Six Tips for Cutting the Clutter by Laura Adams
The very word makes some of us shudder.
One of the most important things I’ve learned as a homemaker is how to keep clutter under control.
We have limited space. Our first apartment had a lot of closets, so that helped. Our current apartment has a lot less closet space, and we have two kids now. As the ratio between the number of people and the number of square feet in my household has decreased, I’ve learned some tips for keeping the clutter at bay.
- Decide what you will do with unneeded items. When that decision has already been made, then you don’t have to waste brain power on it while you’re trying to purge your house. I donate general items to Goodwill. I also have a tub where I store children’s items that I plan to sell at the next consignment sale. If something isn’t worth salvaging, it goes in the trash.
2. Recognize that it’s an ongoing process. You will always have new items coming into your house. Christmas and birthdays will still happen every year. You are never truly finished decluttering.
Additionally, items can be useful and then turn into clutter later. Children’s items tend to fall into that category a lot.
Accepting this reality decreased the frustration that I used to feel when I would tackle the same room “again.” I’ll be periodically re-evaluating what I need for a long time, and that’s completely okay.
3. Remember that getting rid of items will save you time in the long run. Cleaning your house is a lot faster when you don’t have to start by removing a layer of stuff from your surfaces. Instead, you can jump straight to wiping down your counters or vacuuming your floors.
I’m currently expecting my second child. My first child is 21 months old. Having a smaller number of items out where the toddler can reach them cuts down on the amount of picking up I have to do each day. As I get closer to the end of this pregnancy, the more I like only having to pick up a few things!
4. Keep just one. This doesn’t work for all types of items, but I try to keep just one pair of gloves, one hat, and one winter scarf per person. It does get cold here, but not often enough for us to need more than one set of cold weather gear.
5. Set a number of items to keep, then get rid of the rest. When my older son was a baby, we would buy his clothes at Once Upon a Child. Each time he changed sizes, we would buy 10 onesies, 5 pairs of pants or shorts, and 2-3 church outfits. The numbers can vary based on how often you do laundry. I’ve found that keeping a smaller number of outfits forces me to be diligent about laundry, but do what works best for your household.
6. Use your containers as a guide. I love my books, but we have one bookshelf and don’t have space to add another. Thus, all of our books need to fit on the one shelf. I do have a separate storage area for children’s books. If the container is full, then some of the items in it need to be discarded.
I hope these tips help you as you seek to regain control of your home!