Recognising Clutter: The First Step to Successful Home Organisation

We live in a world where our everyday lives revolve around consumerism. We cannot deny that many businesses are enticing us to buy their products or services. Everything we buy (be it appliances, books, magazines, clothes, hobby equipment and other material possessions) will eventually be useless or no longer wanted. When you get tired of old possessions, your house and garage will be full of clutter. Don’t let this happen to you! If you don’t know how to declutter and you want to organise your home, this is the article for you.

If you’re one of the many people who have accumulated too many things and don’t know what to do with them, don’t worry. There are many ways to go about decluttering your space without that much hassle. Getting started and knowing what to throw out and are the main challenges.

Recognising Clutter

When you made the decision to declutter and organise your home, you have to first recognise clutter. You also have to stop making excuses and start making changes. To help you get started, ask yourself the following questions. These questions will serve as your first step on the path to an organised home.

1. Is this item something you use every day or regularly?

Most often we keep things because we think they are useful. It is important to consider how often you use a specific item. This will help you decide whether it’s worth keeping. If you have not used a particular item for about 6 months, it’s probably clutter.

2. Is it something you love or that holds value?

Don’t force yourself to get rid of items you really love or that hold some value to you. You may think that most of your possessions are too important to throw away or donate, but you have to prioritise your possessions to figure out what will stay and what will be disposed of. For example, if you’re holding on to a blender you’ve been thinking about using for the last 6 months, it’s probably time to let it go. On the other hand, you’d be crazy to throw out a painting you received from your grandfather when you got married.

3. What are the things you don’t like?

It’s quite bizarre to think some people keep things that they don’t even like. For example, wedding gifts that you don’t find appealing or have no use for are kept in the cupboard or the garage for years, collecting dust and taking up space. Although you might feel some guilt when you get rid of presents from your friends or relatives, there’s really no point to keep them around your house. If some gifts remain unopened, you can re-gift it to other friends or relatives, donate it or sell it.

4. Are you keeping things because you feel obligated to?

There is a 50–50 chance that you’re holding on to something because you feel obligated to keep it. This often happens with gifts. While it’s important not to hurt anyone’s feelings, if it takes up space and you have no true use for it, get rid of it (at a garage sale or give it to a friend). It’s that simple! Chances are someone else will find a use for that specific item.

5. Is it broken?

Broken things add to the clutter and yet some people still hold on to broken possessions. If it’s broken, can’t be fixed and holds no value to you, dispose of it.

6. Is it obsolete?

If you’re watching too much “Pawn Shop” and “Pickers” then there is a chance you’re hoarding something obsolete which you think will have good value in the future. There’s also a big chance that you’re just keeping trash which will never gain any value. Unless you’ve had the item valued and think it’s worth keeping, it will just collect dust and take up valuable space in your home.

7. Are there things you never use?

Do you use everything in your home? Maybe you have some old books or magazines that you have never read and have no plans of reading, kitchen materials or gadgets that you have only used once or twice and are very difficult to clean, ornaments that have no function and just collect dust or any electrical equipment or tools that have been superseded by newer and much more powerful models. Donate, sell or give these items away to get rid of the clutter once and for all.

8. Do you have multiples of the same item?

If you have 3 blenders or several frying pans, you’re being redundant. If you’re keeping some items as spares in case something gets broken, you’re just wasting space. If you have anything that does the same job as something else you already own, declutter and make sure you are left with only one or two if it’s important. This is how hoarding manifests.

9. Are you keeping anything that brings up bad memories?

Love letters from your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, an old wedding dress from a failed marriage or anything that you stash away in a box and can’t bring yourself to look at. There are occasions in everyone’s life that they try to forget. If you are keeping things that remind you of these experiences, you’re just going to end up upsetting yourself. Get them out of the house and dispose of them. Don’t let your clutter hold you down.

10. Could you use the space for something more important?

It all boils down to this. Do you need the space? Think of the possibilities for your cupboard, shoe rack, cabinet, clothes drawer, garage or attic? Your living space should be valued and used efficiently. It’s not a space to stash all of your unused, years-old belongings.

Your answers to these questions should help you figure out if it’s time to get rid of those things lying around your home. Now you don’t have to waste any time recognising what’s clutter and what’s not. Start now and once your home is organised, congratulate yourself with a well-deserved glass of scotch or a cocktail.

Happy organising!

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Originally published at xenlife.com.au on May 14, 2015.

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