Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Combat the Clutter: Tips for Household Organization

A Guest Post by Maire Hunter

Living with excess clutter in the home can be overwhelming and even emotionally draining. However, with the mess building up around us, we often feel out of control and don’t know how to begin the project of organizing. Well, it’s important to understand that organizing a living space is not simply a weekend project. It's about changing habits to maintain a healthy and clutter-free lifestyle. Here are a few tips to get you on your way.

Change your mindset

Before starting an organization project, you must fully understand what is causing the clutter problem. Ask yourself, what am I holding on to and why do I need it? Would my life be simpler if I did not have this item?The point to remember is that everything in your house should serve a purpose. This is not to say that you cannot have a family picture or your grandmother’s old music box sitting on your shelves. These serve a sentimental purpose. However, if an item does not serve a sentimental or esthetic purpose and has not been used by anyone in months, it may be time to eliminate it from your life. For more helpful tips on change your overall mindset to be more organized, check out Your Guide to Lifelong Organization.

Eliminate unnecessary clutter

Once you have committed to the project, it is time evaluate what things need to be purged from the household. When evaluating what to eliminate, a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself when you last used an item and for what was it needed. If it takes you longer than fifteen seconds to answer these questions, the item should probably be tossed.

When eliminating clutter, it also helps to take on one room at a time so that the project is less overwhelming. If you are organizing a storage room, it may be helpful to narrow the process down even further and focus on one corner at a time.

Then, it’s time to arrange your stuff and get rid of the excess. When it comes to sorting your items, stick with the five “R” categories.

· Return to Owner

· Resell—this may be at your yearly garage sale or local consignment shop.

· Reuse—items to give away to friends or donate to charity.

· Recycle

· Rubbish

Create a system

Once you have gotten rid of unnecessary items, it is important to set up a system so that your family maintains a tidy home long-term. You don’t want the space to revert back to a clutter-filled mess after all of your hard work. One way to do this is to set up a “home base” for certain items. For example, if you can never find your keys when it’s time to go to work in the morning, create a home base that they always stay. Maybe it’s a hook next to the door or a box on your desk. Whatever spot you choose, try to make a routine of always putting your keys in their “home.” For more organizing options that may be perfect for your household, check out these 18 Clever Organizing Tricks and Storage Ideas.

To help children learn organization skills, you can create the same kind of system with their toys. First, label bins and storage cabinets with a certain type of item. This ensures that there is no confusion in where things are supposed to be put away. Then, designate a time each day for organizing their rooms and play area perhaps before dinner is served. This consistency makes organizing and tidying the house a habit for children.

When it comes to getting your home organized, there needs to be an initial purge and then a system set up to maintain the arrangements. By using these tips to change everyday habits, you can significantly reduce the overwhelming piles of stuff that build up in an disorderly household.

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