January 18, 2013

Clutter | Does it ever end?

A very common topic that comes up when I am speaking with others about home decor and organization is clutter control. No matter how hard we try, it seems to never fully go away. I admit that I am constantly working on getting rid of clutter in my own home and it is still always there. I've just gotten good at hiding it.

Last year, I embarked on a decluttering adventure beginning in January. I documented my experiences, including before and after pictures all the way through April. I quit documenting the decluttering process only because taking the pictures, editing them and typing up a post each week was very time consuming. The actual decluttering was not. It was a very simple process and one I'd recommend again in a heartbeat. If you struggle in this area, go visit Beth at My Simpler Life right now. She has an awesome decluttering calendar that breaks it down week by week. I've said this before and I stand behind it 100% today, it is extremely difficult to have a comfortable, pretty and functional home when it is consumed with clutter. I say it in love, but it is true.

My number one tip on keeping clutter under control is to recycle, donate, throw away, get rid of stuff you do not use or need! I admit because we move every 1 to 3 years, I am forced to do this much more often than the average person. I grew up as a packrat, but I have absolutely zero qualms about getting rid of things anymore.

If you don't need it, don't even bring it in the house. Don't accept free samples, gifts, leftover craft supplies, etc. I am extremely tempted by these things. But you know what happens when I do bring home those free samples, leftover craft supplies, or things other people are getting rid of? They sit in my bathroom drawer unused or in a box on the top shelf of our school closet or worse.... they create clutter in my home. I don't need that and you don't either. Just say no to free stuff!! (Unless you will really, truly use it.)

Bring one in, take one out. Better yet, bring one in, take TWO out. This goes for clothing, toys, shoes, dishes, appliances, etc. We let Christmas win this year, but I still very much intend to get this done by the end of January. For every toy my kids received, we will be donating at LEAST one. (hopefully more) We weed through the kids' clothing regularly and send outgrown items to family members or to the thrift shop. I used to save it just in case, but I no longer do that. I do keep a few very sentimental pieces of clothing that belonged to my children, but certainly not everything. * One exception to this would be if you have the space and you know without a doubt there will be a sibling coming up that could use this clothes, go ahead and store it away. I am all for saving money!

So there are my top three tips for cutting back clutter. It isn't easy and it's not always fun, but the result is so, so worth it. Having a clutter free home creates serenity and a place of refuge from our otherwise chaotic life. Take the time to invest in the peace of your family!