Less mess, time, maintenance? Yes, please. Make your home a haven with these easy clutter-busting tips
Here’s a sobering statistic: 25% of American households with a two-car garage can’t actually park their cars there. Why? Because it’s full of stuff.
The average American home has more than 300,000 belongings in it, a good deal of which is clutter. We hold on to extra belongings for a variety of reasons — just in case, because it was a gift or belonged to someone we love, because it was expensive, or because we’re just plain overwhelmed by it. Whatever the reason, that clutter costs us money. One in 11 Americans is paying $1,000 a year just to store extra stuff. If you plan to sell your home, a clutter problem could reduce the final sales price of your home by as much as 10%. Ouch.
The solution is to tackle the clutter once and for all. Here’s how to get past the failed resolutions and good intentions with some fool-proof, actionable steps to get it done.
Find the benefits of life without it
Getting motivated to do something like tackling clutter can be tough. The way to get through to your brain is to focus on your “why” factor. Why do you want to reduce clutter?
- Is it hard to clean?
- Is it dangerous?
- Is it stressful?
- Is it a lot of work to maintain, move, or organize?
- Is it taking up time or energy?
- Is it taking money to buy, store, or maintain?
Once you have your “why” answered, it’s easier to get and stay motivated.
Walk through your house like a buyer might
Sadly, a lot of us spend a lot of time getting our homes decluttered and perfectly decorated only because we’re about to sell them, and we know a realtor with a punch list will be going from room to room noting all the flaws.
Don’t wait until you have to sell your home to make it perfectly enjoyable. Do a walkthrough and make a list of items in each room that should go. Whether that’s piles of recycling, outgrown toys or clothes, empty or old cosmetics, stacks of mail and papers—jot it down. Tackle one item each day for a string of days, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly the clutter clears.
Clutter has a tremendous power to overwhelm us or shut us down before we even get started. Instead of trying to tackle your whole house or even a whole room, break your clutter-busting down into manageable chunks. Start with either five minutes or five items each day. You can keep a labeled box or bag handy, and just empty your items in it to toss or donate. Only five. You’ve got this!
Get help from a friend
It’s amazing how much easier it is to clean, sort, and declutter when the clutter isn’t yours. Consider asking a good friend to come in and lend a hand (and fresh eyes) so you can tackle your spaces with a little support. They can tell you honestly which clothes are outdated or don’t flatter you, or roll up their sleeves with you and go at that junk drawer with no judgment.
Better yet, invite two or three friends to make even more progress. Offer to do the same for them in return to spread the love, not the stuff.
Your home is your most important investment, and it’s also a place you deserve to enjoy. Finding easy ways to tackle clutter will help you not just create the home environment you love, but help you keep it that way, too.