One of the best ways to ensure that there is less clutter in your house is to refrain from buying stuff that you don’t really need, but you just want. Don’t be an impulsive buyer. The more things you buy, the more clutter there is at home. Even when there are freebies that are offered to you when you buy something substantial, think whether you are really going to use it or not, before getting it. One of the ways to ensure that you don’t buy unnecessary things is to decide to actually buy something only after 24 hours have passed after feeling the impulse to buy it. After 24 hours, it is likely that you will realize whether the stuff is really needed or it is just a passing fancy. Finally, do not buy things just because they are on sale. Buy only and only if you really need them. And even if you need to buy something, think whether you can make do with what you have already with you.
From your paper napkins to your kids’ toys, each of your possessions should belong to a particular place reserved for it. There should be a place to store kids’ toys, another place for storing clothes belonging to each family member, and yet another space to put away items that are used only during certain times of the year, like Christmas decorations for example. Things that are most frequently used should be stored in a place that is easy to access. No space in a house needs this kind of assignment of spaces as much as the kitchen. Organize your kitchen so that you do not have to search for spoons and forks, or your sauce pans or oven-safe containers or knives from the best online knives reviews. The same goes for all the rooms in the house.
This is so obvious, yet often difficult to implement. Putting back things where they belong is an exercise in mindfulness and overcoming laziness. However, it can be done, if you remember how much time can be saved when you do not have to search the whole house for something, and you know where something is kept. It is often the kids in the house who do not like to put things back where they belong. They have to be trained from young, to put back their toys in the toy cupboard or toy basket, and books to the corresponding book shelves. It takes mindfulness and diligence, but is totally worth the trouble.
Over time, we accumulate a lot of stuff, most of which may not have been used for quite a while and has no chance of being used in the near future. Do not store stuff you don’t need. When kids outgrow their clothes, donate them, and if they are not good enough to be donated, use them for some other purpose such as cleaning. If they cannot be used in any way, just throw them away. There is no need to feel guilty about it. You are getting rid of stuff that cannot be used in any way.
When you buy something such as fruit juice in a bottle, do you throw away the bottle or wash it and keep it just in case you need it in the future? A lot of clutter in the kitchen comes from buying edible stuff in a tin, jar or bottle, and then keeping the tin, jar or bottle for future use. In the majority of cases, the future use never materializes. This is the reason why many homes have kitchen cupboards chockablock with plastic containers and empty jars of coffee and jam, stored for years together. When you need to refill your coffee powder buy the refill pack. When you buy the new jam bottle, try to find some use for the old jam bottle. If you cannot, just throw it away.
Don’t have enough shelves and containers to keep things in? What you need to do may be not buy new containers or shelves, but create storage space where it looks like none exists. For example, in the kids’ clothes cupboard or drawers, there may be no space for storing their socks. Their vests and socks may all be mixed up in one drawer. What you can do is to divide a single drawer into effectively two drawers by placing a divider between them. All socks on the right side of the divider and all vests on the left side. Problem solved.
When it comes to using things at home, the green movement mantra ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ holds good. Reduce your buying. Reuse whatever you can. Recycle stuff whenever possible. And when you throw away things, sort them out into glass, plastic, paper, and organic stuff, so that what can be recycled, will be recycled, if not by you, by someone else.
Above all, remember: An hour of organization saves many hours of searching for things, and a vast amount of frustration and stress. Also, a de-cluttered home is conducive to de-cluttered minds and lives of its occupants.
What are your ideas on home organization and de-cluttering? Can you add to the tips above?