Clutter is a thief we have invited into our home. It robs us of peace, joy, money and time. It has a detrimental effect on our mental wellbeing, our creativity, productivity and causes brain fog and fatigue. Research shows that clutter increases stress, anxiety, and depression. It is impossible to relax when there is clutter because your brain must process everything continually.
Conquering clutter is possible! Decluttering doesn’t have to be a giant project in which everything in the house is pulled out, every item touched and decided on in a weekend. Decluttering is not just getting rid of unwanted items. It is about developing new habits and systems and sticking to them to prevent clutter from taking over again.
Have a plan. What area causes you the most stress? Start there. How much time can you spend decluttering in that area? Be realistic. If you can do ten minutes a day, great! Do not make goals you cannot achieve. You will end up discouraged. Little bits of time each day or each week does make a difference!
You will need three boxes, one for trash, one for donate, one for relocate. If you have ten minutes, choose one drawer or one small section of the room. Set your timer for the time you have predetermined. Trash, toss it. Be brutal. Donate things that are useable and in good shape. Don’t make Goodwill take your junk to the dump. Anything that you are keeping that doesn’t belong in that area goes in the relocate box. Don’t take those things somewhere else until you are done. That is how you end up bouncing all over the house and never getting anything done. Never pull out more than you can put back in your allotted time!
Look at your now decluttered area. What do you need to do to keep it that way? If we do not change our habits, then it will go back to the way it was in no time.
You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.
Habits of an uncluttered home:
Everything needs a home, and everything needs to live in its home.
Don’t put it down, put it away.
Do it now. NOT later.
Make decluttering a daily habit.
Never leave a room empty handed.
Only touch it once.
Take the trash out, relocate things to their proper homes and take the donate box to the car. Do NOT leave it in your car for three months. It would be better to throw it all away than have mobile clutter!
Your clutter is someone else’s blessing. Get the clutter out, calm the chaos with new habits, welcome in the peace and bless others in need at the same time.
In the mid nineteenth century thousands of people journeyed west taking everything they had with them in a covered wagon. The covered wagon was the mivivan of the emigrant trails. It’s hard to picture just how much stuff you could fit in a covered wagon, but I am pretty sure it wasn’t a lot. I can’t imagine getting many of my possessions in a minivan or even suburban, along with the kids and dog.
I am going to go ahead and guess that the pioneers of that time didn’t have a clutter problem. There were no “storage marts” or Pod containers to rent. Clutter is an issue that we created later on. An issue that has come at a cost!
The problem: we put more value on our stuff than on our space.
So just how much does your clutter cost? Clutter costs us in more than just dollars but lets just talk about the dollars to start.
23% of people in America have a bedroom that is not being used for anything except to store clutter. 70% of the clutter in that room has not been used in 10 years. 20% of people can not use their garage for it’s purpose, a car, because it is too full of clutter.
Let’s figure the cost of the space being used. Say you have a 2000 sq ft home that is worth 400k. (That number is ridiculously low where I live but we are just going to use that number.) Take the cost of your home divided by the square footage. In this case $200 per square foot. If you are using a small 10’x10′ bedroom for your clutter then the clutter in that room is taking up 20K !!! Now let’s assume the garage is a very small two car garage, 20’x20′, 400 square feet, that equals 80k! One hundred thousand dollars of your home is being used to contain clutter!!!! That is absolutely mind blowing!!
Not only do we store clutter in our homes but we rent storage units to store our clutter as well. In the U.S., 65% of self-storage renters have a garage in their home, 47% have an attic, and 33% have a basement. This suggests that Americans have more things than their homes allow them…in other words, clutter. The average storage unit costs appoximately $150 a month, often more than that. Plus you need to pay renters insurance to cover the contents of the unit. That is a minimun of $1800 per year to house clutter.
We are now very aware of how expensive it is to keep our clutter. We haven’t even mentioned how much it cost us to aquire it in the first place…which is ironically the reason many people continue to pay more money to keep the clutter.
