Tips to Help Reduce Clutter
I think we all agree that we don't have to live with clutter. But clutter seems to be a by-product of living. Fortunately, some clutter is recyclable - and all is disposable in one way or another.
Learning to recycle and dispose of unnecessary and unusable items is an admirable character quality. If you don't have it, let that be one of your goals in life.
Clutter doesn't necessarily equate to being a dirty housekeeper - It means that things are out of place, stored and saved after you no longer need them.
Clutter consists of goods and products, and items which need repairs that you will never get around to using. Instead of throwing these things away or recycling, you save it/hoard it- Whatever you want to call it. People that do this will never live a clutter-free life.
Learn To Recycle Clutter
A good time to make choices between trash and treasures is bi-annually during your early spring and late fall deep cleanings. If you remember that one man's trash is another man's treasure, it's easier to make the choice between things that actually do have some life left and those that are hopelessly beyond repair.
"Pack up all your cares and woes," oops. We mean, pick up your empty plastic bottles, glass bottles, cardboard cartons, milk cartons, slick paper magazines, and all the rest.
Make that trip to the recyclers that you've been planning on. You probably don't need to make a special trip; just plan to stop when you're heading out to shop or have another destination and you can conveniently drop by the recycling center.
Toss the Junk
If it can't be repaired and used, throw it out.
Go through your kitchen drawers, your work room, your garage. In fact, I'm willing to bet if you open one of your kitchen drawers right now, you'll no doubt find a spatula with a melted handle or one that is scarred and rusted beyond belief. What in the world are you saving it for?
Go through the closets in your hallway, bedrooms, laundry room, pantry - every cubby where you naturally stick stuff to get it out of sight. If you can, carry a trash can with you; if not, use a sturdy trash bag.
Quell your sentimental instincts; be unrelenting and unrepentant in throwing away each and every item that cannot be used by anybody. The goal is clutter-free and organized storage space where you can actually find necessary items when you need them.
We usually strive for tolerance- but there's no room for tolerance if you want to be clutter-free. When in doubt, throw it out.
Eliminate Hidden Clutter
Clutter can overtake the kitchen.
Seriously. Open a cupboard door. See if you don't have an opened package of something - cereal, snack chips, crackers, cookies, cornmeal - that has become stale and may even be past its pull date. Opened boxes of cereal and grains are breeding grounds for weevils.
Nothing is more repulsive than shaking out breakfast cereal into a bowl and find it teeming with crawly little wormy things. Yuk.
When you open a package and you know you won't be using all of the contents, be sure to re-wrap it carefully and securely to prevent pests from being able to get in. Likewise, if the pests have come in with the grain, they won't be able to get out to infest the rest of your food.
Make Tough Choices
- Make the tough choices. There's very little justification for clinging to broken or worn out tools for "sentimental" reasons. (If it was your dad's old hand drill with a crank, mount it on a wall of your garage as an antique display.)
- Go through your clothes closets and dispose of outworn, outgrown and outdated garments - even though you just loved that dress. If they are still stylish and wearable, either donate them to a needy shelter or recycle through a consignment shop.
- Go through kitchen drawers; throw out utensils that are bent of out shape, have melted handles or are otherwise damaged.
- Go through your pantry. Check opened and unopened packages of food products for pull dates. If the date expired months ago, you're probably better off to throw it out. Certainly, you can conclude it's not a product you eat all that often.
- Check opened boxes of cereal, grains and pasta. Be sure they aren't supporting alien life-forms.
- Go through your garage. If the recycle containers are full to over-flowing, don't procrastinate any longer. Make the trip to the recycle center. Be sure to take along any old tools or appliances that might be repairable.
Learning To Live Clutter-Free
Bad habits are easy to make and hard to break. Good habits are hard to make, but easy to break.
The truth is, you don't have to work hard at making bad habits - they are usually formed quite easily - by procrastinating, sloughing off, being careless, and (dare I say it?) irresponsible.
On the other hand, good habits are hard to come by because they require a sense of responsibility and a four letter word - WORK. However, after you've mastered good habits that reduce clutter in your life and your home, you become free - with more spare time, less stress, less waste and a healthy and clean home environment.