Hey have you heard the news?
Clutter is a total vibe killer.
There’s a damn good reason I’m always talking about why we need to control of our belongings:
An unconscious attitude towards our stuff means that our stuff is in control.
Clutter is always the symptom of a bigger problem.
It’s the result of grief, guilt or attachment.
It’s a symptom of stress and it causes more stress.
It creates a negative feedback loop that affects every other aspect of your life.
It’s like a tiny nagging cough that doesn’t ever clear up.
But instead of hauling yourself off to a doctor, clutter is best dealt with by you.
So ready to get deep and begin to banish those demons? First let’s take a closer look at the four different types of clutter so we can better learn how to deal with them.
Four Kinds Of Clutter & How To Manage Them
Clutter Type #1: Life Change Clutter
Clutter can often arise after the experience of a major life event. Death and divorce can bring a huge emotional weight to your belongings while moving in with your significant other or welcoming a new baby poses another set of challenges. Be gentle with yourself but give yourself a deadline to work towards. That way an unpleasant task won’t go on and on forever.
Clutter Type #2: Overflow Clutter
This is the clutter that arises from simply not having enough space. If your drawers are overflowing from a giant t-shirt collection, take it as a big hint that it’s time to pare down. There’s only one real solution to this: prioritize, purge and make room for the things that are truly important. Get inspired by the tiny home movement or by looking at a few extremely small homes on Pinterest. Thinking that we don’t have enough room for everything is often just a trap that we’ve set for ourselves. And yes, you still might need to be another piece of furniture to help manage things but that should truly be your last resort.
Clutter Type #3: Time Management Clutter
When we’re in a hurry, we tend to make a mess. Just think about the last time you got ready to go out! Sometimes this is a time management issue but often its still possible to create a system that will help you manage. To start, make yourself really aware of how you behave in certain situations. For me, making a mess from pulling a million black t-shirts out of my drawers was always a big problem until I started using the KonMari folding method. And that’s just one life-changing example! Just becoming aware of what your hot buttons are is a great way to figure out a coping mechanism.
Clutter Type #4: Behavorial Clutter
If your clutter doesn’t seem to be related to any of the other categories, you might have a behavioral issue on your hands. This is clutter that stems from an underlying psychological issue like depression, low self-esteem or attention deficit disorder. These issues of course cannot be solved simply by getting rid of your excess junk. But you might find that tackling a few small areas helps to build your self-esteem and confidence. If your clutter is out of control for a behavioral reason, it might be time to seek out professional help (through a therapist or professional organizer).
Step 1: Purge
Don’t fall into the trap of organizing your stuff before you get rid of anything! This is a two-step process: purge first then organize. Don’t try to make yourself do both at the same time! That’s just a sure-fire way to get overwhelmed and burn out early.
My favorite method is the KonMarie method. To break it down, this entails going through each and every item that you own and asking yourself if it sparks joy.
Of course, things like your kitchen knife or running shoes probably won’t spark joy. But as long as they’re useful items (and not being kept for “one day”) you can keep those things around too. Take a look: Has it expired? Is it a duplicate? Is it a good fit for your current lifestyle? If not, then you know what to do.
Step 2: Organize
After you’ve cleared the clutter it’s time to create better systems. Start off grouping like items together. In the end it might not make sense for everything to stay together, but it’s the only way to take inventory. Look for duplicates. Do you need three pairs of household scissors? Again, your lifestyle is the priority and what works for me might not work for you. But there are always smart choices you can make in order to keep the things in your home organized and your entire life running a little more smoothly.
Tackling your clutter is not a one-time job. It’s an ongoing process that will change in order to meet the demands of our current life. Break it into bite-sized pieces and go from there. And remember that every little bit helps so don’t feel bad if it takes you a few weeks or months to get through it.
Wishing you a clear space & a happier life,