For many people clutter takes over their garage. Per a Sparefoot study 47% of Americans admitted that there have been times they couldn’t park in their garage – because it’s full. But the same study showed that “on average, Americans have 3 areas in their homes, that have become storage units.” Some families may have guest bedroom where it’s easy to hide clutter that has been relocated from more public spaces. Others may have an office that has been over-run with paper and uncompleted projects. You may have a dining room which has turned into a staging area for projects and product returns.
When we can no longer use a room for its intended purpose, it’s time to ask: “Is this space working? How do I really want to use this room?”
“Clutter is simply postponed decisions,” says author Barbara Hemphill. So, when we hide things in the guest bedroom, closet or garage, we are simply giving ourselves a future task. The longer we avoid these decisions, the more clutter stacks up, the more overwhelming it becomes to tackle it.
How can we dig out from under our clutter?
The clutter didn’t appear overnight and it will not disappear overnight. Tackling our clutter will require daily effort.
A basketful a day makes clutter go away!
Start small. Take an empty laundry basket and fill it with items that are cluttering your space. Walk around the house and put away what you can. Toss trash. (If you are not sure if something is trash, ask yourself – have I missed this item? Have I needed it recently? Do I have another one of these?) Recycle paper or cardboard. If there is action item that needs to be completed, do it right then. Once your basket is empty you are done. Celebrate your success! The next day, repeat this process, little by little the clutter will disappear.
Get the family involved. Have each member of the family grab a basket or bag and go around the house picking up things that belong to them. Then have each member of the family put away the contents. With children, make clean-up part of playtime. Take ten minutes at the end of playtime to help them put away toys they have taken out.
As you take items in your home out of rotation, place them in a bin or bag destined for donations. On your next errand day, take the donations to your nearest Goodwill drop-off.
Know your limits, it’s okay to ask for help!
If you are feeling overwhelmed or in paralysis on where to begin, it may be time to get outside help. With the help of a professional organizer, in three hours you can get through three or four times as much clutter as you would while working alone. Professional organizers offer non-judgmental support, expertise in organizing systems, and even humor while working side by side with you.