Guest feature by Andrea Needham
Are you fighting a never-ending battle against clutter? If you’re constantly decluttering but always end up back where you started, you’re not addressing the true cause of your clutter.
These are three of the most common reasons homes get cluttered and what you can do about them.
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1. You Have Too Much Stuff
The problem: Too much stuff is the easiest clutter problem to solve — you just need to get rid of the excess. Of course, this is easier said than done, especially if you have a habit of impulse shopping or becoming emotionally attached to stuff you don’t need.
The solution: Instead of wringing your hands over what to get rid of and what to keep, set clear goals and rules for your decluttering project. Identify the areas of your home in need of attention, and schedule a day to tackle each one. Give yourself extra time for attics, basements, and garages, which tend to be clutter magnets.
Establish criteria for what’s worth keeping. These should be things you use on a regular basis that aren’t easily replaced by something else in your home. If it is damaged, doesn’t fit, is a duplicate, or simply doesn’t get used, it needs to go.
2. You Have Too Little Space
The problem: A home that’s too small for your stuff is a tough situation. You could downsize your belongings, but what if everything in your house is something you need? Or you could upsize your house, but what you really want is more living space, not a bigger mortgage payment.
The solution: Instead of living in a home that’s cramped and cluttered, get the things you need less often out of the house. Seasonal items like lawn equipment, recreational gear, and holiday decorations are ideal candidates for a storage facility, as are family heirlooms you want to keep but don’t need to store at home.
You can also free up space by digitizing your book, music, and media collections. Instead of storing physical copies, rent or buy ebooks, convert your old CDs to lossless files, and scan photo albums and important documents into digital formats.
Redoing your walls may not free up space, but it can make your home feel less cramped and more organized. For example, painting a wall the same color as a large piece of furniture will create the illusion of more space. Another idea is coating your walls with elegant wallpaper designs. Peel-and-stick wallpaper offers modern designs and allows for easy application so you won’t have to hire a professional. With a myriad of designs available, you’re bound to find something that enhances your space.
3. Your Organization is Lacking
The problem: Some clutter problems are really organization problems in disguise. If you don’t own a ton of stuff and aren’t short on square footage, but your kitchen table and bedroom floor end up covered in clutter anyway, you need to rethink how your home is organized.
The solution: If you’re organizing to make your home look tidy, you’re taking the wrong approach. The purpose of home organization is to achieve both form and function. When your house looks good but things aren’t easy to access and put away, it’s only a matter of time before you’re living in clutter again.
Instead of using storage to hide your stuff, design an organization system that matches how you live in your home. Get the whole family involved in this process, taking note of where each person does their daily activities. If your kids do homework in the kitchen, store school supplies there and set up a homework command center. If you tend to grill on the deck during the summer months, create a grilling station so you’re not running back and forth for supplies.
Do these clutter culprits resonate with you? If so, you know exactly where to start on your home decluttering project. If they don’t, a professional organizer can help you get to the root of your clutter problem so you achieve a clutter-free home once and for all.