With published research stating that clutter causes anxiety, confusion, and depression, it’s no wonder that participants in a recent survey conducted by the green cleaning leader, Maid Brigade, say that an organized and clutter-free home is the #2 factor influencing their overall well-being.
For me, just knowing the clutter is there bothers me. And seeing it up close and personal? Let’s just say I have fantasies about grabbing my family, running out the door and leaving it all behind for a brand-new empty house where we can just start over. Clutter is hard to deal with, especially once it piles up (under beds, in closets, in spare rooms … the list goes on).
In fact 80 percent of people said they declutter weekly. (I wish I could say I’m one of those people. I’d LIKE to be one of those people.) Participants also rated the home office and children’s bedrooms as the top two areas for accumulated clutter. The playroom, kitchen and family room are also at the top of the clutter list.
Read more about the Maid Brigade survey results.
Here are five clutter buster tips from Marie Stegner, Consumer Health Advocate for Maid Brigade to help you keep chaos away.
1. Spend 15 minutes per day picking up clutter before it becomes overwhelming.
2. Add furniture that does double duty such as a coffee table that also serves as a storage chest to contain items in the room where they’re used.
3. Create a “magic triangle” in your kitchen between the stove, refrigerator, and sink and keep frequently used kitchen items there.
4. Avoid randomly buying storage containers to hold things you don’t use or need. It just adds to the clutter. And, those containers take up space.
5. Practice the “in-out” rule. For every new item, discard an old one.
You can also get kids involved in decluttering by providing rewards and making it fun. It’s even easier if you label four boxes or bags that everyone in the household can use to declutter: Keep, Donate, Trash, Hold. (If you haven’t touched the things in the hold box in one year, their time has come.)
My ultimate declutter fantasy
I’ll leave you with my top decluttering fantasy—and yes, I’m aware how OCD that sounds—that I hope to make happen sometime this summer. Please tell me if you agree this is an AWESOME idea (and if you think I’m crazy, you can go ahead and keep that to yourself).
My fantasy goes something like this: I take a week off work, or a long weekend, if a week isn’t feasible. Send the kids to Grandma’s. Tackle each major clutter zone of my house, top to bottom. Fill as many white garbage bags as I can with trash, black bags with donations for Good Will, and take them out to the curb and donation dropoff place. Hubs can handle the dropoff/trash duties.
With the items that remain, organize, contain and label it up appropriately. Create systems I know we can all use and stick to, such as toys arranged by like toys and ability to rotate them between “active play” and “store for later.” Winter stuff gets put away until winter, but is easy to retrieve when the chill creeps in during fall.
Finally, get the house deep cleaned (combination cleaning service and steam-vacuum our disgusting carpeted areas). During this time, I get a full-body massage, mani/pedi and possibly treat myself to a glass of red wine and a good book. Hubs can also get a break from his crazy, clutter-clearing wife.
When all is done—really, really done—Hubs picks up the kids, and they come home to a decluttered, organized, clean house and a happy, relaxed mom and wife who looks something like this. May all our decluttering fantasies come true, my friends …
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