If the holidays left you feeling cramped and cluttered, you’re not alone. A recent survey found that “…54% of Americans feel overwhelmed by clutter and 78% have no idea what to do with it.” Not exactly the best way to start the new year!
Clutter Causes Stress.
With research indicating that clutter is directly related to elevated stress and anxiety levels, it’s no wonder that depression in America is on the rise. Though clutter is not the sole factor for declining mental-health rates, the unnecessary stress it causes within your home can contribute greatly to the deterioration of your overall well being. Your home should be a sanctuary, not a place that causes you extra worry or sadness.
Though you may recognize the need for organization within your home, most become so overwhelmed by the mess at hand that they feel paralyzed, choosing to just leave it instead of taking it on. Sound familiar? While it may not have taken you a long time to create this mess, it will take a substantial amount of time to clean it. And there’s no harm in that. Accept that this is a work in progress and be content with where you are.
Start slow, end strong.
Start small, building momentum by tackling just a part of your home for a limited amount of time each day. By focusing on one specific area instead of your home as a whole, you will feel empowered by tiny wins, rather than defeated by big losses. American businessman and motivational speaker Chris Gardner once said, “Baby steps count, too, as long as you’re moving forward.”
When sorting through items to clear out, ask yourself if there is a genuine purpose for keeping them. If not, donate them to another person who may find them useful, or toss them altogether if no one will. Organizing guru Marie Kondo says, “The best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: ‘Does this spark joy?’ If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it. This is not only the simplest but also the most accurate yardstick by which to judge.”
Be mindful of what you have, and intentional with what you keep.
Once your home is cleared, the ability to remain organized rests with you and your family, no one else. Be strategic with your belongings, utilizing bins, under-the-bed storage and simple closet solutions to maximize space within your home.
If space is a real issue (for storing larger items such as sports equipment, camping gear or seasonal decor) consider renting a self storage unit nearby. Units are available on a month-to-month basis in various sizes and price ranges, so finding one that meets your needs is simple.
Remain diligent and dedicated.
Remember to continuously look through and revisit items to see if they have a legitimate purpose within your home. Spend an extra 10 to 15 minutes a day focused on problem areas so that clutter doesn’t have the opportunity to just pile up (such as in mudrooms or junk drawers). You can even use a cleaning plan to ensure every part of your home is tended to on a regular basis.
“…what’s between you and your success is yourself.” -Eiza Gonzalez
By tackling small areas at a time, finding a place for everything you own, and regularly seeking opportunities to clean up and out, your home will get organized and stay organized for years to come!
To the newly organized, free-from-clutter, you!