Do you have a room of your house that no one uses or guests never see? Is there a pile in your living room or corner of your bedroom that’s been there so long you’re not even sure what’s in it? I have a general rule — “When you bring something new into your home, you need to know where it’s going to live.” The problem for many people is all their spaces are full, so when a new item comes in they put it on the floor or a counter, or shove it in a closet or drawer. That’s clutter! Once clutter is created it tends to invite other random and unaffiliated items, so piles form, items get lost and a lot of time is wasted looking for what you need. The solution, have less stuff and you’ll find more. It sounds so easy, but in reality getting rid of things is hard and you’ll always find reasons not to. Stop making excuses, start purging, and soon you’ll have less stuff and more space!

It’s Not Just MY Stuff

– In a family home it’s so easy to blame someone else for the clutter problem. But in my professional experience of working with couples and families, once you sort through the piles, you’ll find a little bit of everyone’s stuff. Call a family meeting and let your family know what the plan is for clearing the clutter. If one member doesn’t want to jump on the purging bandwagon, you may need to zone their clutter. Give him/her a room or designated area to contain their clutter and then vow not to ask, bug, or nag them about cleaning it up.

It’s Not Fun

– When weeks, months, and even years of stuff has accumulated it can be overwhelming to go through. You can always find something else more interesting or important to do. However, if you’re committed to having more space you’ll get through it.

  • Play your favorite music to create a motivating environment.
  • Get a friend to help. You can do a lot of talking and catching up while sorting through your stuff.
  • Create a reward for yourself once the job is done.

I Can’t Get Rid of THAT!

– Also known as, “I might need that!” Keeping something because you might need it someday takes away the value of your current space. Consider whether it is more important for you to keep this item than to have the space it occupies. If you really want or need more space, the item should go. If getting rid of an item is still a challenge, think about the following:

  • Have you used the item in the last year?
  • Will you have a use for it in the foreseeable future?
  • If you got rid of it and needed it again could you borrow it from a friend or neighbor or purchase it again inexpensively?

I Don’t Have Time

– Not every clutter clearing project has to be a huge investment of time. A few suggestions:

  • The Two Minute Pick Up – Every time you leave a room, spend two minutes picking up obvious trash and returning items to their appropriate home.
  • Create a Donate Box – When you find items in your home you no longer want or need (e.g. toys your kids no longer play with or clothes that no longer fit them) you can easily drop them in the “Donate Box”. A much less overwhelming task than trying to find time to de-clutter an entire room. Once the donate box is full drop the items off at your local charity.
  • Set a Timer – Can you find 30, 15, or even 10 minutes a day to pare down some of the items in your home? Set a timer and go to work on a kitchen cabinet, your linen closet, a drawer of your desk. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish when the clock is ticking.

Making excuses will not clear the clutter from your home or life. Take action and start purging! You’ll gain more space and make managing what’s important to you much easier.

Photo Credit: Mark Norman Francis