Okay, we’ve all seen an episode of Hoarders by now. The guy that hasn’t seen the carpet in his home in 5 years or the woman who saves everything! We see those extreme examples of clutter and can’t imagine how they can live like that.
But, the question is, do you see clutter in your own home? I can tell you that I have clutter. Not, OMG call Hoarders type clutter, but small piles of it. A few extra knick knacks, some papers that need to be filed or those horrid happy meal toys! They start out in corners, bookshelves, flat surfaces. Sometimes they stay like that, they are there but not “bite you on the nose” noticeable most of the time. And sometimes they multiply and become little families of clutter. Even the smallest bits of clutter are noticed by your eyes, and your brain processes it. This is what I call visual clutter.
In college, I used to have to clean my entire room before I could start on my illustration assignments. I do the same thing in our garage (which is cluttered now) before I can start on a new project.
I NEED the visual calmness of a clean room so I could be more creative and more productive.
This week, I want you to pick one room. Preferably the room you spend the most time in. Is it your kitchen or your home office? Whatever it is, this is the room that will make you happy when you are done. It is the room that will allow you to “Fall in Love with Your Home.”
Four Boxes (or laundry bins)
Large Trash Bag
Different Colored Sheets of Paper
Windex or general cleaners
Begin by gathering your four boxes.Label each one with these labels: KEEP, DONATE or SELL, RECYCLE, TRASH. I like to use a different color for each label so I don’t accidentally toss something in the wrong bin.
- KEEP = Things that don’t belong in that rom or to be stored away somewhere else
- DONATE or SELL = Goodwill, Thrift store or FreeCycle.org donation. Or sell via yardsale, Craig’s List, eBay or other sales venue.
- RECYCLE = paper, glass, cans, and other curbside recycling. Also, dry-cleaner hangers, plastic bags, or other items that can be re-used. I.e. Old cloths or linens that can be cut up for cleaning rags.
- TRASH = Anything worthless in value. I like to line the trash bin with a big plastic bag to make it easier to empty.
Start in one area of the room (I like to start furthest from the door or work clockwise from the door.) This will be the first zone you are going to work in. Begin by taking any and all the items from that zone (unless the item has a place to be stored in that room. In that case, put it away.)
Once the zone is clear, clean off all the surfaces.
Now either put the items away that are staying (preferably out of sight) or place it in one of the four bins.
If you find yourself stuck ask yourself these questions:
- Have I used or worn it in the last 6 mos? 1 year?
- “Will this item help me create the home I want” – Peter Walsh
- Is this item irreplaceable?
If the answer to any of those questions is “No”, then say adieu to it now!
If you find yourself stuck. Try the 1 year box idea. Create another box and put anything you are undecided about inside. Seal it up and write a date 1 year from today on it. Next year when you find that box in storage, get rid of it. Don’t even open it. If you didn’t miss the items inside then you don’t need them. Just donate it.
Continue until you have cleared your zone.
Assess the “KEEP” items and decide which ones can go back in that zone. Be sure to store them out of sight. Don’t allow them to become visual clutter in your room.
I’m going to stop here, because I have some important pieces of furniture for storing items at my reach, but not in my visual line of sight.
First is my Craig’s List pie safe:
Approximately 36″ wide by 60″ tall.
- school papers
- school work
- kids artwork
- Coloring Books
- Favorite Magazines
- Coupon Binder Sleeves
- charging station (tutorial to come)
- Cell phones
- Battery chargers
- Walkie Talkies
- Recipe Box
- Left: Pretty Handsome Guy’s mail
- Rigth: Pretty Handy Girl’s mail
Renee’s credenza (another Craig’s List find):
- Left drawer: Mail for him
- Right drawer: Mail for her
- Lined baskets store all of their daughter’s art supplies! Brilliant and beautiful.
Okay, back to de-cluttering. When you have finished going through the whole room go ahead and start removing the bins from the room. Empty the trash, dump the recycling in the curbside recycling and sort out any other items that aren’t curbside. Put them in your car so you can get rid of them while you are running errands (drycleaner, grocery store, etc.)
Now, sort through the Donate/Sell box. Grab a notepad to jot down anything you will be donating. Then put that pile in a bag and put it in your car as well. Be sure to run by Goodwill or the thrift store one day this week. Put the items you intend to sell in a dedicated spot in storage. Make a commitment to yourself to sell them within 3-6 mos. and donate them if you haven’t after that time frame. (Pretty Handsome Guy might be calling me out on this one.)
Finally, sort through the KEEP box, bring the box with you around the house, and stop in each room. Put away all the items that belong in that room. If you have to, go ahead and leave the items for that room somewhere to be put away later. Remember today you are only tackling the one room!
|My closet, de-cluttered in less than 30 minutes.|
|Color coordinated clothes help you pick outfits faster.|
And makes you aware of what colors you have enough of in your wardrobe.
Go back to the room you just de-cluttered. Sit there and breathe in. Allow yourself to enjoy the calmness of a clean and clutter-free space. Let yourself fall in love with this space. Anytime you find yourself disgusted with your home, go back to this space and rekindle that flame.
Now get crackin’ and eliminate that visual clutter. Need some help controlling clutter? Let Simplify 101 give you a jumpstart with a FREE mini guide, click on the button below to get started.