“Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein
Clutter is the beast that can fell even the most productive parent. We live with, use, and need stuff. We have come to rely on the stuff that makes our lives better, easier, faster, prettier, and warmer. The price of our habitual consumerism can be that the stuff begins to own us.
You can forget about actual cleaning when there is junk crammed into every corner of your workspace, home, and your personal life. More than anything, clutter can make you feel defeat — that horrible, obnoxious, feeling that is reserved for failed grade 4 math tests, provincial driving exams, and…clutter.
The first secret to controlling clutter is: do just one thing. Do the thing that annoys you most first. The second secret is to use the time you have, and not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Sometimes, 30 minutes (or roughly one nap that includes a snack and a coffee for you) is all you have. Make it count!
Here are 30 Clutter-Control Tricks that each take less than 30 minutes to complete.
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE DO NOT BE AN OVERACHIEVER AND TRY TO DO ALL 30. THIS DEFEATS THE PURPOSE OF THE “JUST DO ONE” RECOMMENDATION
Start your timer for thirty minutes. Chose ONE task. And, go!
1) Unroll your inbox
2) Clean out your voice mails. All of them.
3) Update your contact list. If you are too far behind in these updates, then set your timer for 30 minutes and do as many as possible in that time.
4) Get rid of ten pieces of paper. Any ten. Maybe you file them, maybe you toss them. They just can’t stay in that pile anymore.
5) Organize your small office supplies. I love using a cute tray where you can see everything you have.
1) Reign-in electrical chords. When in doubt, use zipties!
2) Clean and replace light fixtures. Don’t let those crusty dead flies stare at you anymore.
3) Wash all phones and remote controls. A recent study showed that phones carry more germs than toilet seats. You don’t rub your face on those, do you?
4) Clean your front entrance by removing all the shoes/coats/hats that don’t get used daily.
5) Feng Shui experts suggest you should place treasured objects in front of a mirror. Try grouping your decorative items in once place for a cleaner, less cluttered, look.
1) Organize your kids’ art, smartly, using the wicked-cool app called Artkive.
2) Teach your kids to make their bed using the burrito method.
3) Create an organized homework space using an over the chair solution.
4) Get books off the floor and into a book nook.
5) Go through their closet and put the “too smalls” in a bag for donation. Here are some great places to donate:
The Canadian Diabetes Association (They’ll even pick up!)
1) Get the junk out of your trunk, and wipe down the interior of your car.
2) Organize your glove compartment with a zippered folder. Insurance, manuals, and all the important stuff you need in case you’re on the run from the law, or your family.
3) (Accurately) label all the tubs in your garage — front and top.
4) Put all of your garden shed tools in one basket. I like to upcycle an old flower pot.
5) Clear your front porch or walkway of all accessories (like shovels, and salt). Curb appeal goes way down when there are personal items in view.
1) Meditate for 30 minutes. If you need some guidance and inspiration, there is a great App called Calm.com.
2) Do a Facebook friends de-clutter. Negative posters can be a drag on your mood.
3) Set up a notebook beside your bed to write goals, lists, thoughts, and even jokes, as they come. It’s use it or lose it when it comes to brain clutter.
4) Set up automatic billing for all your monthly expenses! It’s a total no-brainer that will save the stress of a missed bill and the clutter of the mail that you don’t need.
5) Clean out that crazy purse! Damn, woman, you’re starting to look like Mary Poppins *pulls lamp out of purse to illustrate point*
1) Write a will. Even something simple is better than nothing at all.
2) Clean out the fridge and get rid of the sauces and dressings you haven’t used in the last month.
3) Import five CDs to your computer. It’s a guarantee you’ll actually listen to them MORE and have to dust them LESS in the e-format.
4) Take everything off your kitchen counter. Now, only put back the stuff you use daily.
5) Call your mom. Seriously. Tell her how amazing she is for not letting the house fall to shambles while you were growing up.
Ding! Time is up, you de-cluttering machine, you. Take a big, fat, marker and cross whatever job you chose off this list. With the universe on your side naptime will come again tomorrow — and with it, another 30 minutes of clutter-control.
Still on a high from all your clutter-control progress? Why not grab these essential items from the Dollar Store. Or, if you need a little extra motivation, read: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good!