Monday, February 18, 2008

Coping with Clutter

A friend asked me how I cope with clutter in my life... thought my response to her might be helpful to you as well.

I've been dealing with the issue of clutter and organization since moving to Crossville, TN (from Knoxville, TN). We moved from a three bedroom home to a two bedroom and it has been HARD! But I've developed a few things that work for me:

* Find a place (even if it's just a box in the closet) for EVERYTHING. If you can't find a real place for an item, you need to ask yourself if you really need that thing.

* Put everything back in its place IMMEDIATELY after use, or at the very least before you go to bed. We don't have kids in the home now, but this was a rule when we did. They had to put away the toy they were playing with BEFORE getting another one out. Yeah, a few hassles to implement - but once it's done it makes life SO much easier.

And I quit fussing at hubby to pick up after himself and just started doing it myself. You pick your fights and that one wasn't worth the fight to me. :o)

* Get rid of EVERYTHING you don't need. As I've been unpacking and putting things away, I've re-considered every thing we own. If I feel we don't need it, I've put it in a yard sale box. I'm having a HUGE sale this spring and what doesn't sell is going to a thrift store somewhere. We don't need all this stuff and I can't stand the clutter any longer.

* Quit buying what you don't need. This has been hard for me. I love yard sales, thrift stores, etc. and I LOVE a bargain. But even if I like something, I grill myself as to whether or not I really need it, or have a place for it, or can afford it. If the answer is no to any of those questions, I don't buy it. This has been my biggest challenge, but I'm getting better at it. Just takes practice.

* Remember the adage... out of sight, out of mind? Well, for me, that applies to clutter. When I want to really clear things out, I get a big box, or a laundry basket, and dump everything in it... junk mail I want to look over, coupons I should use, catalogs, you name it. If I find myself looking for something, I check the box and pull out what I need. If I don't use it/look at it for a couple weeks or more, I go through the box one more time, then trash it. If it's important to me, I'll be looking for it right away.

These are some "top of my head" ideas, but they're things I do and things that work. Hope some of them help. Clutter is EXTREMELY stressful to me... I hate it! And I understand the need to deal with it to keep your sanity.


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