Lynn Berger
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Getting a Handle on the Household Clutter

by Lynn Berger 09/22/2019

The car, entryway, stairs, hallways, bedrooms, closets and cupboards—wherever you look, there it is. Clutter! You dream of life minus the piles, boxes, and bags of stuff. Onto the internet, you go to find that magic formula, the perfect system to tame that clutter chaos. Once in place, you believe your life will be one smooth ride. Four hours later, you have tons of information and pictures of neat ideas, and you are; overwhelmed. Mentally throwing in the towel, you move on with your day and wish the clutter would sort and organize itself.

Reality Bites

Well, welcome to the real world with your glorious clutter. Don’t despair. You CAN tame the piles of papers, clothing, bags and other items. You will need to break it down into smaller bits and pieces. Everyone loves a dramatic overhaul that, through time-lapse camera work, happens almost instantly. In reality, changing the clutter habits that created the chaos takes time and strategy. Start in a couple of areas that irritate you the most. 

Start small

Pick one or two places clutter accumulates to start the decluttering adventure. For example, place a basket near the entryway to catch the keys as people enter. It will eliminate the jumble of keys in other places around the house and also the frantic looking for keys as you try to leave the house. Another idea is placing a small trash bin where people come in from outside so any trash they have, such as fast food wrappers, cups or junk mail, can go straight into the garbage. No system will succeed if you don’t have the cooperation of those who contribute to the clutter. Have a brief discussion with the other household members about the desire for a more organized and tidier environment. Enlist their help in finding ideas that can reduce clutter. When you involve them, they are more likely to find changing their habits easier.

Real life rhythms

Only keep systems and routines that work over the long run. Remember to keep it simple and low or no maintenance. The goal is to create order and increase enjoyment of your space. Consider the whole household and how you all function on a daily level. Each person has individual habits, and a household its own rhythm. Each system you implement must fit your household rhythm. So, think of the big picture when putting your anti-clutter routines together. As the new systems begin to become habit make sure to celebrate your efforts to tame the clutter chaos. Make sure to check out ideas for clutter reduction when you browse through your next open house.

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