Posted by Eva Owens
Living and working amid clutter can be overwhelming and negatively impact the wellbeing of you and the person you care for. Clearing out clutter can lead to peace of mind and a sense of accomplishment. Whether you are interested in tackling a project in your own home or working with a client to help get them organized, we have some simple tips on how to get the process started.
With the size of the American home nearly tripling over the past 50 years, it is no wonder Americans are acquiring and hanging onto more stuff (NPR). In fact, according to an article in the LA Times, there are 300,000 items in the average American home (LA Times).
With junk drawers overflowing, closets stuffed to the gills, and garages where parking a car isn’t even an option, where is one to start?
Start by identifying one type of item to focus on. Do a quick survey of your living space and look for a type of item where you can invest some time and score a quick victory. Start with something easy and get some momentum going before moving on to the tougher, sentimental items. Some good examples include paperwork and clothing.
Make a plan of how you will organize and discard the items. While it’s great to make progress inside your home, without a plan, you’ll likely shift everything to the garage or that scary closet. Though you have a short term fix, think about being successful for the long term. That means don’t create a monster project to have to deal with at a later time. Instead, be proactive. For donations, call a local women’s shelter or veteran’s group to see if you can schedule a pick up. Also, be mindful of how you discard papers with sensitive information like your social security number or any bank account information. Consider shredding those papers or finding a service to do the job.
Sort and clean out by category. After you have sorted and discarded some of the easier items to tackle, think about sorting through your remainder items by categories. Although it’s tempting to go room by room you’ll find it takes more time and energy. Designate items as keep, give away or trash.
Only keep the things you love. Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, advises to only keep things that spark joy. Start looking at your items through this lens and suddenly you may see how much stuff you have accumulated that is only taking up space.
While some people are motivated to live a simple, tidier life, others are mindful that it’s much easier for the entire family to pare down. Aging parents and grandparents don’t want to saddle their children or extended family with sorting through all their belongings.
It is also important to remember to make sure your client is on-board with any sprucing up before you begin. If they don't like the idea, try encouraging them to start slow or focus on one small area to begin the process.
When you consider that over the course of our lifetime the average American will spend a total of 3,680 hours days searching for misplaced items, maybe you too will be inspired to clear the clutter. (The Daily Mail).