Clutter is unattractive and hinders productivity, however many individuals may not realize it can also contribute to some serious health issues. Upper respiratory problems, decreased energy, depression, and weight gain have all been linked to cluttered or disorganized home environments. While more prevalent in severe cases, even slight levels of clutter can interfere with a healthy lifestyle. Still, when organization is simply not your forte, how can you minimize these effects?
Sometimes, clutter begins with good intentions. Maybe you were going to read that stack of magazines and newspapers, but just never found the time. Perhaps you wanted to keep those souvenirs and mementos from family vacations and special events, but you have not been able to find a way to display them. Whatever the reason, the clutter has gotten so out of control that you have no idea where or how to begin organizing your space, so now it just continues to pile up.
The first item on the agenda is to eliminate any overabundance of paper. Magazines that are older than two months past their publishing date and newspapers that are more than a couple of days old can be put in the recycling bin or donated to a local library, hospital or physician’s office. Other items will likely require some family cooperation.
To prevent becoming overwhelmed by the task of organizing and removing unnecessary items around the home, the best approach is often to divide and conquer. By delegating various tasks to each member of the household, the amount of work to be done will seem much more workable. However, once each room or area of the house has been assigned, the task at hand still may seem insurmountable. But by making a list of individual tasks within your room or area and finishing them one by one, your goal of organization can be achieved much quicker and easier than you may have imagined.
Start small; begin with one drawer or shelf. Though it can be tempting to stop working on one task when another catches your eye, resist the urge. Jumping from task to task makes it more difficult to see how much has been completed and what still needs to be done. Moreover, numerous unfinished tasks give the illusion that the job, as a whole, is more complex than it actually is. Thus making it seem hopeless that completion is a realistic objective.
Another issue that may arise when organizing your home is what to do with everything. For items that are used routinely, of course put them in their rightful places. All other items have a few options: donation, garage sale, garbage or recycling bin, or keepsake boxes. Items that are no longer useful are not necessarily trash. Ask yourself: is this item an important memento of a special occasion or event? If so, use a bin, trunk, box, or other storage container to house it, then put the container in a closet or under the bed so it will no longer be part of the clutter. All other items can either be donated or put into a garage sale.
Still, some things are no longer useful or meaningful and will not be of interest to others. Such items need to be discarded. Old, broken or outdated electronics can be recycled by electronics retailers and some will even offer gift cards or discounts toward new products. Additionally, older computers, televisions and other devices may be needed by local charities, schools or other organizations.
When clutter becomes excessive, even items that are important or useful may become concealed or buried. Still, any level of clutter or disorganization can be defeated with a little determination and planning. It all starts with one shelf or drawer.