You will notice I used the active tense of kiss in my title and not the past tense. I have not yet completely kissed clutter goodbye. In fact I don’t know if I ever will, since what was once useful to me today can quickly become tomorrows clutter. I am however making improvements in how fast I kiss clutter goodbye.
Since clutter and cleaning are two things I want to improve in, I have read a lot of books and articles on kissing clutter goodbye. Here are 10 tips from my information gleaning that have stuck with me and have made the biggest impact on reducing both my clutter piles and my cleaning time.
10 Ways I am Kissing Clutter Goodbye
Electronic clutter is to me sometimes more stressful than household clutter. I want to spend my time keeping my home clean not emptying my email box . Here are three tips that help me spend less time on emails.
A.I don’t subscribe to many newsletters, instead I put blogs I like in my bloglovin feed
B. I keep 3 separate email addresses one for personal, one for work and one for daily deals and freebies that asked for my email. This helps me stay on task when I enter my email. If I want to write my sister I know to go my personal account, if I want to do blog work, I go to my work account, If I want to see what the deals are that day I go to my deal address.
C. Use little moments here and there to empty junk mail. When I am waiting in line in a place that has free Wi-fi (remember I don’t own a smart phone) I take the time to go through my junk mail address on my iPod and empty those emails that are junk.
2. Get the whole family involved
Work at getting your kids to sort through their stuff on a regular basis. Put a giveaway box in a centralized location that everyone knows about and encourage your kids to place items they no long play with or wear in it. You could perhaps even set a family reward for each time a box is filled, such as extra media time, or a special afternoon snack.
3. Go label happy
In my last home I went crazy for a few weeks with a labeler and it really did make a difference as everyone knew where everything belonged and so no one could use the excuse “I did not put it away because I wasn’t sure where it went”. I really need to make time and do this with our current home.
4. A set time each day to put things away
I put things away twice a day, once during our homeschooling lunch hour and once while I am making dinner. If I get busy and skip either one of these times the house looks like a tornado went through it in no time.
5. Ask these three questions before you buy anything
A. Where will you store it?
B. How much of your time is it going to require for upkeep?
C. Do you already own something similar that your not utilizing?
When we shop without a list, or are given hand me downs or gifts often we begin to collect multiples. Do you really need 5 black shirts? Do you really need 6 flat head screw drivers? Do you really need 6 books on running a marathon? Pick your favorite (I will be generous pick 2) and then toss the rest in the give or sell pile.
7. Get tips from those that inspire you
I have several friends who have just the right amount of clutter in their homes (because truly is there really such a think as a clutter free home) and I am constantly observing their house cleaning and organizing habits.
8. Hold an annual or semi-annual yard sale, Craigslist blitz, or Facebook selling spree
When we lived in a stellar yard sale area I use to have a yard sale at the beginning of the season and at the end of the season. Our current home is not in a great yard sale area so I now host a Craigslist blitz once a year and several Facebook selling sprees throughout the year.
I set a goal trip, either an overnight or a day trip and then go through the house and put everything I want to sell in a pile, clean it up, take pictures, measurements of it and then start listing.
9. Have a 6 months box
There is pure junk clutter and then there is sentimental clutter. The pure junk stuff is easy to toss, the stuff with memories attached not so easy. I make myself stick to a rule when it comes to sentimental clutter. If the item has collected dust and was found under a pile of stuff then did it really mean as much to me as I think it does? Usually I still want to keep the item even after this question so I follow the 6 months rule. The item goes into a box with the current date marked on it if after 6 months I have not found a place in the house to display it or found a use for it the item needs to find a new home.
10. Give clutter boundaries
I mentioned this in my 10 ways to tame clutter post, but it is my favorite clutter tip that works best for how I am wired. I know I will never be 100% free of clutter. It is just not in my creative, pile loving nature to be entirely free of it.
If you saw all the piles of paper around me when I write some of you would be horrified yet I know what information is on each piece of paper and can tell you why I need it.
However I can’t stand my whole home being nothing but piles and piles of clutter. To put a limit on my piling nature I place baskets here and there around our home specifically for catching clutter and when they start to overflow I make it a goal for that week to go through them and get rid of the junk that has collected in them and place the other items back in their proper homes.