Break the chains of clutter

26 APRIL 2017
On a lovely warm day you wake up, pull off the curtains and open the window, breathe in the fresh breeze and let it all get absorbed in the skin. Then in that moment of serenity when you turn to face your room, reality comes crashing back and you when you realize that you are surrounded with piles of clutter. Well we often let the insidious stubborn heaps of clothes, gadgets, wrappers and other nick knacks just sit there like it has been their rightful place since ever. But research says that clutter is in fact not a random occurrence due to lack of time or energy, but a nervous, irresponsible habit that takes form of a life-size blocker, if not attended to, in time. Clutter causes stress and it is one of the main barriers of productivity. And if you have kids at home then it might be the unhealthiest choice to leave the house with clutter and dirt. But here are some simple steps and tricks to declutter the house and keep it that way.

Start with resetting everything to zero every night before going to bed. That is, put all the stuff back to where it’s supposed to be, so that when you wake up the next morning you can start afresh as all of yesterday’s stuff is gone. Saying no to recreational shopping and staying out of stores unless you really need something, will also help in preventing the heap from going wild. If you have many small accessories and items at your home than make sure everything has a place; shelf, bin, rack or box or use organizers for keeping items tidy.

Take care of the mail as soon as you bring it in – recycle all that needs to be recycled, open what needs to be opened and recycle the envelopes, file things right away. If you are not a hard-copy enthusiast then avoid buying or subscribing to magazines or newspapers because you can read everything now, completely online. Another way is to promise yourself a monthly, say, 10 or 20 item purges. You scour your room / house / whatever space you want and purge the decided number of unwanted items out of there in one go, to recycle, donate, pass on to family, or to the bin, it doesn’t matter. Make a habit of putting things away. Quickly see whether you have room or not and if you don’t, something must go. Inculcate a routine to do one extra organizing job each day on top of normal cleaning. For instance, clean out a drawer or cupboard that’s gotten cluttered – that way it doesn’t get so out of control that it seems like a mountain.

Ask yourself one simple question when choosing whether to keep something: “If I lost it by mistake, would I really care?”, if the answer is no, then don’t hesitate to give it away.

Whenever you feel the clutter creep taking over (a telltale sign is feeling frustrated or stressed when you look around your home) it’s time to tackle the issue before it takes hold. Take an empty laundry basket and work through your home room-by-room, picking up everything that is out of place. Work as fast as you can, and fill the basket multiple times if needed. Empty the contents onto your dining table or floor and sort through it. Toss the rubbish, bag up any donations and put the remainder in its place. So with a bit of mindful organizing and planning, you will have a neat, clutter-free place to call your own.