6 Tips to Get Clutter Under Control

6 Tips to Get Clutter Under Control

A SpareFoot survey shows that more than one-fourth of Americans think their home is at least somewhat cluttered. In a survey conducted for SpareFoot, 6 percent of American adults said their house or apartment is “very” cluttered, and 21 percent classified their space as “somewhat” cluttered. In addition, 12 percent of Americans, when they have guests over, worry very or somewhat often that their home is too cluttered, the SpareFoot survey found. Another 23 percent said they fret about that occasionally. Organizing experts expressed surprise at the large number of people who say they have no mess in their homes. Forty-six percent of those surveyed by SpareFoot said their living space is not cluttered at all. Meanwhile, 61 percent said that when they invited guests over, they’re never concerned that their home is too cluttered. If you struggle with clutter, whether it’s a major problem or an occasional annoyance, here are six tips for getting it under control.

1. Define the Problem.
One way to determine the severity of your clutter problem: Use the free clutter and hoarding assessment tool from the Institute for Challenging Disorganization

2. Get Help.
Even on a small budget, you can hire a professional organizer to spend an hour or two assessing your clutter and creating a plan of action that you can carry out on your own. Or you can benefit from the objective eye and accountability you get from enlisting a relative or friend to help.You can also set aside a chunk of a Saturday and swapping favors, such as help straightening up your friend’s garage in exchange for a hand with taming the closet in your master bedroom. This makes it harder to procrastinate.

3. Start Small.
Instead of organizing your entire kitchen, organize your silverware drawer.As you’re organizing, assign each type of item a home to make it easier to see what you have and to decide what to pitch. Go one drawer at a time and one cabinet at a time until you have a room done and you know what belongs there.

4. Avoid Stashing Stuff Indefinitely.
Your mother-in-law called to say she’s on her way over, so you quickly hide that stack of unopened mail. Sometimes you need to stash, it’s a fact of life. But those tucked-away items can create a mountain of clutter. Stow stuff in a container you’ll need fairly soon — like your laundry basket — so you’ll be forced to sort through the items after your company leaves, Marrero recommends.

5. Make Decluttering Fun.
About 80 percent of people dread decluttering, and one in 10 hate it so much they’d rather get a tooth pulled, according to a survey of more 8,000 Listia users in August and September 2014. But don’t despair: You can make organizing fun. For example, you can clear out overstuffed closets by holding a family fashion show.

6. Set Up Systems to Keep Your Space Neat.
The key to staying organized is creating systems. For example, thinking about what a room is used for, deciding what items are needed for that purpose and categorizing them, Marrero said. It’s also important to identify and assign maintenance tasks. Somebody’s got to take out the recycling and somebody’s got to buy laundry detergent and somebody’s got to straighten up the tool box. People tend to think in terms of big tasks. But staying organized is really about those tiny, everyday maintenance tasks. Once you vanquish your clutter, you should see improvements in your life. The whole purpose of getting organized is to be calmer, happier and have more time to do the things you enjoy.

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