Effective strategies for the silent majority who experience clutter

Photo: Tim Cuppett Architects via Houzz

Photo: Tim Cuppett Architects via Houzz

Have you ever heard the expression “too much of a good thing?” While the expression often refers to overwhelming feelings from eating too much of a delectable dessert or having close family stay at your home one day too long, we think it’s also appropriate in a variety of other contexts—especially aspects of the décor process. For example, homeowners may find themselves idealizing the idea of storage space and seizing any opportunity for more without considering whether more storage space is really necessary.

Photo by Cory Connor Designs via Houzz

We challenge homeowners to take a step back and evaluate the items overcrowding their storage. Perhaps it’s time to edit your closets, shelves, attic, etc., and determine what items can be donated or recycled.

It’s easy for homeowners to accumulate an abundance of items over the years. In order to keep your home clean and contented, it’s important to edit out unnecessary objects. Especially after the holiday gift giving and receiving season, now is a great time to consider donating unwanted items to local charities and help others in your community.

Photo by Angela Ruple Interior Design via Houzz

We have provided a system to help de-clutter your storage as well as preventative tips to make the process easier in the future:

  • Create a habit: By setting aside designated dates throughout the year to sort through storage spaces and edit things out, you’ll eventually form a new habit. Whether it is biannually or bimonthly, evaluate your home and establish realistic times based on your home and lifestyle. For some, it might be best to align your ‘editing out’ days with the change of each season. Spring is already associated with cleaning, why not winter, autumn, and summer? Remember to pencil these specific tasks into the calendar. Doing so will increase the likelihood that they are completed on a regular basis.
  • Make it a family occasion: While the cleaning process isn’t typically considered “fun,” sorting through storage and buried objects can be very nostalgic, triggering old memories and laughter. For items holding sentimental value, having the family together for one last reflection can provide closure and make it easier to donate or discard. This might be challenging, so consider creating a treasure box for one item per person to reminisce about the memories in the future. Including your family will help them to develop this clutter-avoiding habit. Children are constantly growing, and upon receiving new, age-appropriate toys, they are often attached to the old and reluctant to part with them. This can help prevent that behavior.
  • Reflect, and then make a purchase: When you are shopping and you spot something of interest, it’s easy to immediately justify the purchase. However, prior to committing to it, take a step back and consider its purpose. Is it serving as a solely aesthetic piece? Is it replacing something outdated? What about its placement – will it be in the open on your fireplace mantle or end up shoved in a storage bin? Use these reflections to dictate whether a purchase should be made, and establish a rule to refrain from buying excess goods. For example, for every two items purchased, one pre-loved item in the same category must be donated or discarded.
  • Ten minutes a week: Beyond the designated times per year, take ten minutes each week to quickly assess what areas of your home need to be tackled and if there is anything simple you can do now to relieve the process in the future. For example, by simply checking your kitchen pantry or refrigerator for expired goods, things you don’t need, etc., you can save an enormous amount of time when you edit out your kitchen as a whole.

Photo by JWT Associates via Houzz

We are confident that with just these four tips in mind, you can keep the clutter at bay and stay organized.

Photo by Anthology Interiors via Houzz

AuthorPaul Allegro