Are certain areas of your home clutter magnets? Just about any open surface seems to be fair game to clutter! If you are like me, you may have spaces that seem to be dumping grounds for clutter like closets and counter tops.
For as long as I can remember, I have always loved decluttering and have made it a regular habit. But even though decluttering and organizing have come naturally to me, I still struggle with daily clutter. The dresser top that I cleared off last week is piled high with clothes on it this week. My desk that I organized last month is overflowing with paperwork yet again!
In an attempt to conquer my clutter issues, I read the popular book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tiding Up. After reading it, I still needed more help dealing with day-to-day clutter. Do you feel the same way?
You are not alone my friend!
In the past, I have always viewed everything but myself as the problem.
~ “We have too much stuff.”
~ “There’s not enough storage in our home.”
~ “My family isn’t organized.”
~ “My son has too many toys.”
You name it, I’ve made the excuse. But then I read the book Make Room for What You Love* by Melissa Michaels, and I realized the problem is my daily habits. This book offers a unique perspective to clutter that I had never heard before. Within the first chapter of this book, I had a light bulb moment that changed the clutter issue in my home starting day one!
Melissa said that clutter accumulates when we delay making decisions. We think we are making it easier on ourselves when we put an item up in the closet or out in the garage instead of dealing with it right away. But when we delay making a decision about something, we are just making it harder for ourselves later.
This is so true! I have a giant kitchen island in the center of my home. It is the usual dumping grounds for things I don’t want to put away or deal with. I delay making decisions about little items here and there and throughout the day the pile grows until I clear it off each night as part of my evening routine.
However this past month, I made it my goal to stop delaying decisions and instead deal with things right away. As soon as I started to put something down on the kitchen counter top, I would stop and deliberately make the decision to put the item away where it belonged instead. Here’s what that looked like.
- I put my sunglasses in my purse instead of leaving them out on the counter.
- After I get home, I hang my purse up in my closet rather than leaving it out.
- The dishes are put into the dishwasher right away instead of sitting in the sink or on the counter top.
- Paper work is filed immediately instead of lying in a pile on the counter.
- Bread and snacks are put in the pantry as soon as we are done with them.
- Groceries are put away right after we get home, and the plastic bags are placed in their holder.
- I put the laundry up when I finish folding it and return the basket to the laundry room.
- Receipts and other little trash items are placed in the garbage can. Recyclables go directly to the recycling container.
Guess what I soon realized?! After doing this for a few days, I didn’t have anything to clear from the counter top at night. Since I was putting things away immediately, my counter top remained clutter free all day! Now, I have one less thing to do each night. Oh yeah!
The second habit that I have been using to conquer clutter is to value my space. We have a dirty little secret in our home that I’m going to share with you. It’s the room we call the “bonus room.” This is the room that we keep closed whenever someone comes over. You know what I’m talking about? Maybe you have one of those rooms too. 🙂
The bonus room is full of “delayed decisions”. If there is ever anything we are not sure what to do with, we send it to the bonus room.
Clothes don’t fit any more? Put it in the bonus room. Furniture we can’t use? Bonus room! You get the picture.
For the past year, my husband and I have said that we want to convert the room into a guest bedroom, but there has always been too much junk in there. Until now!
After reading Melissa’s book, Make Room for What You Love*, I realized that I wasn’t valuing the space that room had to offer. Instead, it was simply storing junk that we didn’t know what to do with. So last month, my husband and I decided to start valuing the room, and little-by-little we have been getting rid of the clutter that has taken up so much valuable space.
We donated a couch to charity, gave away 3 garbage bags full of clothes, passed along a couple of floor shelves, and threw out a broken glider. Whew! It felt SO good to free up that space. We still have a ways to go but, we are getting much closer to making it the guest bedroom that we have wanted it to be.
When we value our spaces and clearly define how each area should be used, we automatically realize what is clutter and what needs to go.
As a recap, here are the 2 habits that are helping me deal with daily clutter.
- Making decisions right away. I have heard people refer to this as the “touch it once” rule. Touch it one time and put it where it belongs instead of setting it down and picking it up again to deal with later.
- Valuing the spaces in my home. Instead of letting unnecessary clutter fill up a space and make it unusable, I value that area of my home enough to only put necessary items in that space.