Clutter is like that last Christmas party guest that won’t leave.
They’ve eaten your cheese dip and knocked an ornament off your tree and ensconced themselves in a chair telling you about their trip to the grand canyon for the fifth time.
You look longingly at the door.
Leave clutter, leave, you tell yourself.
But it never does.
….and show that cheese-eating, ornament-knocking, grand-canyon visiting clutter to the door.
Here are my very best simple ideas for controlling clutter.
1. Start small
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was clutter.
For one week set aside 10 minutes a day.
10 minutes. That’s easy, right? 10 simple minutes. Set a timer. Set your watch. Set your phone.
Choose the clutter pile that gets on your nerve the most. The one that makes you shudder when you walk by it.
Don’t give it any more cheese dip.
Take 10 minutes and sort through that pile. Throw away papers. Toss old magazines. Put bills in a folder in your office or work space marked bills.
But here’s the key.
ONLY WORK ON IT FOR 10 MINUTES.
And when you are done. Walk away. Pat yourself on the back. Tell yourself how amazing you are. Call your mom and let her know she can stop by for a visit.
But return again tomorrow to show that clutter pile the door.
2. Baskets are your friend
I know the basic adage of organizing. A place for everything and everything in its place. The hardest part of that whole idea is figuring out what all the places look like.
I get it.
I understand. I really, really do.
That’s where baskets come in.
First of all, baskets are cute and pretty and have sides that hold things.
Here are some ideas that I use baskets for. I use a basket for mail. I use a basket for the kid’s papers. I use a basket for random coupons and business cards and tiny pieces of who-knows-what that collect on the counters. I use a basket for things I need to do. I use a basket for items I want to donate. I use a basket for dog supplies. I use a basket for unfinished projects.
And on and on and on.
Around here everything has a basket. It all goes in there if I don’t have time to sort through it or deal with it or think about it.
It just hangs out looking cute in a basket until I’m ready.
And then? When the basket overflows I go back to idea number one and spend 10 minutes on it.
3. Keep the surfaces clean
In every home there are a few surfaces that invite clutter to pull up a chair.
I don’t know why certain surfaces get cluttered. I wish I did because I would be a zillionaire. The key is figuring out which surfaces attract clutter and focus on keeping them clutter-free.
That’s where the baskets come in.
Every night, I check the surfaces and put the stuff from the surfaces into the baskets.
When the baskets overflow it’s back to our 10 minutes again.
4. Donate, donate, donate
Our house is full of stuff.
Stuff that we don’t really use any more. Stuff that I walk by and wonder what I should do with it. Stuff that stopped fitting into our life in 1999.
On the first of every month, I go through the house (some from the basket where I put it waiting to be donated) and gather up two garbage bags of stuff and donate it.
Someone else might need that stuff way more than me.
And my baskets thank me.
4. Be kind to yourself
I think that’s where clutter defeats us.
It’s why so many have tried to show clutter to the door and fail.
We look at the clutter and it overwhelms us and we sigh and look away and tell ourselves that we’ll handle it tomorrow.
Why not make your tomorrow start today?
You got this.
You can do it.
Yes, yes you can.
All you need are 10 minutes and a few cute baskets to show clutter the door.
Here’s to a great day. 🙂
PS This picture has actually nothing to do with de-cluttering.
Or cheese dip.
I just found it when I was looking for organizing pictures and it made me smile.
I thought it might make you happy, too. 🙂