Picture how yucky this working mom feels when she comes home to a cluttered house. When she comes in the door her back rejoices when she drops her purse, laptop bag, breast pump bag, and lunch bag on the floor. Her children come running to greet her but someone falls over a toy. Instead of feeling concerned about her child's well-being she's annoyed the toy was where it was. Her anger grows as she looks around her home.
It looks like a toy-like volcano erupted in her living room. “How can I keep up with this?” she puzzles. Before she bends over to pick up the Barbie she eyes the homework, pencils, crayons, scissors, and school folders stuffed with sheets of paper on the kitchen table. A big puff of air passes through her lips.
The smell of dinner is in the air so it’s easy to get the kids to clear the table. But all that paperwork and stuff got crammed in different corners of the room because of the many helpful hands
If this sounds like your story follow these tips to discover clutter relief.
Take a picture, mentally and literally
Slowly look at your cluttered room. Do not overlook any corner. Look above you, at eye-level, and at your feet and take it all in without judgment.
While you're taking these mental pictures of your clutter take out your camera or smartphone and start taking your “before” pictures.
If you feel brave, post them on your favorite social media channel. This will keep you accountable as you'll look forward to posting your "after" pictures.
Note How the Clutter Makes You Feel
Next, sit down and let your emotions wash over you. Do you feel guilty, gross, angry, hopeless? What kind of energy is the clutter giving off?
At this point, you won't feel happy, but this is about to change. Allow yourself to really feel how the clutter is negatively impacting your well-being.
Please don't skip this step. Sure you could quickly organize things but this is avoiding the big issue. Clutter doesn't feel good. When you've really experienced the emotions your clutter is causing it'll affect how you deal with clutter in the future.
Determine Which Clutter is Within Your Control
Toys and paperwork are big contributors to clutter, but there may be other things cluttering up your home that is not within your control. So, first determine what clutter you can control which means your belongings and your children's belongings.
For the clutter that is not within your control here’s a suggestion. Because you went through the previous two tips you can share your story with the person who owns the clutter you can’t control. You can show pictures and articulate well the reasons why it bothers you. Ask them how their clutter effects them and perhaps point to their closet. Can they relate to what you're feeling?
If your story convinces the other person to join your de-cluttering project, congrats! If not, ask them to watch the transformation that's about to happen.
Take Control of Your Clutter
It’s time to make a plan. Yes, you want to clean the whole house but that goal is overwhelming and may stop you in your tracks before you begin. Start the plan with the most manageable room and create a goal to have things cleaned out by a certain date. Then start your purge-fest! To keep you accountable schedule an at-home pick-up with a local donation company (like The Epilepsy Foundation). You will know that by Tuesday at 7 AM you need to have your boxes and bags on the curve (plus you get the tax credit!)
Experience the Results of Your Cleaning Efforts Then Share It
Once you are free of your annoying clutter notice how you feel. Can you put these emotions into words? If not, try writing about it in your journal. Or take a video of your decluttered house and talk to your imaginary audience.
Tell them what you did and how good it feels. Now would be a good time to post some "after" pictures, too!
If you live with someone in your home who can't clean up their own clutter share your experience with them. Hopefully next time they open that front closet they'll appreciate your efforts and you'll inspire them to clean up their own clutter (here's hoping!)