What other ways does our clutter cost us? Time for one. Did you know that we spend about one whole year of our lives looking for something we have lost or misplaced? If our homes are cluttered it is easy to lose things and harder to find them. Clutter makes everything take longer. Too many clothes makes it harder and takes longer to find something to wear. Too many piles of mail makes it hard to find that important paper you need. Too many knick knacks makes it too hard to dust easily. Losing your keys in clutter on the counter can cause you to be late.
Clutter costs us Space, like the bedroom full of clutter. That space could be used for a grandchild’s sleepover or a friend coming from out of town. It could be used as an office or a sewing/hobby room. Clutter robs us of those opportunities because it takes up space. It isnt that we dont have enough room… we have too much stuff.
Clutter takes more energy. Clutter has to be worked around, moved, shoved back, and dealt with in someway. Clutter makes 40% more housework and makes it more difficult as welll. First you have to clean….before you can clean!
Clutter affects our memory and our focus. Did you know that clutter affects your brain? Our brains like order, and constant visual reminders of disorganization drain our cognitive resources, meaning our brains have to constantly “do something” with what it is seeing. Clutter is like an app running in the background. We aren’t able to give other things our full attention, reducing our ability to focus. The visual distraction of clutter increases cognitive overload and can reduce our working memory.
Sleep is also affected when there is clutter. Clutter causes stress in your brain, because it has to continually process it. Stress raises cortisol which makes hard to sleep, makes us gain weight, causes anxiety, and many other physical issues. Research has shown that being in a messy room will make you twice as likely to eat a chocolalte bar than an apple and people with extremely cluttered homes are 77% more likely to be overweight.
Happiness and relationships are affected by clutter. All those things just mentioned are going to have a toll on our mental well being which in turn affects all our relationships.
Our home is not just a storage space. Our home is supposed to be our refuge from the world and stress around us. It is supposed to be our “happy place”.
So next time you are tempted to just toss those jeans that don’t fit in the extra bedroom… maybe take them to a charity instead. You will be accomplishing two good things at once.
Make a desicion to spend 15 minutes each day “decluttering”. Getting rid of clutter doesn’t have to be an event! Make it a habit!
One of the best ways to win the war with clutter is not bringing it home. Think about your purchases carefully. Do you really need it? Do you have a home for it? What do you need to get rid of if you buy it?
Things to remember as you go about your home. “Don’t put it down, put it away.” “Everything has a home and everything in its home.” “Don’t touch anything twice, put it where it belongs the first time.”
You can have a clutter free house! You deserve that. Do it for your wallet, your time, your energy, your brain, your health, your happiness and for your family! Don’t let clutter rob you anymore!
Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Decluttering. This time of year everyone is talking about decluttering, organizing, starting fresh. But how do you know what to get rid of? It can be confusing and honestly exhausting making decision after decision on what to keep, donate and throw away!
I have come up with a scenario that really helps make those decisions easier! At least it works for me. It kinda takes my compassionate side and uses it for my “stuff”!
Everything is created for a purpose. Every pen, every dish, every shirt, every shoe, every animal, and every human. Everything has a reason and a purpose.
"The Lord has made everything for its purpose..." ~Proverbs 16:4
As you look at your things, consider their purpose. Are they fulfilling it? Are the pair of shoes still in the box, are they fulfilling their purpose? Are they happily doing what they were meant to do? Making their wearer happy and comfortable.
Has the worn T-shirt with the hole in it completed its purpose? If so, it is time to let it go with gratitude.
“If you’re not using the stuff in your home, get rid of it. You’re not going to start using it more by shoving it in a closet somewhere.” ― Joshua Becker
Try to imagine your possessions having life. No, I’m not crazy, they aren’t alive, I know that. But they were made to be used and appreciated and not shunned to live in a box under a bed in a spare room. They are intended to give someone joy. If we shove them under a bed they are not doing their job. We are not allowing them to serve and fulfill their purpose.
