Do you have clutter faeries messing with your home? You think you cleaned it all up to turn around to find a mess in the same place. As if it magically reappeared. Those clutter fairies definitely mess with our minds. So, how do you become Tony Danza and show those messes Who’s the Boss? (Before you say, “huh?” Remember when Tony Danza was Judith Light’s housekeeper? Next you will tell me you don’t remember Soap. Sheesh.)
It’s how you define It.
Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalistic does a great job of defining clutter. I have outlined his key points:
- ” clutter is anything that is disorganized…
- clutter is anything you don’t need or love…
- clutter is too much stuff in too small a space…”
I can’t stand papers that are piles up, a pantry where you can’t find anything, and closets knee deep in boxes and clothes. If you feel like screaming when you open a drawer or peek into your closet, you have a clutter issue. I am no stranger to talking about cleaning up the old house. I wrote about Spring cleaning, cleaning out my pantry, and the amount of food spoiled in my pantry. But the clutter just keeps coming back.
What does clutter look like to you?
How to Organize Clutter?
I have paper (mail and kids’ school work), pantry, and grew-out-of clutter. As I mentioned above, I have tried to get rid of the mess, but it silly to think that clutter won’t come back. So, here are my suggestions to organize clutter so you have a road map to keep it in check.
Daily Paper clutter:
I force myself each day to go through my mail and recycle most of it. You can reduce that choir by reducing the number of catalogs that you get. Simply sign up for Catalog Choice, New American Dream, or follow these instruction to reduce your catalogs and direct mail.
You can also receive your bills via email. Generally most banks, credit cards, or other bills centers will have a paperless option.
Afraid you might miss an email since your email box is so full? Create a new email name via Yahoo or Gmail solely for your bills. In addition, you can create alerts in Google Calendar, Quicken, or Mint (a free online personal finance software) to remind you that you should have gotten the bill. I have been using Quicken reminders for years.
Still scared? As a last resort, most bill payers will automatically deduct money from your bank account to pay your bills. You just have to make sure you have an adequate balance at all times, and it is easy to stop these automatic deductions by simply going online and canceling. Otherwise, this option could be a nightmare.
As for kid school paper clutter, I bought large scrapbooks for all of my children and would pick and choose which art work I would keep and what would be thrown out. When I say big, I mean the size that is large enough to handle a newspaper page. (See here for where to buy this type of scrapbook.)
It’s fun to go back and see the transition of their work as they grow older. Word of caution. Don’t keep every picture. You will have volumes of scrapbooks.
Need wall art? Interchange your kids’ art every couple of weeks. For more ideas on how to use their pictures, see “Ten Great Ways to Show off Your Kid’s Art.”
Why do I have so many of the same thing clutter?
How many of you have members of your household (including yourself) that stock up on items in the pantry when they are on sale? Or you think you need 10 of the same items just in case? My husband is notorious for buying different energy bars every time my kids told him that they liked something.
I lamented in my article, “The Kitchen Pantry: Clutter Free, But Still Losing the Battle ” that my kids’ taste were similar to adolescent girls. One day they were in love with a certain food, and two weeks later, they dropped it as fast as you can spit. PS. They broke those energy bars’ hearts and they sulked for two years in my pantry.
Worse yet, as I went through my pantry, there were dozens of empty boxes. Yes, dozens. My kids are allergic to throwing out an empty box. I found an empty one in the freezer the other day. So, we continue to buy more and more of the same food because we can’t find what we bought!
So, take my pantry challenge and clean it up. Trust me. You will save yourself some money by simply using what is in your pantry.
Get Real With Yourself
Think of yourself like Dr. Phil and get to the heart of the mess matter. Ask yourself the hard, deep feeling questions when you want to buy something.
- Do I need to buy that certain product?
- Can I rent it or borrow it? Check out sources like Neighborrow. For additional tips on where to rent or borrow ( and giveaway) in your neighborhood, see here.
- For dresses, don’t forget one of my favorites places to rent designer dresses, Rent the Runway.
- Do I already own it. Don’t laugh. How many of you buy something because you aren’t sure what you own. There is even free software for you to take inventory of what you own!
Ways to Organize Clutter
Over the years, I have compiled an extensive lists of where you can giveaway your once loved (or maybe never loved) possessions. Use the rule of thumb, if you haven’t worn it or used it for a year, give it to someone else.
- Have a digital garage sale.
- Need to giveaway books, DVDs, and CDs? Check out my resources here.
- Want to get rid of toys? Team up with a family with younger children, and give away your toys and old clothes to them. Let them go shopping in your toy collection. Talk about Christmas after the holiday! Don’t know anyone? Check out SwapMama.
- Barter, Swap, and Giveaway. See resources here. (I listed some more UK swapping sites here.)
- FreeCycle it. It’s free. Your trash is someone else’s treasure.
- List it on Craig’s List or eBay.
- Consign your pregnancy clothes to InStyle Belly.
- Consign your beautiful bride’s gown to Recycled Brides.
- Giveaway your sports equipment and uniforms, old tennis balls, swim caps, and yoga mats here. (Whew. Now, that is a lot cleaning up to do.)
- What is your messiest area in the house?
- How do you combat the mess?
- What are your favorite life hacks to organize clutter in your house?
- Have you given up and learned to life with the mess.
- Does your clutter make you uptight?
- How often do you attempt to clean up your home. (Which reminds me, I have a stack of papers to go through….)
- Should Tony Danza’s character (Tony) marry Judith Light’s character (Angela?) Just wanted to see if you were reading.
This post is part of the Green Moms’ Carnival at Amber’s site, Strocel.com about cleaning up clutter for the New Year. I am excited to be participating since I am eager to learn more tricks. Oh, by the way, clutter, don’t let the door hit you in the butt as you leave my home.