Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Exterminating the Clutter Bug

“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”  - Albert Einstein

We cleaned out our closet over the weekend and made some room for our warm weather clothes.  We do this twice a year and it always amazes me how much stuff we remove from our lives.

"Removing" means we either throw the item in the garbage, or we put it in a box for charity or for someone else who we know will appreciate it.  

The older I get the less tolerant I am of clutter and the more I long for simplicity.   Getting rid of the excess makes cleaning so much easier and it makes finding things when you need them absolutely effortless.
There is something about walking into that de-cluttered space, or opening a well-organized drawer that I find incredibly soothing and reassuring.  I feel like I am in control even if the world around me outside of my home is spinning out of control.

I think that our mental health is improved by creating order and freeing up space around us.   We become less stressed, more productive and less wasteful.  

A few things I have done to exterminate the clutter bug:
  1. Spend 15 minutes a day decluttering a room, a drawer, a shelf, a closet.  Visit and check out her "baby steps", if you want a structured approach to this. 
  2. Think of the tools you use semi regularly (tweezers, nail clippers, nail file...) Having one of these- instead of a dozen can make you more mindful of where you leave it.   I keep each of these in a small bin in my bathroom.   I always return these there and can always find them when I need them.
  3. When you buy something new, throw out something old. 
  4. Clean out your purse every friday night.  Really think about what is essential and what is not.
  5. Have one drawer or small bin in your kitchen designated for keys, cellphone, work badge, and anything else you require to head out the door on your work day.  
  6. I have been successful in identifying two pairs of shoes that I wear for work all of the time.   One black and one brown.   I have my running shoes (which sadly are underutilized), my flip flops, my garden clogs, a pair of slippers, a pair of formal shoes (black) and two pairs of sandals (one black, one brown).   I have determined that these are the bare minimum of shoes I need to be well-dressed.  I mention this, not as an advocate for shoe conservatism, but as an example of how you can choose an area of your wardrobe (or life) and minimalize.  
  7. We have a "touch it once" policy regarding our mail.   We bring it in the house and immediately sort it into three catagories- garbage, bills, and of interest.   Garbage is thrown out, bills are put away, and the items of interest are placed in a stack for immediate review and disposal (which technically is touching it twice, but you get the point.)
  8. I plan a menu at the beginning of each week and clean out the fridge.   We use the menu to plan our grocery list.   Yes, I still buy things not on my list, but we buy mostly just what we need and we do waste a lot less.
  9. I find that if I keep my desk top clean, I am much more productive
  10. There are certain spots/surfaces in everyone's home where clutter accumulates.   Make a daily habit of clearing those spaces.  
   If you have a de-cluttering secret to add to this list, please share in comments below.  I would love to hear from you.

Take Good Care!


Beth @ To the Fullest said...

Wow these are really great ideas. I know that decluttering would be a huge help to me.

Self Care Girl said...

Thank you, Beth.

These steps work pretty well for us and it is eye-opening when you think about how much of your stuff you really don't need!

Take Good Care!