Last week, I promised that I’d tell you how to declutter your home. It really is the job that never ends, isn’t it?
In just one day, we bring more and more “stuff” into our homes. After several days, the “stuff” starts to accumulate and pile and heap and mound. Even if we’re not messy people (ahem…), it can all get to be just TOO MUCH!
There are lots of really good books out there on how to clean and declutter your house (websites, too!), and I can’t even begin in one blog post to cover all the ideas that exist — but I don’t have to! Last week, I gave you several principles that apply to all of the clutter in your house:
- Take stock before you take out.
- A place for everything and everything in its place.
- Three steps to declutter.
I showed you the practical how-to side of decluttering, but if you want your home to look clean, you really need to get to the heart of why it’s messy in the first place.
Pam Young and Peggy Jones (authors of Sidetracked Home Executives and Get Your Act Together) wrote the following:
“Now we know that in every disorganized home, there beats the heart of a little pack rat” (Get Your Act Together, by Pam Young and Peggy Jones, p. 85).
You see, they go on to explain that at the heart of clutter is a someone who values things too highly. Getting rid of clutter means getting rid of the “stuff.” If stuff is too valuable to you, then you have no reason to get rid of it. Right? The clutter is THERE because you WANT it. 🙂
As Pam and Peggy say, “You have to let go of what you DON’T need and WON’T need but THINK you’ll need.”
For a minute, pretend that you are going on vacation and you get to stay in a very ritzy, four-star hotel. Picture being led to your very expensive and fabulous suite. Think of how wonderful it would feel to walk into your suite, where everything is streamlined and beautiful. The beds are made, the towels are fluffy and white, the decor is tasteful and classy, and there is an air of freshness and freedom. NOTHING is messing up that picture, because you haven’t been in there yet. Think how inviting that vision is!
Now imagine having the bellman unlock the door, and the same suite is heaped with everything that is cluttering your home right now! The beds aren’t made, there’s a load of towels to be folded on the couch, the drapes are hanging crooked, and the TV is blaring. Has your picture lost its glamour?
If you walked into a hotel room that was full of your junk, you probably wouldn’t want to stay there on your vacation. It certainly wouldn’t be relaxing, and you probably wouldn’t be willing to pay to stay there, either. Think how your belongings have devalued your life! (Get Your Act Together, by Pam Young and Peggy Jones, p. 87).
Most of the time, when we “clean” our homes, we simply move piles of clutter from one room to another. Out of sight, out of mind! But it’s not gone, and we’ll have to take even more time to deal with it AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN until it either lands in a permanent home (called “storage”) or we get rid of it.
These authors recommend taking a bit of clutter out of your home, little by little. They reason that if you have to be learn to be consistent, to set aside daily time — more if you have a HUGE mess and less if you only have a small mess — then you’ll also learn the discipline needed to later keep it that way.
One hour a day (or as author Emilie Barnes says, only 15 minutes a day).
Another excellent author says,
Daily cleaning is putting things in their place — day in and day out. Dirty dishes from the table (or TV room) into the dishwasher. Coats on their hangers. Dirty clothes into the hamper. The trash set out. The toys put away…
The best solution for reducing clutter is to handle each item once so it never gets a chance to become clutter. Put it away. Takes about two seconds. Try it. If that doesn’t work you have too much stuff. Add a room, buy more furniture, or have a garage sale (Speed Cleaning, by Jeff Campbell and the Clean Team, pp. 113-114).
So look at clutter for what it is. It’s all between your ears! Value the things that really have value, and don’t let the “stuff” control your life.