Have you ever noticed that on high-humidity days (like when the real feel suggests you can fry your breakfast egg on the sidewalk) messes feel messier? I don’t know about you but if I am already sweating and I step in crumbs or feel something sticky on a counter top, I experience something similar to road rage. Kitchen rage. Is that a thing? Clutter also feels more-cluttered on hot days; actually, out-of-hand clutter pretty much feels icky in any climate. The good news is that this post will tell you how to de-clutter your drawers, home and life.
My slightly manic reason for learning how to de-clutter
Confession time. My kids will tell you that I have a slight obsession with needing my dresser drawers to be neat and organized. I know a lot of people (some, with whom I live) who could not care any less about the current state of their dresser drawers. If I open one and notice something out of place, I will likely think about it until I fix it. The reason I first needed to know how to de-clutter is this: I heard someone crack a joke once about cleaning out drawers because when you die, people go through your stuff. If your drawers are a mess, they’ll make comments of surprise about what a slob you were.
That did me in. I instantly became a neat drawer person. Aside from the fact that it makes my children think I’m wackadoodle at times, I learned that neat drawers give me a sense of orderliness and structure that I enjoy. It can be comforting, especially if the rest of my life feels like it’s falling apart on any given day.
How to de-clutter, one step at a time
If you need a little pick-me-up and are looking for something to keep you busy (perhaps to distract your thoughts from a stressful situation) try cleaning out a drawer or closet. Choose one room a week and resolve to organize and de-clutter any drawer or closet in the room. I suppose de-clutter is a somewhat subjective term. De-cluttered for one person might mean removing two-years’ worth of candy wrappers from a drawer. To another, it might include labeling every separate item in a color-coded manner.
That would drive me nuts, personally; however, you’re free to define de-clutter to your own preference. Once you have drawers and closets spruced up to your heart’s content, you can think about how to de-clutter the rest of your house, one room at a time.
Teach kids how to de-clutter as they go
If you have kids, they’re likely responsible for 98.999% of the clutter in your life. I love my kids. You love your kids. The fact remains that kids have ways of cluttering the spaces they take up. If you have toddler age children, you can get a jump start by consistently insisting that they clean up the toys they’re playing with before going on to another activity.
You can also teach your children that if they’re walking through a room and see an out-of-place item, to pick it up and take it to where it belongs. If that seems a bit extra to you, an alternative is to have a large basket or bin in a central location where people can drop off the items they find out of place in the house. Once a day, once a week or whenever, you can take turns putting the items in the basket away. It could even be incorporated into a weekly chore chart.
How to de-clutter things in life that aren’t objects
Perhaps your drawers and closets are already clean enough for your personal standards. Maybe it’s something else in your life that is cluttered. Time, perhaps? This post might help. Do you have a toxic person in your life? De-cluttering might include severing those ties. Keeping friends around that don’t bring light, encouragement, support and joy to your life can really drag you down.
How to de-clutter might include unfriending people on Facebook or Instagram. To determine whether this is a needed task in your life, take an inventory of your current relationships and determine which are healthy and thriving and which, you might be better off without.
No need to be a clean freak to know how to de-clutter
You might be a “I-know-it’s-a-mess-but-it’s-an-organized-mess” type of person. That’s fine. The idea behind de-cluttering is that it provides a sense of control over your living environment. If your home is tidy and organized, it can have a positive affect on your mental and emotional health.
On a more serious note, a sign of depression is a chronic habit of not caring that an enormous mess has built up around the house. I knew someone who was so depressed at one point in her life that she literally stepped over a half eaten sandwich that had been accidentally dropped on the floor in her living room. She saw it. She just didn’t care enough to pick it up. If you feel that way, there may be much greater problems than a few odd socks or a cluttered bathroom medicine cabinet in your life. Don’t be afraid to seek support.