Clutter (verb): to fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness <a room cluttered with toys>
Clutter (noun): 1 a: a crowded or confused mass or collection b: things that clutter a place
Clutter may refer to any of the following:
Excessive physical disorder:
- A confusing or disorderly state or collection; or the creation thereof. Excessive, unnecessary or uncontrolled clutter can be a symptom of compulsive hoarding.
Clutter can be a real pain. I actually say that figuratively, but for some people, the clutter in their lives can become so out of control and overwhelming that they do end up in pain – emotional pain (stress, depression) and physical pain (slips/trips/falls, cuts and scrapes, etc).
Getting rid of clutter can make you feel so much better about your life. Trust me – I know! I could talk for days about the benefits of getting rid of clutter, but why not try the following for me, ok?
Spend an hour a week (or more you feel so inclined) going through everything in your house (or office, or whatever area you are trying to clear out). An hour is not a lot of time when it comes to organizing, but if you are just starting out, it’s a good amount of time to get you into the swing of things.
You can start in your bedroom – open up your closet. Take out anything that doesn’t fit, anything that needs repair, or anything you just don’t like any more – and deal with it appropriately. Move on to the nightstand – open up the drawer – get rid of any useless notes or expired medications. Take all those empty water glasses into the kitchen where they belong. What are you storing under your bed? Do you remember? When was the last time you used anything under there?
Or, start in the kitchen – can you get rid of any kitchen equipment that’s no longer in good condition? Do you have four cheese graters? Open the cabinets – rid yourself of any expired food. Are you storing 100 plastic bags under the sink? Recycle them – you don’t need that many, and if you grocery shop on a regular basis, you’ll always end up with more (though I recommend reusable bags – many actually hold more groceries than a standard paper or plastic bag and can be purchased online or at your local store).
Maybe the living room is the place to start. Are there piles of unread mail around? You can definitely get recycle last week’s sale papers. Oh yeah, grab those plates and put them with the glasses you took out of your bedroom.
Sure, you can also start in the bathroom. Maybe it’s time to do some laundry? Cosmetics have expiration dates – did you know that? While they might not be official, there are several sources that will give you some good guidelines for when to toss products (this is includes lotions and deodorants – so men and women pay attention!). Toss anything that’s past its “use by” date, has changed color, or doesn’t smell quite the way it should.
I personally try to spend half an hour three times a week doing something around the house – not including the dishes, which can take half an hour on their own. For me, that’s a reasonable goal, since my place is organized. I love books and have a lot – so for me, a project might be to scan the shelves and pull out things that are no longer of interest. I also tend to record things on television occasionally when I’m away from home. Every once in a while I will revisit that collection, and usually, I’m not so interested in the material anymore – so it’s time to let go. I also get fliers and other promotional materials from business owners that I meet. Has their event past? Is the sale over? Toss it. What about those coupons? Yep, expired, time to throw them out.
Starting with the simple things that are easy for you to make decisions about will help prepare you to make the tougher decisions when the time comes.