You have lost your keys for the hundredth time somewhere in the pile of stuff by the front door and you are ready to throw everything in the house out on the lawn and put a “FREE” sign up. It seems like every surface is covered with paper, dishes, clutter and dust. You feel like there is no end to the mess, so why even try….Right!?!?!?
The good news about all this, is that there is an easy solution. The bad news is…..well, there really isn’t any bad news because the good news provides a solution to all those messy thoughts! When you think about what it would take to clean up even one room in your house and you start to feel overwhelmed, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and take a few minutes to imagine what the room would look like if everything were put away, organized and clean.
With that wonderful image in your mind, open your eyes and follow these simple steps to make your dream a reality:
5-Minutes to Declutter
When you are first beginning your organizational journey, it is important to understand that it is just that, a journey. There is no way you could drive from Denver to Disneyland in one day, the laws of physics prevent that. The same is true when you begin organizing and decluttering your home. If the task seems truly daunting, it is important to pace yourself. Spend five minutes and only focus on one thing, like picking up trash. During your five minutes, it is imperative that you designate a home for whatever item you are focusing on. For instance, trash goes in the trash can, dishes go in the dishwasher, dirty clothes go into the hamper.
If you spend five minutes in the morning and five minutes in the evening each day, then you will single handedly have successfully managed the trash, the dishes, and the dirty laundry.
One of the main reasons clutter builds up is because there is no designated place in the house to put certain items and the feeling of being overwhelmed starts to creep in.
Mastering the 5-Minute Rule
Now that you have mastered trash, dishes and dirty laundry (pat yourself on the back for that one!!!), it is time to take it one step further. After even a few days of practicing the five-minute rule, you will notice a drastic difference. Soon five minutes in the morning will cover all three chores, and you will have five minutes in the evening to focus on something else. This is when you will have to discover what making a home is all about!
One of the main reasons clutter builds up is because there is no designated place in the house to put certain items and the feeling of being overwhelmed starts to creep in. That important wedding invitation gets placed next to the hat that you took off when you walked in the door, which covers the book you were reading, which is lying on a rumpled blanket on the couch and now you can’t find the keys! The next time you walk in the door your hands are full so you place your items on the next available surface (the kitchen table), but you don’t have time to put everything away, so the Windex and toothpaste are left out for the world to see.
This whole clutter clash could have been avoided if you had put the blanket neatly back on the couch and put the book back on the bookshelf (which takes a few moments and prevents clutter chaos!). With the extra five minutes in the evening you can go around and focus on decluttering and getting items back to their home. Make sure the folded sheets get put in the hall closet, put all the mail in a hanging basket (with key hooks for added convenience), put the extra items that tend to congregate near the front door in a bookshelf that creates a functional home for everyday items. After a few weeks of taking five minutes in the evening and putting household items in their home, you will see another drastic difference.
Finish with a shuffle
One thing now remains…what do you do with the items that do not have a home which are now the only things sitting out?
This is where things can get downright dirty.
Where do you put the loose odd and end items? How can you make space in any of the already packed closets and crawl spaces? You now have a glimpse of a home on the verge of being clean and organized. When you close your eyes and imagine what the room would look like you no longer cringe in fear and desperation. With that surge of hope and energy you must now ask yourself the question…”Do I need 27 light weight jackets, or can I get rid of a few to make space for the vacuum cleaner that I hide behind my bedroom door?”
Combining things that are in the same category can be the solution that will help you completely declutter you space. As you go throughout the house, begin collecting things that go together. Put ALL the craft stuff in one room (even if it is temporary), but get it in the same place so you can see you have three functioning hot glue guns, five scissors, and four bolts of fabric that you have never used! You can even take it one step further and get an organizing cart that will give you a mobile (and space friendly) home for your crafts.
After you have done this for some major categories in your house (kitchen, jackets, shoes, office supplies), it will seem like you have found a portal to the fifth dimension and space will open up all over the place. When you bring all the random craft stuff together a few spaces open up. When you put all the extra bedding material, the sports equipment , and the camping equipment together, all of the sudden there is a large space which (after putting everything neatly in clear plastic bins) can hold all three categories with space left over to put another bin of seasonal decorations (which has been sitting in the middle of the garage floor since last winter).