Does everything in your house have a home? A place it belongs… preferably near its site of intended use? Or do you have “piles” of things? Maybe in baskets or dish pans (guilty) or tote bags or trash bags or boxes… all conveniently hidden away? Or maybe you have piles of paper and mail and magazines and shoes and books… or odds and ends or do-dads and clothes, and things you need to put away and all piled up in plain site! Today’s PRACTICALLY SPEAKING is about one big way to de-stress and declutter our homes!
Here’s the scenario sometimes in my home:
Bobby: Honey, I need to find the car registration. Do you know where it is? (He obviously knows I know… I handle all the incoming mail.)
Me: Did we get it?
Bobby: Yes, the one in my car expired last month.
Me: Oh! (L-O-N-G pause!)
Bobby: Where do you think you might have put it?
Me: It must be in the office.
Bobby: Can you narrow my search down?
Me: I think it might be in one of the piles of mail either on my desk or on a shelf in the bookcase. Sorry, honey! I’ve been so busy lately I’ve not filed anything.
Bobby: Can you look for it? I need to get the car inspected.
Me: (Another L-O-N-G pause) Can’t you go online and get another one? It will take me hours to sort through everything and find it.
YIKES! Even at StoneGable this scenario plays out over and over! I am no expert at keeping some things organized. But I do know what I am supposed to do! And I bet you do too.
When I can’t find things in my home like the car registration (one time I lost a licence plate… who loses a licence plate?) or something important I can get quite stressed out. I so envy people, like my Mom, who knows where everything is and can get it in a matter of seconds if needed.
When we don’t have a “home” or purposeful place for everything in our home we start that downward spiral to clutter. And clutter begets stress and stress most of the time begets twins called inertia and apathy! Dealing with our clutter is just too stressful! And so more clutter accumulates. It is a vicious cycle, for sure!
The best way to destress our homes is to dig in and start clutter busting! Cleaning out and decluttering and finding places for EVERYTHING in our homes.
After decades of reading every kind of home organizing and cleaning book you can imagine I know the strategies that have worked best for me. I’d like to share a few with you…
Don’t get caught in a cycle of inertia… not being able to move forward and apathy… giving up and not caring. The simple act of starting to organize, anything, will burst that unhappy cycle and every little step towards a clean and super organized, decluttered home will give wind to your sails and the willpower to do more!
THROW AWAY, GIVE AWAY, PUT AWAY
Grab a big trash bag and two laundry baskets (or boxes). Throw all the things that are not in good shape that you don’t use often in the trash bag. Put anything that does not belong in the room you are working on in one of the laundry baskets. This is your “put-away” basket. And everything that is in good shape that you no longer want or need goes in the “give-away” basket.
Everything else in the room must have a home. Put things away neatly. From now on, you will know where everything in that room is and you will always put it away after you use it! If something new comes into that room, something else must be taken out. It does not take long for clutter to start accumulating. We all must be on our guard!
This is my mantra! BE RUTHLESS!!! We don’t need three lemon zesters. Two need to go! We should not have 10 extra bed pillows. Only enough for each bed and maybe one extra for a guest. Those extra and duplicate items we have in our homes cause clutter. And clutter is literally stressing us to death.
IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START, TRY THIS
Pick a room… any room and set a timer to spend 15 or 30 or 45 minutes in that room straightening up and organizing. When the timer dings, you are done for the day… until tomorrow. Work a little every day. Some days you may have more time to give than others and that’s okay. The key is consistency. Make organizing a part of your life!
I like to start in my foyer because it is where people enter my home. Then I work around the room in a clockwise direction picking everything up. I don’t go into another room until the room I am working on is totally straightened up and everything in it has a well ordered “home”. We are not talking about cleaning it… we are talking about organizing it.
So now you pick a room.Go through every drawer, cabinet, and surface. Use the trash bag and 2 laundry baskets to get rid of everything that does not belong in that room! Be ruthless about what you keep. Most of us tend to keep so much more than we can ever really use. Get rid of it… this is so freeing!
When one room is organized and decluttered, move to the next and dig in!
I like to work on organizing five days a week.
WHEN YOU ARE DONE ORGANIZING, START OVER
When you have organized your home. Start over! But this time, it will be easier and faster and much less work! Follow the same plan over and over again and you will have a wonderfully organized home!
When I am done organizing my home I go back to the foyer and start again! I set the timer and begin. When the timer dings I am done for the day!
DEAL WITH THE CONTENTS OF THE BAG AND BASKETS
If you don’t do something with the bag of trash and the two baskets of items from your daily organization you will end up with more clutter! Throw away the trash… right away. Put the “give-away” basket in the car to take to a local charity. Spend time putting away misplaced things in your third basket.
This is where organization often breaks down. We must put away and give away! Make an extra effort to stay on top of this! If there are gobs of things in the put-away basket you might want to ask yourself if you really need everything. You may be able to let go of some of the put-away basket items.
DON’T CREATE DISORGANIZATION
Once an area is straightened up and organized it’s easier to want to keep it that way. Make sure to be ruthless about keeping those areas of your home from getting cluttered again!
This is the easiest way to organize a home. It might take longer than spending a week or two doing nothing but nose-to-the-grindstone organizing, but every little step is a step in the right direction!
How about you? Why don’t you share your best organizing tip and decluttering tricks with the rest of the StoneGable family? I can’t wait to hear!
You might like to follow me on Pinterest and see what I’m finding to pin every day HERE.