Many of us have been there: You buy something new to replace an old item that is broken or worn out, but hesitate to throw the old item away, thinking that maybe someone could still use it, or that maybe you should donate it instead of putting in the trash. While you try to decide what to do, you put the item aside in a closet or in your garage where it can sit for months, or even years, before you do anything with it.
Although the emotions behind it are understandable, this type of behavior can eventually lead to a cluttered home. Clutter not only ruins the look of your home, it can make your everyday life difficult by making it harder for you to find the things you want and need. Too much clutter can also make cleaning and dusting your home challenging, or even impossible. There is also some evidence that living in a cluttered home can lead to anxiety and even depression.
Your house should be a sanctuary, a place where you feel more comfortable than anywhere else. If you are suffering from a cluttered home and are ready to clean up your act, these tips below might help you get started.
Clean One Area of Your Home at a Time
Facing the task of decluttering your entire house can be overwhelming and may even lead some people to give up before they even get started. Instead, try choosing one or two areas in your home to declutter, such as your kitchen counter space or bedroom closet. Make piles of items you want to keep, items to throw away and items to donate. Once you are done making the piles, take care of the items right away by putting them in the trash or in your car (for items you will donate). Once you have decluttered one area, move on to the next one.
Follow the One-In One-Out Rule
Believe it or not, this simple rule can go a long way toward preventing clutter from building up in your home. Every time you bring a new item into your home, whether it’s something you’ve purchased or a gift, remove another item from your home by throwing it away or donating it. This rule should apply to everything, from clothing to furniture to kitchen gadgets.
Put Some of Your Belongings in Storage
If your home tends to get cluttered because you don’t have a lot of storage space, you might want to consider putting some of your belongings in storage. Storage facilities are available just about anywhere in the country. Some storage companies will even come to your home, pick your items, store them, and deliver them back to you when you need them.
One of these companies is Livable, a company that provides storage in San Francisco. According to the company, some items can be stored seasonally to create extra space in your home, “The majority of people could really use some extra space in their homes and garages, so the idea of storing your seasonal items, like winter coats and sweaters, is a pretty great way to give yourself and your family a bit of breathing room.”
Create a Designated Space For Everything You Own
Setting aside a designated space for each item in your home means that items such as scissors and car keys will always be easy to find when you need them, which can help save you time and reduce anxiety and stress. Once you have decided where you want everything to go, it’s important to make sure that you stick to putting items back where they belong when you are done using them. You should also make sure that everyone who lives in your home is aware of where things should go and takes responsibility for putting them away properly.
Look at Your Buying Habits
If items seem to be coming into your home with no immediate purpose, you might want to look at your buying habits. Many people purchase items because they are on sale or because they like the way they look even if they don’t really need them. Even if you think you might use something in six months or a year, there’s no guarantee that you will, and in the meantime you have to find a place to store it. When you commit to buying only the things you need, when you need them, you can keep the clutter in your home to a minimum.