In Toy Story 3, Andy no longer plays with his toys and they are put in the attic. The toys are distraught! Woody writes a note to Andy (wouldn’t that be great if your things could tell you what and where they want to be?! ) and asks if they could be given to a little girl named Bonnie. Bonnie would love them and give them the attention they deserved.
It may seem silly giving imaginary life to your possessions but it is very helpful in determining what to keep, what to sell, donate and throw away. Because in this scenario, it’s not just about what you want. It takes some pressure off of you by “asking your things” what they want. Where are they going to fulfill their purpose? Are you going to use them? Would someone else appreciate them more than you do? Have they served their purpose and need to be gratefully let go?
Start looking at everything you have as having “life”, having a purpose, and deserving respect and gratitude. Changing our mindset in this way about the things we own makes the decision-making process of decluttering so much easier and almost fun! Just think of all the people you can make happy by letting go of things that no longer serve YOU but can be a huge blessing to them!
“The crowds asked him, ‘What then should we do?’ He answered, ‘Whoever has two shirts must share with the one who has none, and whoever has food must do the same.'” ~Luke 3:10-11
Not only will you benefit from a clutter-free home by letting go of the things that are not serving their purpose in your house, but God blesses those that are generous with their belongings. It is a win-win situation!
"Generous persons will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed."
Give yourself the gift of an uncluttered home, bless someone else with the things that are no longer serving their purpose at your house, and retire those things that are no longer useful.
We all know someone whose home we are in awe of. That home that always seems to be perfectly clean no matter when you drop in.
How do they do that? What kind of magic is it?! Their magic is in their habits!
Here is a list of habits that I have compiled that people with clean homes do. If you would like to have a home that is always in a state of “near company ready”, try adopting these habits.
Put it back, don’t put it down. When working on a project or even just writing a note or curling your hair, put it all away before you walk away.
Declutter. Live more with less. A home with less “stuff” gets less messy. You can’t clean clutter.
Everything has a home and everything in it’s home. If it doesn’t have a home, either make a home or toss it. Just like habit number one says, put it back. Always return things to their proper home.
Always make your bed. There are so many good reasons to make your bed, but most importantly it makes the room look better even if that is all that is done.
Empty the dishwasher ASAP. A dishwasher full of clean dishes is a sure fire way to have dishes left in the sink.
Never leave dishes in the sink. See above! Dishes in the sink spreads to dishes on the counter, none of which looks tidy. Your sink is just like your bed but in the kitchen. If it looks nice it helps the rest of the room look nice.
Never leave a room empty-handed. When walking about the house, always take a look around before leaving a room and notice if there is something that needs to go to the room you are going to. I have a saying…”Always improve the room you are in, even if it’s just a smile.” If you can’t find anything out of place in a room, just smile and make it a happy place to be!
Do it now! Don’t wait to pick up that receipt that fell on the garage floor, do it now. Don’t wait to hang up your coat, do it now. Don’t wait to sort through today’s mail, do it now… most of it goes in the trash anyway! Most things take far less time to do than we think.
Work smart, not hard. Clean the shower while you are in it. Keep cleaners where you will need them. Clean the fridge one shelf at a time instead of all at once. Use a shared app with the family for groceries and to do lists. Cozi is my favorite! Check it out here!
Do a load of laundry a day. Small loads of laundry done daily are much more manageable than mountains of laundry done on the weekends.
Reset. Before bed, before leaving the house, after the kids go to school or go down for a nap, Reset! Reset the room. Fix blankets and pillows on the couch, straighten books on the coffee table, put the slippers or shoes in the basket, and straighten the rug. Make it a beautiful place to come back to.
Respect your home and the people in it. Even if you don’t care about your coat on the couch or dishes in the sink, someone else does. A clean home is a peaceful home. Respect each other by picking up after yourself and helping out. Teach your children this from the time they are young. Even if it’s not our favorite thing to do, we do it to show respect and kindness to each other.
There ya have it! I hope you can pick up a few of those habits to help you have a super clean and happy home too!
