You may already know all the reasons that it is important to stay organized and keep things in order:
So why can it be so hard to keep things neat? And more importantly, what are some strategies to make it easier to stay on top of? We have five quick hits that can help make staying on top of clutter doable.
1) Identify Clutter
Do you ever find yourself completely unaware of clutter - stepping over a pile, grabbing something from under 10 other things? It can be all too easy to get used to it and not even realize that you have clutter that may actually be causing stress.
Take out your camera and snap shots from around your home. Reflect on how the pictures makes you feel. Start by picking one area that you think you can tackle quickly, or that is currently causing irritation. Leave only the items you use regularly and set the rest aside. Take a new photo of the pared down result. If that feels good, box up the excess up to donate.
2) Start with an Easy Win
You probably dig in your pantry or refrigerator daily and it's easy to overlook things tucked in the back. It only takes a few minutes to do a quick check. You can even just start with a single shelf.
An easy first step is to pull items from the back and weed out any expired items. These may be offered on a local buy nothing or zero waste group. (Don't donate open or expiring food). Remove unwanted food items, specialty items for that thing you never made, and any extras that you can't use within the freshness dates.
Consider donating unwanted but unopened and unexpired items to local non-profits that give food to people in need such as Sharing and Caring Hands or Breaking Free.
3) Do a Spring Clothing Cleanse
Conventional wisdom says you should clean out your closets twice a year at the change of seasons. When you start looking for cooler or warmer clothing, that's your signal.
Pull the next season's items forward, and as you do, for each item you touch, only move it forward if you feel great in it AND it fits really well. Anything that doesn't, plus anything you didn't wear last season (you are not likely to this year, either), put into a bag. Take items that are still in great condition to local non-profits such as Ready For Success, Sharing and Caring Hands, or The Arc Minnesota.
4) Tackle Your Workspace
Your desk is a place you really need focus. You can stay clear minded and are more productive when you have just the right tools to help you, and jettison anything that distracts and clutters. Your workspace, especially if you spend a lot of time there, can have a big impact on your state of mind. It is worth taking time here to clear away everything that isn't essential.
Donate extra office supplies to local non-profits that will use them to help people in need such as Urban Ventures, Ampersand Families, or SEWA.
5) Take Small Steps
In order to get and maintain a neat and organized home, you don't need to do everything at once. The key is consistency and having a doable habit. You can organize once and risk re-cluttering, or you make it a habit of small tasks and can stay better organized every day.
Even more importantly, consider what you bring home. If you apply the principles of use it up, wear it out, make do or do without, you'll find you have less stuff getting in your way, and less waste. When you make a regular habit of keeping things simple and neat, you may find yourself more reluctant to buy something you don't really need.
Author Jennifer Victor-Larsen
Jennifer is the founder and Executive Director of Donate Good Stuff
Donate Good Stuff exists to help you find the best home for your donation items and we recognize it's just part of the challenge of having too much stuff. How do you declutter what you have, reduce the amount of stuff you bring into your home, and continue to move toward sustainable and environmentally kind living? We can help with that, too. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or subscribe to our newsletter for regular tips and creative ideas for managing your stuff, reducing waste, sustainable living, and being part of a connected community.
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