Clearing the Clutter: Helpful Tips

When you stand in the middle of your living room and look around, are your eyes assaulted by the clutter that is threatening to take over your home? Is the couch covered with clean or dirty laundry? Are there piles of newspapers, magazines, bills, and mail? Are the end tables holding plates from yesterday’s dinner? Are there children’s toys all over the floor making it hard to walk from one room to the other?

If you look to your right, are there shoes, hair brushes, stray clothing pieces? Does a glance to your left reveal sports gear, soda cans, DVDs, and paperback books? If you lift that opened up newspaper will you find that cable TV bill that should have been mailed yesterday?

At first,  the decision to organize your clutter can seem overwhelming. You might wonder what to do first.  Burning down the house is not an option. Sadly, there is no easy way out, but making the decision and sticking to it is the first step. Concentrate on the final results, a clutter free living room, where you can relax and enjoy one of the main rooms in your house. A place you can proudly invite in a friend who has unexpectedly dropped by, to sit and enjoy their company without having to clear a chair or forgo the pleasure of their company because you’re too embarrassed to invite them in.

You made the mess.  You have to clean it up. As intimidating as it may seem, clutter clearing is not that hard.  The most important element is to stay focused. Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.  Eliminate or at least minimize the distractions, If possible, send the kids to the house of a friend or family member so that you can work in peace and without interruption. Clear your schedule, block out several hours to devote to this process. Keep the TV off, take the phone off the hook.

Decide what purpose the living room will serve. Will it be a formal sitting room, or a more relaxed family room? Next, list all the clutter that you see, then, prioritize the list from most to least.  Where is the most clutter?  Where is the least? What one thing will make the biggest impact? What’s the next thing that you can do that will make a big impact? This will help give you an idea about what you need to focus on first.  Before you know it, you’ll have cleared much of your clutter, you just need to put your mind to it and stay on task.

After you’re done with your list, purge, grab a garbage bag and put all the trash in the bag. What else is in this room that can go? Is there anything that can be given away, sold, thrown away, and repaired? The most thorough process is to take everything that you possibly can out of the room, and before you move it back in, ask yourself does this item serve the room’s purpose? While everything is out, use that opportunity to sweep or vacuum the floor, dust the cabinets or shelving, use glass cleaner on any mirrors or glass surfaces, and touch up or repaint.  Another process is to pick a specific area, put everything from that area elsewhere (another room, bins etc.) clean that area, then taking the items that belong in that specific area and place them there. Place items no longer desired or needed into large bins for later sale, donation, or trash.

Once the room is cleared of the clutter, eternal vigilance is required. When you’re done reading the newspaper, throw it away. Books go back on the book shelf. Either don’t eat in the living room or take the time to clean up as soon as you’re done eating, don’t just place them in the sink, process them all the way out of sight – into the dish washer. The living room isn’t a parking spot for the laundry – can you sort it in the bedroom(s). When returning from a sporting event, put the equipment directly back where it belongs, perhaps the garage?

Clearing the clutter from your home or a room may be a tough practice, but it’s a good one.  Once you’ve experienced the positive results of having a well-organized, clean and tidy home, the better you will feel about the room and your home, and even yourself.  You’ll be happy you took the time to clear the clutter.

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