There’s no two ways about it — mess creates stress.
A cluttered home can lead to a cluttered mind and a cluttered life. It can make us feel anxious, embarrassed, and even guilty. That’s why you should be getting rid of clutter every opportunity you get.
To help you, we’ve put together our ultimate guide to getting rid of clutter. Starting with why clutter bothers us so much and why we shouldn’t let it get out of hand.
The Psychology of Clutter
You’re not crazy for feeling like you’re going crazy in a cluttered home. There are psychological reasons clutter gets to us so much.
This is because part of how well our brains work is based on our environmental stimuli. This can be any of the senses but most often visual, tactile, and olfactory smells are those that come from clutter.
These stimuli can overload our senses and bombard us, making us feel overwhelmed and on edge. The same stimuli also distract us from our main focus which can lead to a lack of productivity. This excessive stimuli tells our brain we’re not done, so we find it difficult to relax, even if we’re being unproductive.
All of this adds up. It leaves us feeling guilty because of our lack of productivity or cleanliness. It also makes us anxious and stressed because we can’t relax.
Now you understand the negative effects clutter can have on your psyche, you know how important it is to get rid of clutter.
There’s only one way to do it and it all starts with a plan.
A lot of guides will tell you to start buying organizers and so on straight away, but we’re going against the grain on this.
Before that, you need a plan. After all, what use are all the organizers if you have no idea what to put in them or where to put them.
Take the time to plan your space. Your junk and clutter aren’t going anywhere!
By this we mean, look at what storage options you have whether that’s in the basement, the loft, or the closet.
Ask yourself, how much room is left in them? Am I making the best possible use of this room? Could I clear out things from in here too?
From here you can strategize on where you’ll begin your next step — the purge!
The purge is both the best and worst part of getting rid of clutter.
It’s the worst because it’s most often the job that takes the longest. So we naturally want to put it off for as long as possible.
But once it’s done, you get that amazing sense of relief that it’s over. Which is why it’s also the best part!
Your planning should help you here. A good general rule of thumb is to tackle a room at a time. Otherwise, you’ll just end up moving junk from room to room and never actually clearing anything.
We guarantee you there are some things in every single room you can get rid of. You just need to be brutal about what you pick.
You can take the Marie Kondo approach to this if you like. This is where you only keep things that bring you happiness.
How to Get Rid of Clutter
But it doesn’t work for everyone. For example, work clothes might not bring you joy, but you still need them. So if you’re one of these people take a more practical approach and ask yourself the following:
- Does it work?
- When did I last use it?
- When will I use it again?
- Is it helpful?
- Am I emotionally attached to it?
From here, what to purge should be obvious. If it doesn’t work, throw it. You’d be amazed at the amount of people hoarding dead batteries in their drawer when it would be better used to store away bits they actually use!
If you haven’t used it in over a year, get rid of it. If that seems too harsh because of how much junk you have, you could up this to two years instead.
Similar to this, if you can’t figure out a scenario when you’d next use it, it’s time to go. You’ll clear out so many unitask items like avocado slicers and bagel cutters by doing this!
If your item has passed the last three rounds of questions, you might think you’re home free, but there are two more to go. If your item isn’t helpful, it’s time to go unless it has sentimental value to you.
There are, of course, some unhelpful items that will stay. They might be heirlooms, beloved nicknacks, and so on.
However, those cute glass bowls you got to put on the windowsill from Target, just gathering dust? They’re out.
This is especially true for your loft and/or basement. All those nostalgic VHS tapes, plushies, and old junk need to go so you can move onto the next step.
Now’s the time to go look at those organizers we mentioned earlier. You know what stuff you have left to tidy away and keep and you know what clean space you have to work with.
Measure out your spaces and do some research on the best storage options on offer for your specific needs.
For example, if you’re using a basement, you might want to opt for waterproof and damp-resistant storage solutions. Whereas if you’re organizing your loft, you might want to look at downlights with a downlight cover to make navigating your loft and items easier.
Chucking it all in boxes isn’t the end of your job. You also need to label it so you can find things with ease later on. Otherwise, you’ll end up pulling everything out again and back at square one!
Good Luck Getting Rid of Clutter!
Getting rid of clutter doesn’t need to be a painful experience. Plan, purge, and organize and you’ll be in a sparkling clean home in no time.
We have lots more helpful lifestyle and home advice on our blog, so please be sure to have a look.