Being neat and organized and reducing clutter is something that most people aim for, at least to some degree. They give it their best effort. Often it works. But then there are the days that you look around and realize that maybe your couch is half buried under laundry that needs to be folded, or you can't find your kitchen table under a sea of unopened junk mail and knickknacks, or your kids' closets and drawers are bursting with clothes that they don't wear anymore.
Sometimes it feels a bit like chaos.
When things around you in your world get disorganized and chaotic, you can feel a little disorganized and chaotic on the inside, too. Clutter can have a multitude of effects on your psyche, including raising cortisol, the stress hormone. And sometimes we get so stressed out with all the disorganization around us that it can be almost paralyzing to make a move to do anything about it, even if it's something relatively small. Me? I used to have that kitchen table problem. When I'd come home from a session as a RI family photographer, or anywhere else, the kitchen table is kind of a dumping ground that I'll get to "later".
There are three things that have helped me organize my life and my home (and keep it that way for the most part.) Want to know what they are? Read below!
1. Set aside 15 minutes a day and stick to one area.
Especially if you have multiple areas to declutter or organize, you might be overwhelmed and not know where to start. Block off just 15 minutes each day to organize. Stick to just one area. It can be one room, or even just a part of a room if the room is larger. This keeps you focused. If you'd like to keep going longer than 15 minutes, by all means, do. But there's quite a bit that you can knock out in just that short time period, and it's not overwhelming.
2. Make piles for trash, recycle/repurpose, and donate.
This concept applies especially to clothing (and is one that kids can easily participate in!), but there are other places it could also apply. Once you've made each pile, it's easy to then take the appropriate action. Got a lot of stuff you're trashing? Look at what it is and figure out why, to see if you can cut down on both trash and clutter in the future.
3. Eliminate clutter before it even starts.
This is such an important one for me, as our house is small with limited storage. Try to be mindful of the "stuff" that you bring into your house. "Stuff" can really pile up and be suffocating. And it can be anything. Clothes you bought on a whim but only wore once (or never). Souvenirs from vacation that sit around collecting dust. Those 10 cans of soup you bought because they were on major sale, but you know nobody in the house will ever eat them. Before you bring something in, consider if it's REALLY needed or will be used. You can even apply this to holidays and birthdays if you are someone who has everything they need or want, and don't need more material things. Have relatives or friends donate to your favorite charity if they'd like to give a gift. Or just let them know that spending time with them is the best gift!
Do you have a great tip for reducing clutter and organizing your life? Post it in the comments!