Clutter and what you can do about it

Am I the only person who hates clutter? In a house with 7 people – survey says yes. But surely I’m not the only one in the world? 5 of those said people aren’t even old enough to vote.

 

Clutter makes me feel…

Crazy. You know when you JUST put something down and the clutter ate it? Why in the world are the scissors in the refrigerator? How did THAT get THERE? Too many questions are started by clutter.

My mind gets disorganized too, and I’m already terribly distractable.

Clutter also begets clutter…

You didn’t know that? We are the proud owners of at least 6 pairs of scissors. Why? Because I can’t find the scissors! I couldn’t tell you how many flashlights we own. Where do we keep all this stuff? All over the place. Which means that it gets lost again. Then we buy it again. Which means we have more STUFF.

And it’s all a vicious cycle!

Clutter is the anti thesis of organization.

Especially with the holidays coming up it’s time to get it all under control. I can’t wait for the day the Monster Squad is old enough to really help. Actually I can. Monster 1 was born last year and will be 11 years old in a matter of months. It’s all going way too fast. And I’m kind of a control freak. I’m the wife who harassed her husband into helping around the house for months. Then told him to go watch TV because he wasn’t doing it “right”.  (Sorry Stephen!)

Back to the battle though.

A failure to plan is a plan to fail. So we have to get our game plan together. Pick a room any room. I would suggest a small one to start with so you get that accomplished feeling quicker and don’t lose your momentum right out of the gate. Now you need laundry baskets. That is one of the things we can’t have enough of. Besides being a 7 people household, I use them to cart every thing. Including monsters and beasts. Collect everything you need to get that room clean and put it in the baskets too. My staples are usually a duster, spray Lysol, and disinfectant wipes. You’ll need a broom and dustpan too but they can’t ride in the basket. I have taught the zoo that there are 3 steps to cleaning a room.

1. Pick up.

This is just putting everything where it belongs. If it doesn’t belong in that room, put it in a basket. Do not leave the room yet though! You’ll end up seeing something else that needs to be done and the next thing you know you’re outside burning a brush pile and the room is still a mess. With laundry baskets of stuff in it now too.

2. Wipe down.

Anything that needs to be wiped or dusted. Counters, dishes, mirrors, cabinets, toilet, what ever. Now is the time to make it shine. Any thing that needs to go through the wash machine should be put in a basket too. Curtains, towels, duvet, comforters, etc.

3. Floors.

Sweep and you’re done! Until it’s time to mop, but I mop all the floors at once.

Before you move on to the next room though you want to go through your basket. Divide all that stuff up into 3 baskets, one to keep, one to donate, and one for trash. Obviously, the last one goes to the trash can. The first one needs everything at least put in the room it belongs in if you don’t have the time to put it where it goes right this second. The second place in a box or bag to donate. You could also be dividing the things up as you go. For bigger rooms this would be easier but in a small room, like the bathroom, one basket is easier to maneuver around than 3.

Donation.

This basket gets its own heading because it can be so complicated. Trash is obvious. If it’s broken, toss it. I don’t want to hear “Oh, but I could fix it!” If you were going to fix it you would have already. Fix it now, right this minute, or toss it. The donation basket can get complicated because it may be perfectly good stuff. But if you aren’t using it- it needs to go. If you don’t love it – it needs to go. I don’t mean like it. I mean love it. If looking at it doesn’t make you happy then it’s just there to take up space. We are de cluttering because we don’t have enough space. Love it, use it, or lose it. Do you really need 3 hoodies? How about all those scissors? If you don’t use it at least every 6 months then give it to someone else who may actually need it. Stuff is just stuff after all.

Now go handle all the emergencies that occurred while you took your eyes off the zoo for 30 minutes. Are you back yet? Great! Pick the next room! Don’t think you have to get it all done in one day,or even one weekend. Do pick a dead line though. Goals help get things done. I usually need at least a week to get the entire house done. 2 weeks minimum after Christmas when the zoo has collected even more stuff.

Make a plan.

Sorry, but this is not a “one and done” deal. It’s an ongoing process. You will need a plan. Aside from every day pick up, we usually have a big over haul twice a year. A maintenance cleaning out is usually done about 3 months later.

How do you keep the clutter at bay? Any ideas or suggestions leave a comment below!

 

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