Posted in Suggestions, Taming Clutter, Timely Tips

The Ten Commandments of a Clutter-free Life – Tablets Not Needed!

Here are some suggestions read online. Others have been in my thoughts recently. Maybe you see beautiful, clutter-free spaces in magazines or on the web, and think: “My home could never look like that.” It can! Freeing your space, and your life, from overwhelmingly huge amounts of stuff doesn’t take superhuman effort. All you need is a little commitment to some basic principles.

  1. Live within your means. Let the size of your home dictate how much stuff you have, and not the other way around. If your closet is bursting at the seams, instead of dreaming of a bigger closet, why not try paring down your clothes to fit the space you have? If you’re thinking of buying a home, maybe spend less than you can afford. Living modestly can pay off, as noted above, and in other ways, too. Example – if you face unexpected huge expenses, like health challenges, your finances might not have you by the throat, so to speak.
  2. Purge often. Even if you get to a point where you have only as many things as will comfortably fit into your space, stuff has a way of accumulating. So set aside a time, a few times a year, to go through your things and get rid of the ones you don’t use anymore. You’ll feel so much lighter.
  3. Have a place for everything. “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” It’s a cliche, but still is some of the best organizing advice. A bit of further advice: if you have lots of things in limbo on tables or countertops or the floor and are struggling to find places for them, maybe you need more places. This is where clear plastic shoeboxes or a filing cabinet or maybe just a console with lots and lots of drawers can come in handy.
  4. Don’t underestimate the importance of a junk drawer. Every household has those little things — pens, tape, twist ties, and other whatnot that get used a lot, but don’t really have a place. Instead of agonizing over finding a home for every little thing, keep a junk drawer. The last few little bits of clutter get swept in, and you’re done. Great storage – recycle the grocery store containers that hold mushrooms and other produce. They fit snugly into drawers.
  5. Put stuff away, always. Put the bottle opener back in the drawer! Hang the skirt you didn’t wear back in the closet! Keep doing it until it’s automatic. You won’t even think of not doing it. When you see how much better your home looks, you’ll be that much more motivated.
  6. Store things where you use them. Be smart about where you store things. Not having to walk halfway across your home to put things away will make #5 easier.
  7. Stop clutter before it enters your home with a landing strip. Even if you’re conscientious about what you buy, it’s easy for clutter to sneak into your home in the form of junk mail, freebies, etc. If space allows by the door, add a recycling basket or bin, a spot for keys, a boot tray for shoes and boots.
  8. Go paper-free. Scanning all the documents you’ve been hanging onto may seem like a daunting task, but once you’re done, they’ll be easily searchable. Apps, like Evernote, allow you to search scanned documents for certain words and you’ll have that much less paper to manage.
  9. Realize that life is about experiences, not things. We’re constantly bombarded with advertisements that try to convince us that a happy life is all about having the latest stuff: a new car, an outdoor kitchen, an ice cream maker. Studies show that it isn’t the things in our lives that make us happy. It’s our experiences that we treasure most. The next time you’re tempted to buy more stuff, ask yourself if the money wouldn’t be better spent on a vacation or a nice night out. Bonus: you won’t have to find a space for these things in your cabinets.
  10. Forgive yourself and try again. Remember that nobody is perfect, and nobody’s home is perfect. Even the homes you see in the magazines aren’t perfect — it took a whole team of stylists to make them that way. If you have an off week, or two weeks, or month, and suddenly your house looks like a disaster, don’t panic. It’s never too late to forgive yourself and try again. Breathe, breathe, breathe, then smile.
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