If you want to drastically change the way your home feels, take back your time, and feel more put together you might already know that you need to clear out some clutter. The problem comes when you look at the project as a whole and feel that overwhelming weight bearing down on you of how much stuff you have to slog through.
Sometimes we have to practice a task in such a way that we can learn how to process our emotions and develop some sustainable habits. Clearing out clutter can be such a task. I find that by practicing this on items that are easy to let go of makes it easier to tackle the mountain of clothing waiting for you in your closet or the piles of stuff you have growing in your garage.
There are 6 easy places to begin clearing out clutter to practice the feeling of letting go. If you are having a hard time finding a starting place you can pick any of these to get a taste of how good it feels to clean up and clear out your home. If you enjoy the process you can work through all six categories.
Food has an expiration date. It can be so motivating to go through it all and toss the items that are past their prime. Better yet, put it all in a pile and look at it as a whole before bagging it up to get a feel for how much waste you have. If you have a lot of items you have never used or didn’t finish, take note and keep that in mind when making future purchases. Pat yourself on the back for preventing food borne illness and promoting flavorful meals (expired food items often have lost a lot of flavor).
#2 MEDICINES AND FIRST AID
Go through you medicine cabinet and look at the expiration dates. Toss anything that is past its date as the ingredients will not be as effective. Toss anything that you can’t read the label on or you don’t know what it is. This happens a lot when items fall out of their boxes, little pill pouches are major culprits. Feel free to get rid of items that haven’t worked for you or don’t work well.
These items seem to multiply on their own and are so sneaky that you don’t notice until you can’t find what you need any more due to the disorganization. For this category, take everything out and pile it up. Look through your pile and sort out what you don’t use, what is leaking or messy, or has an expiration date that is past due. Often there are items you have been given as a gift or purchased to try out that didn’t work well. Get rid of anything you don’t use consistently or like anymore.
Socks are so troublesome. Why does one of a pair always disappear? I is so frustrating. Go through the house and gather up the loose socks, including your stash that you have built up if you have one. Sort the socks according to the person they belong too and put them with their dirty laundry. As the laundry gets washed the socks may find their match. If they don’t find their match after a few washes then toss them. Later if you find their match toss it as well. You have already adapted to living without that pair of socks so if by the rare possibility the mate gets found you don’t have to feel guilty of having thrown both of them away.
# 5 JUNK DRAWERS
What’s in a junk drawer? Why do junk drawers exist? If you are like me, your junk drawer is where you have stuck things you think you need but can’t find a real home for. Once it goes into that drawer it gets forgotten or can never be found even if you remember it’s in there. Take everything out of the drawer. Throw any garbage away. If you don’t have a home for any important numbers or paper work, get the important info off the papers and store it on your computer or phone. You can always look up manuals and product instructions online. Get rid of anything you have not used or thought about in the past year. Use little boxes or dollar store compartments to organize the remaining items so they don’t get all jumbled together.
#6 FOOD STORAGE CONTAINERS
How many of these do you really need? Have you saved all the yogurt and sour cream cups also? How many of your containers actually have their lids? You likely only need on average a total of 10 storage containers of various sizes. If you find you are running out and don’t have enough you probably need to go through your food again and toss out anything in your fridge that has gone bad. Match what you keep to the lid and get rid of all items that are without their lid or base. Recycle all those saved yogurt cups. Stack what you keep in your kitchen with smaller items inside larger ones and the lids next to the stack. Enjoy your life now that you don’t have to search for a lid.
IF YOU CAN GO THROUGH THOSE CATEGORIES YOU CAN TACKLE ANYTHING
If you go through all six categories you will develop a few skills to help you go through harder areas of your home. You might have even felt a thrill as you regained space in your cupboards and drawers and released the burden of all those lost socks calling out for their mate. Keep that good feeling and momentum and use it to go after that mountain of clothes.