8 Ways to Reduce Clutter

Clutter, according to home design experts, can cause unnecessary stress and can make an area look small and cramped. To avoid clutter, you can reorganize or create additional storage spaces. Try to return things to their original places and refrain from buying things you won’t use.
8 Ways to Reduce Clutter

You come home from work, take off your shoes, and leave your coat on the couch. You go through your mail and set aside a few bills. You pass an upturned toy box on the way up, but you decide it can wait till tomorrow. Before you know it, all that clutter will have added up and there’s practically no room on your floor to walk on.

Clutter is the major cause of stress in the home, according to design experts. When you’re surrounded by things in disarray, you can’t relax or get your thoughts together. It also makes your space small and cramped, making you irritable and even more stressed out. If household clutter is starting to affect your routine, maybe it’s time you did something about it.

Not all of us have the time for a major spring-cleaning session, but that shouldn’t be a problem. Here are eight easy tricks for reducing clutter in your home.

1. Clean as you go. The first thing you should do is prevent even more clutter from piling up. When you take out something, be sure to put it back or place it where it should be. After getting a drink, put your glass back on the rack and the jug back into the fridge. After reading a book, put it back on the shelf. Never leave anything lying around, thinking you’ll get to it soon enough. More often than not, you don’t—and that’s where clutter starts.

2. Reorganize. Get out all the stuff you have and sort it into piles. Set aside one pile for things you want to keep, one for those you can give away, and another for damaged or broken items. It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s naturally the most tedious part of de-cluttering. Once you get it over with, the rest becomes a lot easier. If you can’t set a few hours aside, try working one room or area at a time. Start with the garage—it’s usually the worst room in the house and where you’ll find most of the dispensable stuff.

3. Get a lot of storage. Sometimes an object is lying around simply because there’s nowhere to put it. What most people don’t realize is that as they continue to acquire possessions, their need for storage increases. Make sure everything in your house has a designated storage place. Invest in movable boxes, file cabinets, shelves, and cupboards for holding all your knick-knacks. If you don’t have room to allot for storage, try wall-mounting your shelves so they don’t take up any floor space.

4. Designate a ‘clutter area.’ So everyone should clean up after himself, right? But sometimes we simply don’t have time or are too tired to lift a finger. That’s where a clutter area—a temporary holding space for clutter—may come in handy. If there’s no time to put your coat in the closet, place it in the clutter space and do the job when your time allows. That way, all the clutter would be in one place and it will be easier to sort out. Take a few minutes each day to clear the space and put everything back in place.

5. Pick up the ‘pick up habit.’ When you enter a room, chances are there will be something that’s out of place: an open drawer, an unread book, or dirty clothes on the floor. Look for things you can pick up and put back in place before leaving the room. Since you’ve set up a clutter area, there’s no need to clean out the entire room or look around for storage. Just drop it in the clutter bin and take it out when there’s ample storage space.

6. Go digital. Paper is the number one component of household clutter. Bills, receipts, brochures, and magazines tend to pile up around the house—a result of the “I’ll get to it later” habit. Reduce paper clutter by doing as much as you can electronically. You can do your accounting, read the news, and even file your taxes online. Just keep one hard copy of each document—you can always print out more when the need arises.

7. Make the trash accessible. When going through your mail, you usually set aside those that are urgent and those that you’ll read some other time. Your unread mail can pile up wherever you leave them, and before you know it, there’s mail in your kitchen drawer, on top of your fridge, and under the coffee table. Avoid this by reading your mal next to the trash bin. Those you won’t bother reading will go straight to the trash.

8. Don’t accumulate. Of course, the best way to deal with clutter is to keep from making it. A lot of people buy things simply because they’re on sale or might be useful in the future. Here’s a simple rule: don’t buy anything you don’t have room for. The few dollars you save on a sale item are hardly worth the trouble of fitting it into an already crowded home.