Clutter and the Anti-Clutter
My children believed that the floor is the largest shelf in the house. In my Dad’s house, every inch of counter space is covered. Maybe the need to clutter is genetic and skips a generation, the way I understand it works with twins. I recently purged the cabinets, drawers, closets and the pantry in my house of dozens of books that filled shelves, giving them to a church book sale. Papers and files jammed into a kitchen cabinet, owner’s manuals for equipment long ago discarded, records of past insurance policies long ago expired, statements from closed bank accounts, shoes on two large racks in the garage, the racks themselves and the like were loaded into multiple garbage bags. After loading it all into the truck, the sanitation workers shot a menacing look at the house. If it had to be submitted to radio-carbon 14 for age testing or was no longer used and would never be used again, it got tossed. I am not yet finished. I still have my daughter’s prom dresses and other clothes, which I hope to donate, two huge televisions that belong in the Smithsonian (too big for me to get down the stairs without blowing an O ring) and more.
The result was liberating. I made discoveries of things I forgot we had, my daughters elementary school art and homemade cards given for birthdays, my son’s school detention citations (0h, the memories), hundreds of photographs that will take me months to organize into albums, and VHS home movies that I will transfer to DVD.
There is a point to this. Clutter is the enemy of space and organization is the anti-clutter. “For every thing a place,” my Mom would say. My children and Dad tend to practice “for every place a thing.” In the great purge, I had learned that I too had the clutter gene and that clutter and disorganization are the result of excess stuff. Getting rid of the clutter is the first advice given to others affected by the clutter gene. Here is help.
If it is not furniture or a rug, why is it on the floor? If it is not being used, why is it on the counter? Designate a place for things to go, always return those things to that place, and arrange things according to the frequency with which they are used so that they are easily accessed without disturbing your organization to find them. And remember the mantra, “if you don’t use it, lose it.”
Before leaving a room, take 30-60 seconds to pick up items that are out of place. This little bit of time will make a huge difference.
Arrange objects creatively. Maximize space even if it means placing hanging hooks in cabinets to hang pot holders or utensils.
Labels can be your best friend. Be innovative and use them outside of the office. They are perfect for locating items in the pantry, closet, laundry room and more.
Put a weekly pantry and refrigerator cleanout on your to-do list. This gives you time to throw out the old items and empty containers to make clutter-free room for new groceries.
Be socially responsible and recycle. Keep a few bins around to recycle your cans, plastic and paper. It is a visible lesson for your children.
I still have more to do. The upstairs will have to wait until my son moves out, hopefully taking his stuff with him. I am hoping my daughter will come home soon to empty her closet and room. But, I have made a good start.
Walt Smith, Broker
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
803 622 5210