put your clothes on consignment or sell it on ebay for example, you certainly could. But I like to donate things because I wasn’t using them anyway. There are always people in need of clothes.

Remember, your attachment to an item is selfish in nature if you are not using it now.

Tip #4: Shred It

I can almost guarantee that you have pieces of mail or credit card statements, something that you no longer need, but are afraid to toss because of the security risk involved in tossing it. Well, if you do not have a shredder, get one! or about $25 at Walmart, you can buy a decent enough shredder to get rid of all your private information without the worry of it being pieced together again.

Put your shredder somewhere where you will use it, and USE IT!

Tip #5: Take 5

After you have found your clutter spots, identified the clutter and made a home for it, take 5 minutes a day to de-clutter. Really our clutter builds up piece by piece. We don’t get to the point having our desk look like it’s built out of paper, in one day! It’s days of allowing things to build up. Trust me, if you designate just 5 minutes a day to clearing off the hot spots, and putting these things back in their home, you will see lasting changes.

Truth be told, we don’t need all those porcelain statues that collect dust and take up space. And although we may fit into those size 5’s again, let’s buy them as a reward when we lose the weight. That sale in Acme expired last month, the circular is trash. There are so many people that are in need of your children’s out grown clothes. Your old credit card statement can be cross cut shred into confetti in less then 5 seconds of your time. And your peace will be found, at the bottom of all that clutter.

My Aunt used to tell my Grandmother, (who is the queen of “no, you can’t throw that away”) that she is too lazy to be messy. She said she doesn’t have the time to go all over the house to look for 1 thing, or spend hours of her time fighting clutter. instead she keeps things tidy, always so she never invests more then a straight hour into housework!

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