Once you understand what clutter is and what effect it can have on your life, you may want to look around and decide to do a bit of decluttering in your own home.
Assess the Environment
Look around you now. Does the room you are in look tidy and feel spacious? Is it a restful environment in which to think, work or relax? Or does it look messy, cluttered, stifling or cramped? Many rooms are bigger than they seem, but excess belongings and even furniture, can make them seem small and cramped.
Can you move around the room easily or are there things in your way? Coffee tables, chairs, toy boxes, stools, piles of magazines or books on the floor? If you can’t walk around without sidling around, climbing over, or squeezing past objects, then either you live in a shoebox, or you have too much clutter.
Try and look objectively at the furniture and possessions in the room you are in now. How much of it do you actually use on a regular basis. Are the books covered in a layer of dust? (a sure sign that you never read them, are they just for show?). How long has that pile of magazines/newspapers been sitting there? Have you read them? Will you ever read them? What are you saving them for? Is there any furniture in the room that is never really used or is just a repository for clutter? If you ditch the clutter could you sell the item of furniture? How much space would that free up in your cluttered room?
Expand Your Horizons
Now think about the other rooms in your house. The bathroom, for instance. How many toiletries or medicines are in there which you never use? How many products have you tried and decided you didn’t like, or just couldn’t be bothered to use? How many small samples that came free through your door, with magazines, or from hotels? If you haven’t used them yet, probably you never will. Check the use by dates on all your over the counter medicines. How many are out of date, or even empty containers? How many of them are simply clutter.
Think about the kitchen. This is a prime clutter collecting area. Think of all those exotic spices you never use, the gadgets (the blender, the food processer, the cafetiere, the yoghurt maker, the coffee grinder, the sandwich toaster, the apple corer, the pizza maker, the burger maker, the ice cream maker, the bread maker, I could go on). What about the mug collection, egg cups, saucepans, bowls, plastic food containers, knifes and forks, sharp knives, tin opener, bottle openers, wine stoppers, tea towels, oven gloves, aprons. How many do you have of each, and how many never get used?
What about recipe books? When is the last time you cooked something from one of one? The chances are that like most people you know a few recipes by heart and you cook those meals on a regular basis. The family are sick of them, but so what, let them do the cooking. It’s so much easier than looking up new recipes, buying the ingredients, (there is always something you never have) and cooking a new meal from scratch when you are so tired and busy.
Maybe you have a drawer full of individual recipes, as well, that you have cut out from magazines or brought home from the supermarket. When did you last cook something from one of these? (tip; don’t keep a recipe book just because it has a nice picture on the cover, because that would just be silly).
Other problem areas include rooms that most people never see, like your bedroom.
Bedrooms don’t get tidied up for visitors, so can become a dumping ground for all your clutter. Don’t know where to put something? Just shove it in the bedroom and deal with it later. The trouble is, later never comes. You are always too busy. You have work commitments, family commitments, hobbies, band practise, art class, you need to crash out in front of the TV, because you are so tired after that hectic day at work.
The trouble is that your bedroom is where you go to sleep at night, and where you go to relax and unwind at the end of the day. It is the first thing you see in the morning when you wake up. If your bedroom is a tip it can make you feel weighed down, stressed and burdened. These feelings may be buried in your subconscious, but they will still be there. Every time you dump a fresh item in your bedroom you will feel a slight feeling of guilt at the clutter in there, but you will shrug it off because you are so busy.
Look Beneath the Surface
Even if you house is tidy on the surface, every cupboard and drawer may be stuffed full to overflowing, the attic may be groaning under the weight of the excess, and you may spend a lot of spare time putting up shelves, shopping for storage devices, and moving your clutter around in the hope of finding a better place for it.
Making it Easier
This battle against your clutter can be quite time consuming and can lead to a lot of stress and frustration. Yet the problem is quite easily resolved. If you offload some of those objects, shift out some of that stuff, dump some of that detritus and cull some of your collectio,n then you could free up space, time and energy.
Having decided by now, (hopefully), that you do have clutter and that you do need to get rid of some, you need to be more specific. You need to go through your house/garage/shed/desk at work and identify the clutter.
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