The surprising benefits of clutter-free living — and how to do it
So, a new year is already upon us and the list of new year’s resolutions is beginning to take shape.
Healthier diets, more exercise, more time with family, less stress – these are on top of many lists.
But what about resolutions for the place you spend much of time…your home?
Why decluttering is good for you
Creating and maintaining a clutter-free environment may just be the key to helping you achieve your other list of resolutions.
Although that may sound a little pie-in-the-sky, research has shown many physical and psychological benefits to decluttering your digs including less stress and anxiety, more inner peace, stronger decision-making skills, and even better sleep.
See the relationship of these benefits to the top resolutions mentioned earlier? Here are a few examples of how decluttering your digs can help.
Living in a clutter-free environment:
- Allows you to perform daily living tasks more efficiently
- Reduces the stress and wasted time of looking for things
- Provides sense of accomplishment and well-being
- Promotes physical well-being by removing harmful dust particles and toxins from air
- Creates environment that is more enjoyable for friends and family which leads to healthy bonding and relaxed downtime
- Helps promote better sleep by creating ‘friction-free’ bedrooms
- Clutter-free kitchens promote eating at home and reduced prep time for meals
- Promotes ongoing self-discipline which has a cumulative impact on self-confidence and sense of achievement
Easy tips to start decluttering now
For many, those new year’s resolutions are long forgotten by Valentine’s Day. But your decluttering resolution doesn’t have to be one of those forgotten resolutions. Here are a few tips that will help you ease into the declutter zone and keep you clutter-free all year long.
1Make a plan
Before you begin, make a quick list of rooms and areas that you’d like to organize and declutter – as well as the primary pain points for why the clutter is getting in your way. Then, prioritize the list in order of which areas are causing you the most stress.
For example, if you are always late for work because you can’t find the right shirt or belt, you may want to tackle your master closet first. If every morning starts with a litany of curse words as you trip over toys or shoes in the living room on your way to the coffee machine, this may be your first target.
Making a list on paper and prioritizing it is good for several reasons. First, it gives you an organized approach to the work and makes it easier to get started. The ability to ‘check-off’ areas will give you a quick sense of accomplishment, and provide motivation to keep going.
Additionally, by tackling your highest pain points first, you’ll eliminate those high-stress situations early and be more productive and efficient for the other areas.
2Start small, don’t overdo it
The number one reason most people don’t achieve their new year’s resolutions is that their goals are too ambitious. That goes for decluttering your home as well.
Start with small areas that will have the most impact. Break up tasks so that you can accomplish one room, area or project at a time before you move on.
To avoid getting overwhelmed, finish each project completely before moving on.
For example, if you have bags of trash or donated items from one closet or room, clear these bags from the room and take to the curb or garage so the decluttered space looks and feels more like an accomplishment than a work in progress.
Need a little extra motivation? Try putting some great music on or having a glass of wine while you work. These mood-setting tricks enhance the therapeutic effects and make the projects more enjoyable.
3Create a sorting system
One of the keys to creating a clutter-free living environment is a sorting system. Sorting systems usually include some combination of the following:
- Don’t need it
- Need it, but not that often
- Need it every day
For items that you no longer need, first, decide on the best way to dispose of. Should you donate it to charity? Throw it in the trash? Recycle? Sell at a resale shop? For each category, create a bag or box so you can easily sort and contain the items for easy disposal.
Sort the other items into one of two categories – ‘need every day’ or ‘don’t need that often.’ Items that are not needed often should be grouped together and put into containers that can be stored out of the way. The attic, top shelves of closets and cabinets, or back of closets are great places to keep these items stored safely.
For those items you use every day, store these in areas such as the front of drawers, eye level on shelves, or in the front of cabinets. Keeping items that are frequently used in these areas makes finding and accessing the items easier. It also makes putting them away easier. And, this is key to keeping your spaces decluttered year-round.
4Organize for the way you live
Another key to a decluttered lifestyle is to organize your ‘stuff’ for how you live. We all want a closet that looks like a magazine photo. Or a pantry where every box and spice is neatly organized and faced. Or, even a game room where every toy is neatly organized on a shelf.
