As homemakers, many of us struggle with the size of our home. If only we had more space, we could avoid some of the clutter and mess we are forever dealing with!
Things would be easier if we had more cupboards in the kitchen. A bigger bedroom for the children’s toys and clothes. Space in the entrance for the family’s boots and shoes. An office area for paperwork that accumulates in random areas of the home.
It’s difficult to manage and keep a house that simply doesn’t have enough space.
MANAGING WHAT WE DO HAVE
The majority of us are living in homes with less space than we’d like. Small homes can be challenging. It’s easy, so very easy to believe that a bigger home is the answer to our struggles.
Sometimes, it is.
And sometimes, it isn’t.
Don’t get me wrong: there are real difficulties that come with cramped living quarters! But often, the problem lies not in a lack of space, but in how we manage the space we do have.
WHAT IS CLUTTER?
Today we are going to defined clutter as “items in your home that don’t contribute to its functionality on a regular basis.”
Like the old set of pots that were replaced by those of better quality. Clothes you bought on discount but haven’t worn for a year because you don’t like how they fit. Toys and games your children have outgrown. The broken vacuum cleaner. Stacks of unopened mail.
This stuff is clutter. And the less space you have, the more stringent one should be on managing it.
WHY WE NEED TO CLEAR THE CLUTTER
I’m not going to recommend your becoming a minimalist! That’s not what this post is about! Rather, I want to help you understand why the clutter needs to go.
1). Studies prove that clutter heightens stress levels. Surely I’m not the only one who finds clutter downright draining! The busy atmosphere, along with the nagging knowledge that something is left ‘undone’ wears on most of us.
2). Your cleaning schedule will take longer to complete each day if you have to constantly work around unnecessary and unused items.
3). Clearing your home of extra items will enable you to offer a permanent home to necessary items. If you want to keep order, find a permanent place for every used item in your home.
4). By clearing your home of clutter you will set yourself up for long term success. You’ll be able to stick to your cleaning plan because it will be evident when you’ve accomplished something.
If you have items that service your home but aren’t currently in use (seasonal wear, camping equipment, maternity or baby clothes, etc), box it up and store it away. Get it out of your living space until it is needed.
As with everything else in this series, it’s all about baby steps!
Set your sights on one room for this month. Choose a particular time in your day when you will chip away at it. Put it in your cleaning schedule if necessary!
Some folks do best when tackling the job in small, 15 minute increments. Others prefer to put in several hours and complete the job in one shot. Either way, make a plan and follow through!
MAKES PILES AND CATEGORIZE
Leave the goods you plan to keep. Be sure to find them a permanent home.
And then? Start dealing with items that need to be removed from your home.
Frugal minded individuals will likely make three piles: one for garbage/recycling, another for storage, a third for the thrift store or resale.
Garbage (obviously) goes to the garbage. If items are in good condition, they can be dropped off at a thrift shop. Or, if you have the desire and will make the time, you can privately sell items of value.
Allow me to extend a note of caution? It takes time and effort to privately sell your goods. Keep too many and they’ll never leave your home. You’d be wise to set a limit for yourself: “if it isn’t gone in ___ days, I will haul it to the thrift store.”
LET’S DO IT TOGETHER
Homemakers, you’ve got this! Where is your starting point? In which room will you begin?
For the next part of our series, click the link: A Simple Meal Plan.