It happens to the best of us: We accumulate stuff over a lifetime which becomes annoying clutter throughout the house. Your disorganization and clutter drive you crazy, but you may have failed at repeated attempts to conquer it. Taking a look at what causes the clutter in the first place may help you eliminate it.
Causes of clutter
People accumulate clutter through the years for several reasons.
- The most common reason for the accumulation of clutter is that we lack the time or organizational skills and systems to keep clutter under control. It’s easier to just toss rarely used items into a closet, drawer, attic or basement than to make a decision about whether to get rid of them. All of us can get into “we might need it someday” thinking.
- In each season of life, we acquire things and hang onto them past their usefulness. We keep favorite articles of clothing long past the days we wore them. We store boxes of memorabilia from high school or college in the attic. We accumulate ribbons and trophies from kids’ extracurricular activities and we keep them, thinking the kids will want them later. (They probably won’t.)
- We have children. A growing family means growing stuff. Toys, games and baby supplies all add up, especially as our family continues to grow.
- We have health crises. The most organized life can be turned upside down when you, your spouse or one of your children is ill. Organization suffers as we focus all our attention on providing care.
Prevention is the first line of defense in the clutter war. Adopt a disciplined mindset about getting rid of old gadgets, toys, clothes and decorations. Be brutally honest with yourself about the likelihood of ever using items again.
Here’s how to tackle the clutter that has already accumulated.
- Take areas of your home one at a time. Consider beginning with a small area where you can experience success more easily.
- Begin by sorting items into what you will keep and what you’ll dispose of. Ruthlessly purge stuff not worth keeping. If you haven’t used an object or worn an article of clothing in the past year, purge it.
- Separate the items you’re letting go into three categories: donate, sell or trash.
- Organize things you’re keeping into baskets or plastic tubs that slide onto shelves. Label these containers so you can see at a glance what is in them. Alternatively, use hanging wall caddies to get things up off the floor.
- Continue this process room by room.
Related – How to Bust the Clutter Before a Move