But, for most, this type of hyper-organization just doesn’t fit our lifestyle. The object of the game is to make your life easier, more enjoyable and with less stress. If keeping things perfect adds more stress, then it’s not worth it.
Instead, try these tricks to keep things organized in a livable way.
(Check out extra resources at the bottom of this article)
Use baskets or decorative boxes to store ‘like things’. These allow you to throw things in without the hassle of single item arrangement.Toy boxes, magazine baskets, pen cups, mail bins are all great examples of storage that looks tidy but don’t require Stepford-wife routines.
- Hidden Storage
Use hidden storage furniture to keep things close but hidden. For example, coffee tables with drawers for extra blankets and remotes. Or under bed drawers or bins that pull out are good examples of hidden storage.
- Compartmentalized Storage
Use compartmentalized storage containers inside cabinets and drawers. These are great for keeping ‘like items’ together, such as socks, toiletries, hair products, etc. In the kitchen, slide-out drawers’ help to organize plastic containers and pans so finding the right one is fast and painless.
And, it minimizes that awful banging of pots and pans or fruitless hunt for the right Tupperware lid. Now, that’s stress reduction at its finest!Shoe racks, spice racks, turn-style racks, and wall hooks are also a great way of keeping important items organized and accessible.
- Get the Troops Involved
When creating your organization system, it’s best to get the family involved. By getting their help in creating a solution, you’ll have a much better chance of finding something that works for your daily living. And, just maybe, they’ll be more motivated to keep the system on track.
- Keep a Junk Drawer
Don’t stress over junk drawers. Every family needs one or two. Just use compartmentalized containers to ‘somewhat’ organize things in the drawer so you can find it when needed. And make a point of cleaning the junk drawer once a quarter or so.
Finding things when you need them is nirvana. To make the decluttering process stick, try creating systems for each area so you’ll know right where to look.
The key to creating a system is the rule of ‘like things’ such as t-shirts, pens, travel toiletries, etc.
Labeled and organized file folders are probably one of the most notable ‘systems.’
Your system will be unique for your lifestyle, so a little forethought is good. One example, in your closet, try organizing clothes by use (for example work, sport, casual). Then take it a step further and organize by color or sleeve length. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can find things when you know exactly what section of the closet to look.
6Keep it going
It feels great to have a clean, organized and clutter-free home. Keep that feeling going by maintaining the organization in your daily habits. Try not to let things pile up until you are too overwhelmed to tackle. Keep areas picked up each day or every few days. Incorporate little tricks into your daily routine such as sorting the mail immediately and throwing junk mail into the recycle bin on your way from the mailbox.
Decluttering Resources in Frisco
Donation Centers for Drop-off & Scheduled Pick-Up
Frisco Resale/Family Services– Drop off or schedule pickup, Frisco TX
Grace Bridge Resale– donations drop-off, Frisco TX
Charity Clothing Pickup – Drop-off locations & schedule pickup, locations vary
Recycle2Support – Drop off and schedule pickup, Little Elm, TX
Goodwill Industries– Donation center, The Colony, Allen & Plano locations
Clothing Resale & Consignment Shops-Frisco
Clothes Mentor– buys brand name clothes, shoes, handbags & jewelry
Plato’s Closet– Buys gently used clothing
Uptown Cheapskate– Buys gently used clothing, shoes, bags, and accessories
Restyle – Women’s consignment boutique
Closet Revival– Buys upscale ladies clothing
The Good Steward– Men’s & women’s consignment
Kid to Kid– Buys children’s clothing, toys & equipment
Furniture Buy Consignment– Furniture consignment
City of Frisco Bulk-Trash Disposal
Free bulk trash pick– Saturday pickup schedule varies by home address
DIY Trash disposal– 2 free drop-offs a month with Frisco water bill
About the Judi Wright Team
Judi Wright/The Judi Wright Team is a real estate group specializing in the suburbs of Frisco, Plano, and surrounding areas. Named the “Best Realtor in Dallas,” by D Magazine eleven times and a Five Star Realtor with Texas Monthly, Judi is also a Company-Wide Top performer with Ebby Halliday and the #1 Top Small Group for Ebby Halliday Frisco.