“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein
The idea of living a simplified, uncluttered life with less stuff sounds attractive to many. For those who are still not convinced, consider the benefits of owning fewer possessions: less to clean, less debt, less to organize, less stress, more money and energy for their greatest passions. Once you prepare to get started, the first question that would ring in your heads would be- where in the world do I begin? Don’t be overwhelmed. The de-cluttering journey doesn’t need to be as painful as some make it out to be. Baby steps are important. Sure, five minutes won’t make a dent in your mountain, but it’s a start! Here are 10 simple, interesting yet effective ways to take that start and de-clutter your room!
10. Designate a spot for incoming papers
Papers often account for a lot of our clutter. This is because we put them in different spots — on the counter, on the table, on our desk, in a drawer, on top of our dresser, in our car. No wonder we can’t find anything! Designate an in-box tray or spot in your room and don’t put down papers anywhere but that spot. From mails to academic papers to receipts, warranties, manuals, notices, flyers, put them all down in one box! Create some simple folders with labels for your major bills and similar paperwork. The limited surface space holds only essentials, preventing clutter and prompting you to recycle as you work. This one little change can really transform your paperwork. Further ease the pain of paperwork by making it mobile. Your system doesn’t have to be complete, but keep some extra folders and labels in case you need to quickly create a new file.
9. Toys Tamed and Tagged
Playthings have a will of their own; they can’t stay pristine and still be fun. Camouflage some of the chaos by stocking shelves with opaque containers labelled with graphic photos of what’s inside. Use a uniform-on-the-outside, eclectic-on-the-inside system to bring crisp order to odds and ends. This approach gives a unified front to holiday decorations, art projects, rarely used small appliances—anything you want to hold on to but would rather not see. Don’t stress about perfection when stencilling; the hand-done quality is part of the charm. A lighter take: standard white cardboard banker’s boxes with stick-on numbers.
8. A Tidy Tub of summer
Whatever the season, head-out-the-door essentials tend to congregate right where clutter is already at its peak—in the entry. Divvy up a galvanized tub into discrete compartments (using “walls” of foam core) for all the un-findables. In summer: sunscreen, goggles, and bug spray; in winter: mittens, gloves, and hats. Zippered nylon pouches offer grab-and-go convenience for different activities.
7. Roll things to maximize space
Rolling shelves maximize access, making it a pleasure to put away and retrieve folded stacks. It’s a cure for overly deep storage spaces that make it tough to grab anything but those sheets and towels right in front. A stand-alone piece is a smart, inexpensive solution for a home without a dedicated linen closet. Or you can custom fit an existing closet. One can actually get about a third more T-shirts in a drawer with a fold-and-roll technique. But the best part is that this method keeps logos, patterns, or labels displayed, making it a cinch for anyone to hunt down that top she so desperately needs on a given day. Use dividers to create precise rows.
5. Pick a shelf and maintain an All-of-a-Kind Drawer
It could be a shelf in a closet, a drawer or a bookshelf. Don’t tackle the whole bookshelf — just one shelf. Clear all non-essential things and leave it looking neat and clutter-free. Similarly, pull everything out of a drawer. Just take the drawer out and empty it on a table. Then sort the drawer into three piles: 1) stuff that really should go in the drawer; 2) stuff that belongs elsewhere; 3) stuff to get rid of. Clean the drawer out nice, then put the stuff in the first pile back neatly and orderly. Deal with the other piles immediately! Candles are just one example of the type of where-are-they-when-you-need-them items that you end up rebuying all too often. Keeps track by corralling like items with a grid of interlocking inserts tailored to the contents—whether that’s candles, batteries, or cosmetics. Another area that never gets done-clearing out the medicine drawer! If you don’t have one spot for medicines, create one now. Go through everything for the out-dated medicines, the stuff you’ll never use again, the dirty-looking bandages, the creams that you’ve found you’re allergic to, ointments that never had an effect on your energy or your eye wrinkles. Simplify to the essential.
4. A Nightstand Divided
Can’t stand the stress of a messy bedside table? Finds solace in compartmentalization. With the right setup, there’s a place for your remote, glasses, notepad (to capture 3 A.M. revelations) and the phone, leaving the top free for lamp, book, and peace of mind. Most women struggle with the overloaded make up bag; purely because they/we don’t want to chuck away make up we’ve spent our hard-earned cash on. But there are good rules to stick by which will help you de-clutter your make up and ensure you through out some of the older items. Not only will it give you more space while you’re getting ready, it will also be much more hygienic!
3. Streamline Bedding
Sometimes the bed itself—including all the attendant bedding and pillows—can create visual clutter. Consider streamlining your bedding. Instead of feathering the nest with brightly coloured, matched bedding sets, why not go for basic whites or plain pieces in a limited colour palette? Plain pieces are interchangeable; you can simply make up any loss with a generic replacement. You also can pick up spare linens at thrift shops and consignment stores.
2. The Hidden Monster-your Closet
Someone rightly said, “We don’t need to increase our goods nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants. Not wanting something is as good as possessing it.” Pull out some clothes you don’t wear. As you’re getting ready for work, and going through your closet for something to wear, spend a few minutes pulling out ones you haven’t worn in a few months. If they’re seasonal clothes, store them in a box. Get rid of the rest. Do this a little at a time until your closet (and then your drawers) only contains stuff you actually wear. Anytime you de-clutter a bedroom, you invariably run into a surfeit of clothing, shoes and accessories. This accumulation is the root cause of a number of ills. Sometimes one has to cram in another piece of furniture instead of going through their wardrobes and getting rid of what no longer fits. Stick to the mantra-Less is more!
1. Visualise the room
Spend a few minutes visualizing the room. As you start de-cluttering, take a moment to take a look at a room, and think about how you want it to look. What are the most essential pieces of furniture? What doesn’t belong in the room but has just gravitated there? What is on the floor (hint: only furniture and rugs belong there) and what is on the other flat surfaces? Once you have visualized how the room will look uncluttered, and figured out what is essential, get rid of the rest. Having too many dressers, tables and chairs jammed into a space—no matter how large—makes it feel smaller. And stuff attracts more stuff. As we add more pieces, we tend to fill them, inside and out.
No matter how one chooses to get started– whether following one of these ten or countless other ways, the driving force needs to be the excitement. There is an attractive world with more breathing space hidden behind the clutter, go explore it!