Hey Friends! I have been using this CBD oil for quite some time now and I am loving the results! It helps a lot with the pain I have in my neck from some surgeries, it helps with keeping emotions in check because let’s be real…hormones can do a number on us ladies and this really helps! It helps keep me be calmer and able to handle the stress of a bunch of toddlers daily. It also helps me sleep well.
Below is a link where you can check it out! Please feel free to message me with questions!
Boxes. Cardboard boxes. Sometimes taped together to make a particular shape. A shoebox, a cereal box cut to the right height, toilet paper tubes taped together.
When I was newly married we had next to nothing. Then we had three children and had even less. But we managed! I didn’t have money to spend on Rubbermaid boxes or cute baskets to organize my things. It really never crossed my mind! I just made do with what I had to organize our things. So cardboard, packing tape, and yogurt containers were often used as “organizational tools”.
I share this to say, don’t wait until you can find the right baskets or till you can afford the containers for the pantry. Declutter, see what you have left, decide what shape and size things you need and then find a shoe box or a salad bowl and use that for now. Write down in your notes in your phone the exact size etc of the things you need. Next time you are at Walmart or Target you know exactly what you are looking for. Do not buy a bunch of cute baskets and wooden boxes before you know what you need!
You don’t need money to organize. If you never get the perfect basket and your bathroom is primarily organized by shoe boxes and packing tape…. guess what?! It’s still organized. Currently, the drawer that holds my cleanser, moisturizer, deodorant, contacts and the like is completely coordinated with boxes taped together to make dividers. Classy, right?! At least it is organized!
I am sure by now you all have heard of Marie Kondo. If you haven’t, she is a Japanese woman with an incredible amount of wisdom about decluttering and living a simple clean life. I will link her book here. You can click on the image to order from Amazon if you are interested! She has a show on Netflix called “Tidying Up”.
She does suggest that you do huge decluttering sessions and I don’t find that very feasible. As much as I would LIKE to do that I don’t have a lot of time for that and I don’t imagine you do either.
Declutter in a small area every day. Instead of putting off decluttering at all until you have time to pull everything out of each room of the house, I suggest doing little bits every day or as often as possible. Yes, it will take a long while to get through everything, but at least you will be making progress.
Decluttering is not a one and done. Hopefully next time you declutter and reorganize the junk drawer it will be much better, but you are going to have to do it again.
If you have the time and inclination to go all out… don’t have the kids at home, have pizza planned for dinner and have help! The likelihood of becoming overwhelmed is very possible so it is imperative to have a friend to help you.
Don’t start it if you can’t finish it! Don’t pull everything out of a dresser or the kitchen cupboards if you only have an hour to do it. Make sure you have the time to completely finish. Take it out, sort it, put it back, bag up garbage and take it to the trash, bag up donations and take them to a thrift store or charity of your choice. Do NOT leave donations in a bag in the living room or by the front door. Get it out! Decluttering is supposed to make your home less chaotic and more peaceful. A pile of junk left on the kitchen table when you got tired of doing it, is just the opposite.
Here is a super great article on what NOT to do when decluttering! Check it out!
I have a guilty pleasure. I get tremendous enjoyment from watching “Hoarders” and immense satisfaction watching them clean up all that junk. At first, it’s like a train wreck and you can’t look away. Then you want to shake the person and say “You don’t deserve to live like this!”! The cleaning process begins and it is amazing to see what is under all that garbage. You can see that at one time they had a beautiful home!
Unfortunately, I am sure that without a lot of intense counseling those people will go right back to living in filth. Somewhere in their lives, they decided that they weren’t worth anything but garbage…. and lots of it.
I am not suggesting that any one of us has a problem even remotely like this! If you did, you probably wouldn’t be here reading this. A lot of us do struggle with excess stuff though.
Let me tell you right now that no matter what life has handed you, you are worth more than your junk, your clutter, and garbage. You are a daughter or son of God! He wants the very best for you.
