Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Reducing Clutter Room by Room by Paul Benjamin

Here is a guest post that I hope you will find useful!

A cluttered house can be a stressful house. Many people assume that getting organized and reducing clutter once and for all is just as, if not more stressful than the mess itself. The good news is that conquering clutter doesn’t have to be a painful process. Follow these simple steps to get organized one room at a time.

The Bedroom

Because of the private nature of a master bedroom, it is often an afterthought during the house-cleaning process. But messy bedrooms can actually make it harder to relax and fall asleep. Having too much clutter and disorganization can be counterproductive and actually make it harder for you to relax and get a restful night’s sleep. 

Instead, turn your bedroom into a clutter-free sanctuary by making sure that everything is properly stored.  Start with your closet by clearing out anything you no longer have use for. A common tactic for going through clothes (or any belongings) is to sort into 3 piles:
  • Toss
  • Keep
  • Giveaway / Donate
So if that old concert tee-shirt doesn’t fit anymore, donate it. If your favorite dress has slipped out of style, get rid of it. The most important part of this process is to be honest about how likely you are to use something again. If you haven’t worn an item in over a year – chances are you can get rid of it.
Once you’ve gotten rid of all of the clothing and accessories you no longer use, hang your in-season clothing on easy-to-access hangers and store the rest in clearly labeled containers on closet shelves. The goal here is to keep your floor as clear as possible.

Finally, clear any flat surfaces. Do not use night stands or dressers as a catch-all. If you can’t clear it away, then consider extra storage options like shelving or hooks. Maintaining the rule that no items are to be stored on these surfaces will not only help repel clutter, it will also help induce relaxation by reducing bed-time stress.

The Kitchen

The kitchen is often the hub of the whole family, which means that it is a magnet for all things clutter. Stop the madness before it begins by designating a place for everything: in- and out-boxes for paperwork, an art stand for crafts or jars for pins and paperclips are great ways to start. Keep only items you need regularly in close reach and come up with a system that your family will use for storing everything else in an organized fashion.

Take the time to go through your pots and pans, Tupperware cabinet or any other problem area.  Toss anything that is damaged or rarely used in your recycle bin, and organize the rest.  Using old CD racks as lid storage or rolling under-cabinet drawers for bulkier items are easy solutions that can make a big impact. You can also use an over-the-door shoe organizer to store paper products such as wax paper and foil behind pantry doors.

The Living Room

Most households today use their living room for a variety of purposes from lounging to entertaining guests.  Because of the high amount of traffic and use this room gets it is especially important to get it organized and under control. Everything should have a home – it’s best to store everything near the area it is used. For example, keep all magazines stored neatly near a comfortable chair and keep all electronics, CDs and video games close to the entertainment center.  Better yet is to purchase furniture that can double as storage – there are many great pieces that serve double duty available at most retailers.

Converting all of your media to digital formats and donating the hard copies is one way to not only reduce clutter, but also to keep all of your favorite movies and music at you and your family’s fingertips.

Going through this process and reducing the clutter in your life is a great exercise with many benefits. Once you have brought order back to your household make a conscious effort to practice good cleaning habits – even taking just 15 minutes each day will help maintain all of your hard work. Also be sure to involve the entire family by creating guidelines or rules for everyone such as clear instructions on where specific items are stored and putting things in their correct spot after use.
All it really takes to tackle clutter is committing to completing a specific task – taking it one step at a time is the best way to do it.

Paul Benjamin is a District Manager at EZ Storage, a self storage company serving the Philadelphia Metro Area for over 40 years.