The title might sound dramatic, but there is a lot of truth to those words. Being surrounded by clutter can stress you out, and when it piles up and piles up, you run a fire hazard risk as well as the risk of something falling on you or tripping you, causing you to be hurt.
Too much clutter can also lead to dust, which can aggravate breathing and allergy conditions and pests that like to hide in piles. Getting a grip on the clutter can seem overwhelming, but breaking the task down into practical steps can help you clear your home, making it safer and cleaner at the same time.
Use this handy guide straight from the experts to get it done, and you’ll feel better in your home.
Tackle One Room At A Time
…or one surface at a time, if that’s easier. Instead of looking at the big picture, take it one area at a time. Maybe your kitchen is far less cluttered, so that’s a good place to start. Once you feel how great it is to get that room done, you’ll have the motivation to keep moving on to the other rooms in your house.
If each room is really cluttered, tackle one surface, such as the table or the countertops, at a time.
You Need Three Piles
As you go through things, you need to allocate them into one of three piles. The first will be things you plan to keep, the second can be items you want to donate and the third is for garbage or things that are broken, you no longer need or don’t work anymore.
As you work through each area, look at every single thing and decide which pile it should go into. Once you have all the things in the proper pile, you can put away the things you are keeping, bag up donations for delivery and carry the trash out to the curb.
You may have to take care of the piles several times as you go, but this simple method is highly effective for clearing the clutter and getting things cleaned up.
Create A Home For Everything
Anything you own or bring home should have a place where it belongs. When you’re done using the item, it should always be placed where it goes. The table, counters, chairs and other furniture in your house aren’t a place to pile things up.
By putting everything back where it belongs every time you finish using it, you can keep the clutter at bay and prevent having to overhaul the entire house all at once.
Stop Accepting Things You Don’t Need
Stores and business owners often give away items as a way to advertise. This might be a t-shirt, a magnet, a mug or a pen. It’s always tempting to get something for nothing, but if you don’t need it and don’t really have a place for it, it’s best not to accept.
After all, if your cupboards are already full of cups and you have a million pens, bringing home another is just going to clutter things up and give you angst. Make it a rule to only bring home what you need and you should see the clutter stay under control.
At the same time, for each thing you do decide to bring home, experts suggest getting rid of something else. This one for one rule is a great way to keep your home from piling up with clutter all over again.
Don’t Start Decluttering By Shopping
Many people go out and load up on bins and containers when they decide to organize, but the answer to a clutter problem certainly isn’t shopping for more things. Your best bet is to go through it all and allocate places for things to live, while also getting rid of trash and donations.
Once that’s all done, you’ll know exactly what kinds of organizing containers you might need and you can buy only what you have a place for and that will serve your purposes. Who knows?
While you clear things out, you might just find the bins you need anyway. So hold off on shopping until you have a system figured out and are able to get rid of some of the junk that is cluttering things up.
Make Sure To Get Rid Of Duplicate Items
A large part of the clutter in many homes is owning more than one of everything. Go through your drawers and cabinets and toss or donate duplicates. This includes things like your ice cream scoop, the multitudes of white t-shirts in your dresser, extra combs and anything else you use, but can only use one of at a time.
By clearing out all the extras lying around, you can get a great head start on decluttering and paring down your belongings.
Try Adding Shelves To Large Spaces
This might be in your medicine cabinet, your closet or your kitchen cabinets. If you have quite a few things that are smaller, adding an extra shelf gives you more space to store those items where they won’t be cluttering up your entire home and where they have a home that they can be returned to when you’re not using them. This is a really affordable way to create more storage space.
Be Ready For Sentimentality
Many people can blame their clutter on the fact that it’s hard to let certain things go. Are you still holding on to your prom dress, your baby’s clothes or your high school letter jacket? Maybe it’s time to let those things go.
It can be hard because you have a personal attachment to those items, but the truth is that getting rid of them won’t take away your memories. Snap a photo of the item and stash it in a photo album so you can still see it when you want to, but then donate or throw the items away so that your house isn’t cluttered up with that stuff.
You Have To Keep Up With It
Once you have the clutter tamed and a system in place for putting everything where it belongs, you have to stick with it. That means taking a few minutes each day to remove things that are not where they belong back to their place.
By keeping up with it a little at a time, you prevent the issue from becoming a problem again, and you won’t have to devote so much time to getting it taken care of in the future.
If you find it very hard to part with things, even those that are essentially trash, you may have a mental health condition called hoarding. If you suspect that you suffer from this, you are going to need some assistance with clearing things out. There is no shame in this, and you can successfully create a safe and healthy living environment for yourself and anyone who shares your home.