No matter how much you want to simplify, do you feel like the clutter of life is crowding around you?
Does the daily task of “picking up” constitute your entire exercise routine?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, this list is for you. Also, please leave some comments with your own tactics because we can ALL use some more strategies for combating clutter. I am totally preaching to myself on half this list, so if you come over, check up on me!
1. Upon arrival home from a fast food restaurant, immediately throw away all toys obtained in kid’s meal boxes. These toys are useless except as choking hazards for future children and become part of the lowest level of miscellania in your junk drawer. Do not save them for consigning or other purpose. Straight in the trash!
2. Upon arrival home from church, camp, or school, throw away all children’s art that is not exceptional in every way. Unless you are depicted as a skinny, voluptuous saint with a perfectly tidy house, all artwork should be tossed. Do not decorate with it. Chances are, it is not that good. You will realize this within a week. In his/her lifetime, your child may have a few peices rise to the top, but for the most part, CAN IT!
3. One touch laundry. (This applies best to one story homes. Mine is 1000 sq. feet, so it works well.) Don’t keep laundry hampers in rooms. This is just creating another clutter area and “middle stage” pile. Train yourself and your kids to take all dirty laundry directly to the top of the dryer. When there is a basketfull, wash it all together in cold. When I take the kids clothes off, I toss them out in the hall and then upon exiting the room, I gather the clothes and drop them in the laundry closet on my way past.
4. Every day, EVERY DAY, EvErY dAy, pick one thing in your house to take to Goodwill. Have a bag or box in your trunk or in your garage that you fill. Then drop it to charity when it gets full. It could be a book, a shirt, an old mug, a toy your kids won’t miss, a toy your kids will miss but that you are giving away because the song makes you insane, an extra set of sheets that you never use because you just wash your favorites and put them back on the bed, a pile of random DVDs that your husband was responsible for putting away 3 years ago until he forgot about them . . . you get the point. Trust me. You are probably accruing junk at a break neck pace. If you actually get to the place where you have NOTHING that you can give away to Goodwill, then you probably have no clutter. Hooray for lucky you (Tthhppthpthpt! That was me snidely blowing raspberry at lucky you.)
5. With regard to #4, DON’T have five sub-piles of “in waiting” items that you don’t want. Ie: “pile to consign when I get around to it,” “pile of maternity clothes to give to some person if she decides to have another baby,” “pile for my sister to go through in case maybe she doesn’t have a million piles of her own CRAP.” Just think, Goodwill or trash. Cut out the middle man.
- Bleach spot (You aren’t really going to find the perfectly matching color marker.)
- Stain you have attempted and failed to get out twice (Give it up.)
- Shrunken because it was supposed to be dry cleaned but you didn’t (No one else wants that mess)
- Have paint on them (You are saving these to be “paint clothes” when in fact, you will not be able to wear them because they will be crusty by then. You can get some new hideous outfit all painty.)
- Panties which (men ignore this) are not supposed to be see-though, but are. (Gross.)
- Have a hole or tear on an area other than the hem (You have not repaired them, and let’s face it, never will.)
- Requires an explanation longer than a sentence and cannot be worn by you or given to another person (You know . . . the hideous acid washed jeans that you wore to your first day of high school . . . )
7. Put stuff of value to others (but not to you) on Craig’s List or have you husband do it. Even in the midst of the impoverished 13 weeks of summer, J earned enough money selling stuff on Craigs List to buy tickets for our family to go Disney on Ice in Oct!!
8. Go UP! We have added extra shelves way up high in all our closets for storing luggage, extra linens, and items used only periodically. These shelves are not accessible without a step ladder, but they create space down low for stuff we access much more frequently. This helps declutter the closets, and thereby, the house.
9. Use one general thing instead of three special things. For example, shampoo! Okay, not that I have the best complexion on the planet–or even in a line-up of people with acne, but a few years ago, my friend told me that basic shampoo can be used for hair, body, and face. Actually, she gave this whole scientific explanation for why washing your face with shampoo is better for it than soap or cleanser. Upon research, I found, SHE WAS RIGHT! My skin is just as mediocre after washing it with cheap shampoo as it is with expensive cleanser. I’m not saying that it is awesome, but JUST AS GOOD is JUST AS GOOD. Sometimes it is better! Plus shampoo is cheaper than cleanser. So instead of body wash, shampoo, and cleanser, I just need shampoo. That’s it. (Just as good–did I mention?) The same can be true of kitchen gadgets, shoes, pens . . . the list goes on. Pick ONE general and ditch the other two or more. And with this in mind . . .
10. Use the Vacation Rental Filter. When you are at the Tar-zsay thinking how these adorable and cheap cups would be perfect for the third sub-purpose of semi-casual afternoon outdoor dining, just DON’T DO IT!!! Ask yourself, “Would I buy these for a vacation rental house?” No. You wouldn’t–because the vacation rental house only needs the basics. This sounds silly, but it is true. Here’s the application. Have you ever stayed in a vacation rental? Didn’t you love how there was a simplicity to only having the basics. I have visions of staying in a rustic cabin with only the basic accoutrements and sitting on the porch watching fireflies, sipping, from a generic mug, coffee that I made in a percolator pot. (I don’t really love this kind of coffe, but it is part of the vision.) You want to come there too because they don’t have all the junk that your house has, right? So if you want less junk, don’t get it in the first place. Start trying to make your house fit the vacation rental vision.
That’s all for now folks! What are your best ANTI-CLUTTER secrets?
This post is part of Oh Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday.