101 Changes: Change 16: Declutter For Better Life

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I am starting a series of posts about small changes we can make it our life to make our daily living and health improve tenfold. If we try to make huge changes, it is often difficult sustaining it and we have sense of  failure but small changes made slowly becomes habits if done over and over again for 21 days.

These are changes I have made or working on it. Would you like to join with me in this journey?

Check out last 101 changes article here: 101 Changes: change 15: Get Beautiful With Nature’s Bounty –Avoid Chemical Laden Creams and Make Up

Having clutter around not only cost us our money but also our piece of mind and happiness with it. Your house might be filled with piles of books and magazines you mean to read it, the smaller size clothes in your closet when you get back to your college weight, every toys that kids got from family and friends, many bills are just a few of example of clutter that most of us go through in our lives. Kitchen, bathrooms and office are worst places in a house for clutter to pile up easily. Instead of you owning the stuff, your stuff ends up owning/controlling you. Here are few ways, clutter cost us more than we bargained for;

  1.  You misplace bills to pay or check to deposit in your huge piles of paper. By the time, you find anything, bill is past due and check is no longer cash-able (after 90 days). You have just lost money and added interest or fees on bills too.
  2. You buy item, only to realize months later, that you had that same item in your storage pile somewhere in the house. It was hard to find and hence forgotten. Sometimes, you may buy same items a few times over the years, not remembering, costing you more money.
  3. You panic when someone called for unannounced to visit, as it will be overwhelming to clean up clutter in such a short time. Either you are embarrassed when company comes or choose to do less social inviting on purpose, either way you are losing social life with friends and family because of your clutter.
  4.  You do not want to come home as cluttered and messy home does not make you feel better. So you tend to eat out more often and do more outside shopping to make yourself feel good, adding clutter to your already cluttered house.
  5. You may think it is wise to put all extra storage in storage place, leaving your house cleaner. However, you may pay $50 a month for your junk and your house slowly begins to be cluttered again.
  6.  You may lose your valuable time finding things in the house. You may search every morning your car keys under the stuff pile, or you may find that food in your fridge has gone bad, wasting food and money both. Your self-esteem may take hit.
  7.  You are not living your true potential life, due to all clutter. You are waiting for some miracle to make it all better, clutter robs you from happiness. A happiness you get when your sink is empty and kitchen is clean and your bills are paid on time. You will get so much joy once work is done and you can truly relax and enjoy your home.

Is clutter costing you in some ways? In future we will look at a few ways to get started on path to simplifying and de-cluttering.

11 Reasons We Hoard On Things

Why it is hard to let go of stuff and why it is easier to hoard things in our life. To simplify our life and be more free, we need to keep only items we need, and use often.

When we start decluttering, it is overwhelming to go through it all. There are many reasons we hold on to stuff such as;

1. It holds past, precious memory of your childhood, your first time living alone, or first love, first trip, or all firsts you did in your life. It is hard to let go of those memories.

2. We have spend too much money on it.

3. We may need it someday syndrome keeps us getting rid of stuff.

4. If we have kids, it is little hard to simplify. (Not impossible, just hard)

5. We do not know where to begin.

6. We think our current system works, why fix it? It is part of your comfort zone.

7. It takes too much effort and time to clean it all.

8. It will be clutter again, why bother?

9. It might be valuable in 10 years, we can sell it then at better price. We are not hoarder, we are collector.

10. We’ll just move in to a bigger place, or buy more storage system to place it all.

11. We as a species always hoarded things to survive since early days , so what we are doing is natural process. Blame early ancestor (early human) for our hoarding habits.

My biggest problem is kids ever changing stuff and “I may need it someday” syndrome and I have to work hard to overcome it. What are your reasons for holding on to your stuff? How do you overcome those reasons?

Zengirl

10 Ways To Declutter Your House

Not too long ago, I wrote about 7 ways your clutter costing you , check it out, if you have not read it yet. In this post, we will take a look at a few ways to start decluttering, as it is often overwhelming to start, at least for me.

1. Start small, such as one drawer of dresser, or one small area near entrance or corner. Set a timer for ten minutes and clean as much as you can in those 10 minutes. (I can not remember where I have heard this 10 minutes tidy concept, if someone knows, let me know so I can give proper credit where it is due)

2. Involve your family: spouse, kids etc in it. Make it exciting as a game.

3. I usually get 5 large boxes/trash bags and label them, Keep box, Donate/sell Box, Throw away box, recycle box, and I keep one “maybe” box as well. I put that “maybe” box in one area for 2 weeks and If I do not miss it, out it goes in donate pile.

4. Start in one area/room and finish that area before moving on to other things. Sometimes, looking at old books/letters/photos can be distracting as I usually go back in time looking at old memories, keep those in “to-look-at later” box, when you finish with your 10 minutes tidy time.

5. Room will look messier and worse before it will start to look better, so do not worry. It will all come together at the end. Once you finish 10 minutes tidy time, and you think you want to continue, do so until you are ready to take a break.

6. If you have not used an item for 2 years, it should go in donate/sell pile. If you have an emotional attachment to it, see if it possible for you to keep a picture of it, or small piece of it, instead of whole thing. When in doubt, do not get rid of it, put in “may-be” box for awhile. It works for me usually.

7. Once you sort out items in area, find an appropriate storage place for all “keep box” items. Create appropriate storage area for incoming mail, outgoing mail, postage stamps, envelopes, etc in office space. Trash expired medicines, vitamins and makeup items. Also, throw away non repairable toys and electronic items.

8. Always recycle and reuse items first if you can. While you are purging your house, do not buy new gadgets or items for house, it will just defeat the cleaning process.

9. If it gets overwhelming, stop or work while you listen to upbeat music. Once you start to see small progress, it will encourage most of us to finish it all the way.

10. Show and teach spouse, kids and other family members where item should go, they will do it themselves next time. Maintaining is much easier once the process is in place.

Start it slow, everyday little time devoted to decluttering will make whole process easier. Once you have a cleaner house with less stuff or just enough stuff, everyone will be happier and finding things right away. Happy cleaning.

What are your decluttering methods? What works for your house?

Zengirl