For most people, accumulating belongings is just something you do. While there isn’t really anything wrong with that, finding ways to keep things controlled and comfortable, instead of chaotic, can be challenging.
If your “stuff” is getting out of hand, here’s how to effectively cut down on clutter, and even enjoy the project.
Focus on the Positives
An organized home can sound like its own reward, but there are actually health benefits to gain from organizing and decluttering. As Good Housekeeping explains, clutter is associated with raised stress levels, fatigue, impaired decision-making, and more exposure to allergens, bacteria, and viruses. There is even evidence clutter contributes to poor weight control and reduced sleep. By decluttering, you can be more productive, more timely, and you might even raise your self-esteem.
Not only can you feel better and enjoy better health from reduced clutter, you can also do good things with the belongings you decide to cull. For instance, items that still have plenty of life left in them can flow into the second-hand economy. This means others can stretch their dollars by enjoying gently used goods while you lighten your environmental footprint since you aren’t simply disposing of them. On top of all that, you can even make a little spending money!
You can also donate gently used items to charity. There are plenty of places to take your donations, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to help others. You can either distribute your used items to a local nonprofit or engage one of the national charities that accept donations of household goods. Participating in a generous action offers health benefits of its own, helping to reduce anxiety and encouraging positivity; it’s a chance to double-dip on good feelings!
If you have things you simply can’t rehome any other way, take what you can for recycling. It’s a much gentler choice for our environment than sending things to landfills.
Ready, Set, Go!
Once you’re in the right mindset and you know how to handle your discards, you’ll need to adopt a decluttering method. Before getting started, make sure you have a plan to tackle the clutter in less-frequented areas of your home, such as the basement, garage, and attic. Some people like to sort into categories, like put away, store, discard and donate/sell. You might prefer to pull all the clutter from your rooms then sort everything at once, but going that route can be a pretty big undertaking, so block out a few days for it. Another idea is to box up a bunch of things and pull the items from the box as you use them. Whatever is left in a month has to go. You can always create your own method, as there is no right or wrong way to do it. The important thing is to make progress.
Fresh and Clean
Whatever method you adopt, plan to clean your home throughout the process. It’s amazing how much dust and debris can be hiding in stacks and piles! Since you’re going to so much trouble to create a healthier home environment, consider using sustainable cleaning products, or even better, make your own. As Living the Nourished Life explains, you can create natural cleaning products from ingredients you have on hand, like lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and vinegar.
Organize What’s Left
Paring down and cleaning up makes a huge difference, but once your belongings are reduced to “keepers” you need to figure out where to put everything. By assigning a space for each item, it makes it easier to maintain a clutter-free home. If you’re tight on space or lack storage, Better Homes & Gardens points out there is furniture that can multitask. For instance, a tiered coffee table provides a shelf in otherwise wasted space, or a storage bench can double for seating. Sort your things, examine the space you have, and think outside the box!
If you have a lot of belongings, decluttering can be daunting. Keep your eyes on the many rewards, and enjoy the process. Your home will be a healthier, happier living environment, thanks to your efforts.
Guest Blogger: Alice Robertson of tidyhome.info
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