If you are drowning in “stuff” and find it hard to get rid of, I want you to ask yourself when it was that you decided that you didn’t deserve a nice clean home. If it is really a difficult challenge for you I strongly encourage counseling. Sometimes it’s fear. Fear of letting go of things because of the fear of not being provided for. Sometimes it is surrounding ourselves with a layer of stuff so we are protected from hurt. Our minds do funny things while trying to protect us. Without some help to learn to forgive, let go and heal it will continue to be an issue and keep you from being the best you can be! Therapy is for everyone because this is am an imperfect world full of imperfect people!
I read an article by The Minimalists called “Decluttering Doesn’t Work”. I will link it here. They talk about what happens if we don’t address the “why”. If the reasons we have our clutter don’t go away then getting rid of it won’t help. We will just find ourselves replacing our “pacifiers” as they call it.
When we remove our possessions we have to face who we really are. What is really important to us? Are material things so essential? Where does our happiness come from? Who are we without anything? Some pretty deep questions to consider and some serious soul searching to do!
Every single one of us deserves to come home at night to a well organized, clean, healthy, safe house. Not just certain people, not just rich people, not just other people. YOU! Your home is your castle, your refuge and a place of peace.
This is the reason and the passion behind this blog. I want to make that clean, organized dream home come true for everyone! YOU deserve it! So…. on with decluttering and maybe some inner cleansing as well.
If you are part of the VIP Self Cleaning House Facebook group, I hope you are enjoying the daily challenges! If you aren’t, please enter your email to follow my blog and you will get an invite!
We are going to start this year off with a bang! We are going to focus on DECLUTTERING!!!! I am sooooo stinkin excited guys! I am doing this right along with you! We are going to toss, donate, rehome and classify!
So what exactly IS clutter? Clutter isn’t just that stack of last weeks mail on the counter and the pile of magazines that you just haven’t had time to read yet. Although those things ARE clutter, there are so many more things that are clutter.
clutter (klʌtəʳ )
Word forms: 3rd person singular present tense clutters , present participle cluttering , past tense, past participle cluttered
Clutter is anything that makes your space too crowded or busy and causes stress, anxiety or confusion. Clutter is unnecessary and drags you down, even if you don’t realize it. It can be too many pictures hanging on the wall, too many clothes in the closet, excess Christmas decorations, an entire shoebox full of nail polish….and you get your nails done at a salon. Too many lipsticks, phone apps or salt and pepper shaker collections. It can be too many projects, sports activities or even the wrong people.
You can try to organize clutter, but it is guaranteed to turn to chaos the minute you turn your back. Organized clutter is ….still clutter. The only way to truly organize and KEEP a clean and tidy home is to get rid of the clutter!
Clutter not only is an eyesore and an annoyance. Did you know that clutter actually affects our health, our choices, and our relationships? Clutter actually makes you tired. Your brain is forced to deal with every item you see. It is like a program running in the background that is making decisions and choices and using energy to do so.
I listened to these podcasts over again this week. There is an incredible amount of wisdom here! I can’t say enough about Chalene Johnson! A former “messy person” she knows what it is like and how to go about changing it. She has so many tips for getting rid of “stuff” and keeping your things organized. You can be free of the mess and clutter that prevents you from having the life you want!
If you are new to podcasts these are a great first! I am obsessed with listening to podcasts whenever I get the chance! I listen to them at 1 1/2x speed so that I can fit more in! Learning from people that have more wisdom than you do is….wise!
Proverbs 2:2 “So that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding.”
Proverbs 3:13 “Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding.”
Please take the time to listen to these podcasts! They are exciting and uplifting. Listen while you are putting your make up on, doing your hair, driving to work. What a great way to start your day, filling your mind with good ideas, positive thoughts, life hacks, and wisdom!
I don’t know about you but I am really looking forward to going through my house again (yes, again…. decluttering is not a “one and done”, it is an ongoing process) and digging even deeper this time! It is so freeing!
I hate belongings. I hate clutter. It really bothers me because I can’t think properly. If you’ve got distractions in front of you, your mind goes nuts. ~ Simon Cowell