Close your eyes and imagine your home as you’d like: clean, serene. Something you’re proud of. The way to get there, of course, is by reducing clutter.
But chances are, you’ve tried that before. You gave up weekends, you gave up vacation time. Yet you still struggle to deal with the clutter.
Let me explain why, and a more sustainable approach to reducing clutter that will get you to that serene space you imagined.
The Process to Reduce Clutter
We often think of reducing clutter as a one-time event, but you don’t learn a new language, become a marathoner, or master a musical instrument in one afternoon or weekend, right?
Getting control of your home’s clutter requires the same approach: you do it methodically until reducing clutter and keeping it out of your home is part of who you are, too.
Step 1: Start here.
Does clutter make you feel embarrassed? Start where visitors will see, like the living room or entryway.
Does clutter make it difficult to relax? Start where you like to spend time unwinding.
Does clutter get in the way of activities? If it’s cooking, start with the counters. If it’s getting dressed, start with your closet.
Step 2: Set an appointment.
To make reducing clutter an ingrained habit, you need to practice it regularly. So, schedule a recurring daily 15-minute appointment to reduce clutter. Mine is part of my pre-bed routine.
- Pick up trash.
- Put away things that belong in the space you’re working in.
- Gather things that go somewhere else in your home in a basket.
- Put those things away.
After you’ve worked through the spots that bother you the most, keep going.
Step 3: Make a pledge.
Promise yourself not to keep buying things until you’ve gone through your entire home at least once.
Until then, you don’t really know what you have, so you might wind up buying duplicates—which just become more clutter.
If you can’t avoid bringing home more stuff, practice the “one in, one out” rule by discarding or donating one existing thing for every new item you bring home.
What Organizing Containers to Use
Surprise, I’m not going to try selling you any organizing containers or even tell you to buy any at all!
If your home is cluttered, get rid of the clutter first—you might not need organizing containers at all.
But as you declutter, keep an eye on the things you already have that might make good organizing containers. They don’t need to be aesthetic, at least not at first.
In time, if you want to cover them with contact paper or upgrade to fancy ones, fine.
But start by getting rid of stuff and using what you have, not breaking your no-shopping pledge. That just creates more clutter and guilt. Who needs that?