Friday, August 12, 2016

Reduce Clutter to Create Tranquility at Home.

Reduce Clutter to Create Tranquility at Home

Do you frequently feel out of sorts because your household lacks order? How often have you searched for car keys, papers, or a sweater, but couldn't find one or the other? Struggle no more. This blog provides information about free or inexpensive ways to get a handle on clutter, locate Missing in Action Items, and simplify your lifestyle. 

1. The first step to change is to admit that clutter and disarray exists. As an example, I'll use my past experience. When I took a close look at my old thinking around my stashes of magazines and books, kitchen utensils, and the like, I began to understand myself better. Instead of shaming myself about times I needed things around me to feel good about myself, I decided to let go of self-judgment. All that did was keep me locked into guilt and inaction. Take it from me, the best thing I did for myself was to just be an observer of my thinking and actions. And this is how I did it.

Every day for a week I wrote in a journal about what I did or didn't do to clean up my living space. I recorded how often untidiness, lost item searches, and stress from things being out of place zapped my energy. Writing got this stuff out of my body and onto the page and made it more real and manageable.

I also wrote in my journal about whether I thought putting off household tasks actually saved time for another project or impeded my overall progress. I made sure to record even the tiniest accomplishment, as it served as a morale booster. So make sure to list and even brag to yourself about every positive step. 

Procrastination or failure to own household tasks (wishing and manipulating so someone I live with would do it for me) eventually led to running short of clean underwear and dishes. It also made me feel bad about myself. Slip ups (pun intended) like this made me cranky. Eventually I realized it just wasn't worth it!

Don't abandon the ship and your dream to create a tranquil home, just because it requires time and effort. 

"Be proactive and conquer the declutter challenge. In the end, you'll dance the happy dance." Nancy Andres

2. Get into the habit of taking 10 minutes a day toward the beginning of the day to make your bed, fluff pillows, and take out garbage. You'll be amazed at how doing these simple things upgrades your outlook on law and order.

3. Use baby steps and take another 10 minutes a day to organize. Donate, give away, or throw out unusable items. You know, they're the things you haven’t even looked at within the last year like old socks and shoes, lightly worn but ill-fitting clothing, books you never want to read again, and household goods you have no use for. Give them to your favorite charity and help the needy. Recycling cuts down on the amount of things you have collecting dust, and reduces the amount of junk dumped into a landfill. Then, the next day organize that junk drawer in your kitchen, nightstand, or magazine rack. You'll find that these 10 minute blocks of cleaning add up.

4. Mop up kitchen and bathroom spills on counters and floors as soon as they occur. Keep little messes from spreading.

5. Place a hamper or bin in your kitchen and bathroom for soiled towels and clothing so they won't be overlooked when you're gathering stuff for the wash. Share KP duty with all members of your household. Even the smallest child can take part. Remember this is good training for self-sufficiency. 

6. Tackle one half of each closet at a time. First off, arrange clothes neatly on hangers and button top button or arrange skirt or pants correctly on the hanger.

Create your own management system. Some people like to arrange clothes according to category like causal, dress, and exercise gear. Others prefer to sort by colors, and still others like to place all shirts, pants, and outwear into separate sections. If your closet doesn't have space for hanging items, invest a few dollars on hooks, wall racks, or a free standing wardrobe. Put this contraption where it's needed. A great place to hang outdoor clothing is on a hat stand in the mud room. If you don't have a room like that, put extra hooks on the inside of your bathroom or bedroom doors. You can hang bathrobe, pajamas, hats, belts, pocketbooks, or other items that won’t be damaged if you store them this way. 

7. Use clear storage bins and racks for shoes, bags, and odds and ends whenever possible. They are easy to locate and take up less space than those on hooks or racks.

8. Make it a rule of thumb that if you haven’t worn or used an item for a year or more, it comes up for review. Whenever I release something and donate it to my favorite charity or give it to a friend, I feel lighter. I also notice that the clothes I keep are more visible and are easier to keep neat.

8. Be a mindful consumer, when shopping for new clothing or household goods. Before I take home any item, I pause to think about whether I've got something similar at home. I ask myself whether it is an impulse purchase, or do I really need it? If I decide to buy a particular item, I make sure to release an item I already own. If I get something new, I put an older item in the rag pile, donate it, or give it away.

In addition, check out this article from the Los Angeles Times, an interview by Bonnie McCarthy of Peter Walsh, author of Lose the Clutter, Lose the Weight.
 'Clutter is never about the stuff' — an organization expert explains why (and what to do about it)'.

Another quotation for today is “Don't own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire.” 

― Wendell BerryFarming: a hand book

Please take a moment to comment below and share this post. I appreciate your visit and wish you a clutter-free day.

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  1. Nancy, this is such an amazing post with wonderful tips. Thank you for sharing. And, thank you for the visit and sweet comment at The Dedicated House. It mean the world. Feel free to share a post at my Make it Pretty party which is currently live. Here is the link if you want to check it out! Have a happy weekend! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

    1. Thanks so much for reaching out to me. As soon as I have a post that fits into the Make it Pretty Party, I'll add my two cents. Have a Colorful Day!

  2. Great tips! I'm working through the nook and crannies of my house but by bit! The school year put a wrench in my good habits, but I am picking them up bit by bit. Thanks for the renewed motivation.

    1. Thanks so much for your comments. I know what you mean about needing renewed motivation. Truth be told, that's why I wrote the post. Have a wonderful evening. Warm regards, Nancy A.

  3. Hi Nancy,
    Great tips! I like #8 the year rule - that I found works very well and can help you get rid of a lot clutter. I used to save so many things that I thought I would use later but never did. I have learned to stop that and is broken or just not something I need - I throw broken out and donate to church yard sale if is just something I have no use for anymore. I also love the idea of mopping up spills completely and immediately - it makes me feel better and doesn't become a stain in my mind or the house. All good ideas that I have slowly been implementing into my life because I have found as you that a cluttered house affects your mindfulness and clutters my mind. Sharing. Have a healthy, happy & blessed!

    1. Agree with you. A cluttered house affects our mindfulness and clutters our minds. Be well and lets aim to live in an uncluttered house and have an uncluttered mind.

  4. I love your quote by Wendell Berry! So true! : )

    1. Thanks Anna. A little bit of humor often goes a long, long, way and I know from experience it helps me lighten up.


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Thanks for Visiting

Hope you enjoyed your visit and will return again. Be well. Live well. Lead a colorful life! Warm regards, Nan