There is nothing worse than coming home after a long day to a house full of clutter, or trying to work from home in a disorganized environment. Statistics have shown that the square footage of the average home in America has increased significantly in the past 20 years, while family sizes have shrunk.
At the same time, we see more hoarding than ever, with people cramming their apartments and houses full of possessions and actually getting into trouble with credit card companies in order to do so. Conspicuous consumption has been curbed somewhat by the current recession, but for some people, online shopping or television shopping channels have become an addiction.
In addition to this acquisitiveness, families live at a faster pace than ever before. Increased work and school responsibilities can mean that everyday household duties can start to get pushed back to later and later in the week or the month, and things start to pile up.
Aside from extreme solutions like renting a dumpster and hauling away rooms full of junk (1-800-Junk and other companies are springing up to help with this problem) many people seem to have a hard time coping with their clutter. There are several simple and inexpensive solutions that you can consider to help get your home more organized without divesting yourself of all your worldly goods.
One way to tackle the problem of clutter is to work together as a family. If you have 6 rooms in the house, it might take you 6 days to de-clutter, but it will then be far easier to keep on top of your organizational issues once you do so.
Start with one room at a time, such as the family room or kitchen and start getting rid of all the non-essentials that have started accumulating. Get rid of old newspapers, magazines, and so on. Assign age-appropriate tasks to your family members as you work. For example, you can give a younger child the responsibility of dusting with a soft cloth on which you have already sprayed polish, once you have cleaned off all the tabletops.
You could ask your geeky teenager to check over all the electronic equipment and run all the cords through an empty paper towel tube in order to prevent tangling. Involve the entire family in the task. It’s only fair. If everyone uses the family room, then everyone should help clean up and organize the place. Once it is de-cluttered, everyone should take responsibility for cleaning up after themselves. If everyone cleans up their own messes, no one will be over-burdened with household responsibilities.
Once you have worked your way through all the common areas of the house, it will be time to work on tidying individual rooms. This can be a touchy subject for the children and even your partner, but the fact of the matters is, if there are any items in closets, drawers, under beds and so on that have not been used or even looked at for a while, it might be time to consider de-cluttering them from your life as well.
Thanks to eBay, people have made small fortunes getting rid of items that they no longer want. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, as the common saying points out. Make four piles for the clutter:-to keep, to sell, to donate, to give away to someone who would really appreciate it.
Keep is the easy part. In fact, you will have to discipline yourself to not hang onto things ‘just in case’. With the children’s items, selling or donating might be easier than you think. They will have a variety of items, from clothes to books, that they will have outgrown. Once your youngest child has outgrown these items, think of selling them, donating them to charity, or passing them along to someone who will appreciate them, such as a friend or neighbor who is expecting or has children the right age for the item.
You can sell almost anything on eBay so long as it is in good condition. You can also have a yard sale or garage sale and sell your items one by one, or in lots, such as a lot of girl’s clothes in pink, all size X.
If you donate to charity, be sure to get a receipt so you can deduct the value of your donation from your taxes.
Once you get rid of these items, avoid the temptation to buy more to fill up the empty drawers and closets. With children, in particular, there is no need to buy a lot of clothing and toys. They grow out of everything so fast, a few items are better than dozens.
Getting started cutting back on the clutter can be the most difficult part of the process of de-cluttering your life, but once you begin, it can give you a great sense of accomplishment.
It may take some time to get the rest of your house in order, such as your home office, attic, garage and so on, but it will be worth it. Your goal will be to have a clean, inviting home that you would not be ashamed to invite anyone to visit. Your home does not have to be spotless, but you can certainly accomplish more and feel less frustrated and claustrophobic if you are not surrounded by mountains of clutter.
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