Our oldest daughter just graduated from college. As we returned from our trip, it occurred to me that an integral part of any transition be it graduation or otherwise, often involves clutter reduction and management. Since clutter can become overwhelming, perhaps you’ll find some of these tips useful.
1. Clear Slate - Return things to square one. That might include putting away the dishes, clearing off your desk, or placing dirty clothes in the laundry basket. This will help to maintain clutter and promote mental clarity as you begin your day. When returning from our trip, it felt great to come home to a clutter-free space.
2. Think Less - How much is enough? The less stuff you have, the easier it will be to manage and maintain. While away, I was amazed by how many things I didn’t need. I only packed a small portion of my belongings of which not all were used. Remember the 80/20 rule. In general, we only wear 20% of the clothes we own. We only reference 20% of the papers we file.
3. Complete Cycle - Develop an awareness of what you are doing. If you have just entered the house with groceries or purchases in hand, take time to put them away. The few minutes spent doing this minimizes clutter that might otherwise collect in hallways, corners and on floors.
4. Create Homes - When things have no place to go, they start to gather in piles. Establishing a place to put your things helps reduce clutter. Make sure that what you keep is “home worthy.” Is it useful? Do you love it? Does it fit? Do you need so many? Is it time to let go? Ask the questions before putting things away.
5. Pass On - What if the clutter represents things no longer wanted? Do I really want to keep my marble collection or pants that no longer fit? Is it time to reroute them? There are many people that would appreciate them. Can you donate to a local charity or give to family or friends? Many charities will pick-up clothing, linens, furniture and household items. Especially during transitions, we may find that our things “no longer fit” who we are or where we are headed. This can be a clutter reducing motivator.
6. Use Minutes - Clutter management doesn’t have to involve hours of time. Doing periodic ten minute sessions can be less overwhelming. Unpacking from our trip included clearing out my travel folder. Some items were filed and others were recycled. I used additional minutes to look through the four-year old college folders and clear out papers that are now irrelevant.
7. Purchase Consciously - Before you buy, think about not only whether you need it, but also where you will store it. Factoring this aspect into purchasing habits will prevent clutter from entering your home.
How do you reduce clutter?