I can’t tell you how many people have told me that they’re hoarders! I’m convinced, though, that most people are not hoarders – but clutterers. (Got a red line on that one – so I guess clutterers is not a word – but you know exactly what I mean.)
What causes all the clutter? I guess most of us think that it’s because of other people or that we’re naturally unorganized, lazy, pressed for time – or all of the above. Actually, there are many different reasons for clutter and you can fix it!
1. Does it have a place? If things don’t have specific places assigned to them, no one knows where to put things – so they just put them anywhere. Make sue every single thing has a place and keep putting it back in that place (without saying anything) whenever you see it in the wrong area. Sounds obsessive, but pays dividends.
2. Often clutter happens because the system that we’ve set up is too complicated. It takes too many motions to put something away so it’s easier to just stack it up somewhere. In addition, maybe the given location for a certain item is inconvenient. Would a different area make it easier to maintain?
3. You have infrequently used items placed in handy, easy to reach spots. That means that there’s no handy storage space for the things you use all the time. If something is used less often than once a month, or seasonally, get it out of the mainstream and store it in a less accessible area. Note what you have and where you put it so you won’t forget. (Or, use Find Things Fast.com. It’s a great app/website that tells you what you have in your home and where it’s located.)
Here’s a great example. I always liked to be in charge of the laundry. I didn’t like to turn it over to the kids because I wanted things done a particular way. One day I noticed that I was really procrastinating putting away my youngest son’s clothes. I couldn’t understand my resistance and I gave it some serious thought. Here was the dilemma. He had a drawer that was so full of shirts that it was physically difficult to put his clothes away. So, we went through his stash of shirts and pared them down to a desirable amount. Half of them he never wore anyway. What a difference it made! If it’s hard to put something away, you (or anyone else) are not going to do it.
Remember, clutter makes everything take longer. Everything you do everyday takes longer than it needs to – because of clutter.