Author’s Note: One of my goals for this blog is for the information to be intentional. Meaning, you or your life may be changed by something you read in this space. However, we don’t always have the time to read everything – so I have decided to begin each blog with a “30 Second Summary” of what the blog is about. You can choose whether to read the summary or the whole blog. Please comment below and let me know if you like this change!
If you want your home to be easier to live in or if you are trying to sell your home, clearing out the clutter is a must. Clutter can bear you down, make you depressed and literally cause you stress. Walk through your home and write down all the items or the group of items you need to get rid of. Sharing these items will bless others and you will end up with a cleaner, more peaceful home. Then, begin to learn to be content with what you have.
I recently saw an article in the newspaper that “For Sale” signs are beginning to pop back up. That’s a good sign for our economy but especially if you are one of those homeowners needing to sell your home.
However, whether we are selling our home or not, we need to realize many of us have too much! Our “stuff” does seem to grow and we need to get rid of the clutter. We want our home to show, not our stuff. Whether you are trying to sell your home or just trying to get rid of clutter, here are some tips on reducing clutter.
1. Go into each room and closet in your house writing down what needs to be either thrown away or given away. Those items needing repair? You probably won’t ever get around to fixing them so give them away.
2. Items that need to go but have sentimental meaning to you are best boxed up, labeled and stacked in your basement or garage. After one or two years of not needing them, give them away (This is when having a unbiased friend, # 7 below, helps – they aren’t attached to these items and can help you decide).
3. To help motivate you, plan a garage sale, go to an online auction site, use your local newspaper classified ads, or even the local antique shop. You will be thrilled with the extra money you will make!
4. Open all the cabinets in your kitchen and really study what is overflowing their space. It’s usually the plastic containers, mugs and glasses. Streamline every cabinet and drawer and get rid of the extra items.
5. If you can’t decide how to streamline your kitchen, toss all your utensils in a box and as you use an item, put in back into a clean drawer. This is also a great way to get rid of seldom used items. If you haven’t used a cooking item in 2 or 3 years, give it away or sell it.
6. Get in the habit of cleaning out your pantry on a regular basis. Throw away almost empty cereal boxes, placing the cereal in Ziploc baggies to be used right away. Keep an eye on out dated items. I have gotten into the good habit of only buying what I will use and having fewer choices. Your medicine cabinet should also be checked for outdated prescriptions.
7. Ask a friend to help. We can get so connected with our “stuff” that we become paralyzed, not knowing where to start first. That’s why writing down what needs to be done is such a help as well as getting someone to help you decide what should stay and what should go.
8. If you really have too much stuff, perhaps leasing a storage unit for a short time would be a help. Knowing your items aren’t being thrown or given away can help those of you who are hoarders to clean out rooms since you are sending them to their own special place!
9. For those of you with little storage space, see if your budget can allow a storage unit for Christmas decorations, large items, out of season clothes. For some people, the extra fee for these units is just the motivator they need to clear out their clutter and to keep their home free from too much stuff. It’s also a great idea to move a good portion of your stuff to a unit while you are trying to sell your home.
10. File cabinets, mail, magazines, books. We are literally inundated with paper. When you have the time, and you may need help, go through all your stacks of papers and file cabinet and reduce it. If you have stacks of magazines donate them to a hospital, retirement home or school. If you just have to read the magazine before getting rid of it, skim it quickly while standing up, tearing out the articles and recipes you want to keep. This is how you should handle you mail. Bring it in daily and stand while you go through each piece, placing each mail item in a predesigned place. And remember to embrace recycling! This is how we turn clutter into a positive. For those of you who have books you want to donate, www.booksforsoldiers.com is a great site.
11. Closets. Potential home owners want big closets! So, go through each one and get rid of clothes you no longer wear. Keep all your closets throughout the year as streamlined as you can. You will end up saving money from repeat purchases.
12. Toys. The best way to handle our items / clutter is to either place them on shelves, in bins or on hooks. Look at your items and see what would be the best way to organize these items. And remember to donate your extra toys to your local charitable organizations. Let your children pick the toys, clothes etc., that they want to give. Give them deadlines so that if they haven’t filled up a box, you do it for them.
I believe that God blesses us and I also believe He calls us to be content in the different stages of our life. Perhaps one reason we end up with so much “stuff” is because we feel that we need to keep buying more and more. Truly, all we need is Jesus.
“For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
A home is one that is typically filled with memories and items that reflect a full life. However, as the years and the memories pile up, clutter can take over a home. When that happens, residents can feel uncomfortable and boxed in. I know that each time I walk into my attic I feel some stress – there is just too much there.
Removing the clutter from our homes can be therapeutic. As we accumulate more and more “stuff”, we then have more we are responsible for. There is more stuff to take care of, to clean and repair.
Clutter has even been linked to mental health issues, most notably depression, as some mental health professionals theorize that clutter indicates a preoccupation with the past and possibly a dim view of both the present and the future.
Of course, there are those who don’t have an issue with clutter and so might find it difficult to understand just how difficult it can be to address. This is when we need to not pass judgment but have compassion for others who are struggling with the problem of what to do with their crowded homes.
I pray that you will begin to find the time to purge your home of unneeded items and suppress your desire to buy more.