parenting

Clutter Control: Freeing Yourself From a Cluttered Home

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Clutter Control—Ask a dozen people what drives them crazy around their house, besides their spouse, and chances are most will mention clutter high on the list. If it's not a universal irritant, it's surely an all-American one.

The Consequences of Clutter:

  • You can't find things, and you waste time looking for them, over and over again.
  • Any sense of beauty or order in a room is out of the question.
  • You're continually stymied trying to complete simple daily tasks, just to name a few.

No matter how we’re personally afflicted by clutter, most of us already have some idea what to do about it. If you have too much stuff, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that you’ll have to reduce the volume of it in some way. But even after you’ve gotten rid of as much as you’re willing to, you’ve still got to organize what’s left, or the mountain starts to grow again.

The idea is to take the germ of the solution that you already know, feed it, give it light and air, and let it bloom. That’s one of the goals of this series – to give you confidence and encouragement – to move you to action so you put your hunches to work.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re a clutterer. You’re not alone. And this situation isn’t a lot different from trying to lose a few pounds. People certainly know that it would be helpful to change their eating habits and exercise more. However, just being armed with these sterling facts does not make the pounds drop off in awe. The hard work is putting what you know into practice. That’s why diet books are so popular. Many, many people would dearly love to find a system that makes losing weight easy and palatable: something – anything – that will take the work out of losing weight. Or that will deliver the willpower necessary for the undertaking. Or that will give us the encouragement we need. Or that will just teach us how to prepare food that tastes so good we’ll hardly notice we’re dieting.

Likewise with clutter. Getting rid of clutter is like putting your house on a diet. But just wanting to get rid of it won’t make it happen. It can be painful to let go of our material goods. We may view them as a reflection of our lives and of our very impact while here on earth. They enhance our feelings of self-worth and security. They can represent our memories of family, loved ones, and days gone by.

So a big part of ourselves may not want any part of a household uncluttering project, thank you, despite the fact that the clutter is driving us crazy. At some level, uncluttering appears to be asking us to throw a chunk of ourselves away. Hence one of the reasons for an impasse over clutter: It torments us and we have a good idea of what to do about it, yet remedies appear to threaten some basic feelings about ourselves and our world. So we do nothing – but watch, helplessly, as the clutter, in blissful ignorance, piles higher and spreads wider.

What you’re passing up by clinging to all this stuff are a number of substantial payoffs: a wonderful sense of freedom; an ability (and the time) to manage your daily life; a capacity to live more in the present; an appreciation of a more beautiful home environment; and a more productive life. Imagine how great it would be if you didn’t have the feeling that your home is running you instead of the other way around. Imagine everything in your house being in its rightful place. Imagine that you could find something when you needed it – not after an exasperating search or by accident a week later.

This is just the beginning of our Clutter Control series. Follow along with me each week for the next 13 weeks as we work through the Rules of Clutter Control. These rules can apply to all manner of households, regardless of their size, number of occupants, or magnitude of clutter. Brace yourself for the sense of freedom coming your way, and I’ll see you next week to introduce Rule #1.

What are simple ways to help keep your house clutter free and under control?

Debbie Sardone Debbie Sardone is the founder of Cleaning For a Reason which provides free cleaning services to women who are touched by cancer.  She also owns a Dallas cleaning service.

Her long-time passion for teaching cleaning and organizational has lead her to continue the legacy of Speed Cleaning and the use of green cleaning products.

She can be followed as @DebbieSardone on Twitter.

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