Design Dilemma: Controlling Clutter | Home Design Find

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Design Dilemma: Controlling Clutter

unclutter 300x188 how to tips adviceLook around your home. Has the detritus of daily life taken over? Are your closets overflowing, your cabinets bursting, your tabletops and desks littered with newspapers, magazines, books, papers?

Okay, we won’t judge you. Clutter can get the best of all of us. But you should realize that clutter is not only aesthetically displeasing, but takes a psychological toll as well. It’s something you just won’t understand until the day you can easily find anything you need in your home.

We’ll address specific clutter-busting strategies in other posts, but for now, let’s look at general strategies that can help you lighten up the load:

  1. A place for everything, and everything in its place. It’s an old adage but it’s so perfect, it bears repeating again. Every paper, book, business card, and piece of clothing needs an official home. When you finish using anything, put it back where it belongs.

  2. If you don’t use it, need it, love it, or feel inspired by it, get rid of it. It’s another oft-repeated saying that should become your guiding principle. Keep your home filled ONLY with useful and inspiring things.

  3. Embrace emptiness as a design principle. Empty space can lend a home a sense of clarity, drama and peace. Empty space is like a picture frame around a painting. Don’t think that every empty corner, closet or drawer must be filled just because it’s empty.

  4. Establish a decluttering routine. Set up a regular schedule for tasks that, if ignored, can result in clutter. Toss junk mail as soon as it arrives. Clean off your desk at the end of each business day. Schedule a day and time to pay bills, do the laundry, clean the floors, etc.

  5. Don’t feel you must keep every family heirloom. If it came from your grandmother, but you don’t love it, give it away. You can let go and still love and respect your grandmother.

  6. Set de-cluttering goals. You don’t have to do everything at once. One day, you can tackle all the old tax returns in the garage. The next, you can take a look at your closet. As you move through each zone, sort objects into what you want to keep because it’s useful or beautiful, what you want to give away because it can be useful to someone else, and what should be thrown away because it is no longer of use to anyone. If you haven’t used the item in more than a year, you should probably toss it.

  7. Try the one in, one out rule. Begin a policy of giving away or throwing away one thing whenever any new object comes into your home.

  8. Cut back on clutter BEFORE it enters your home. Do you really need that magazine subscription when you can read it online? When you purchase ANYTHING, including kitchen gadgets, clothing, furniture, or magazine subscriptions, know beforehand EXACTLY where it will go in your home.

  9. Invest in organizational systems that will help you control clutter. Special organizational systems, including shelves, racks, hooks, etc. can make all the difference . Opt for systems that remain out of sight, since this can make you more vigilant about removing clutter when it occurs and also makes it easier to clean.

  10. Declutter as a move toward sustainability. Here’s your chance to remove objects that are useless to you and give them to people who can use them. Set aside a permanent give-away box and toss things that you no longer use into the box to be sold or sent to a charity.

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