Some folks don’t notice clutter, while others feel unease and disorganized if things are not in their place. People who don’t notice clutter are called clutter-blind. This isn’t the same as someone who notices dirty dishes but waits for a spouse to clean them. A clutter-blind person will clean the house top to bottom and they will skip over the clutter because it has simply become part of the home. Sometimes people are clutter-blind and a roommate or a spouse points it out and suddenly they become aware of it. Different people have varying tolerance levels for clutter. Are you clutter-blind? Not sure? Here are some signs that you may be clutter-blind.
Do you feel that it is not worth the energy to be orderly?
Do you have trouble findings things?
Do you have a high tolerance for piles? For example: Leaving a laundry pile for days, storing papers on tabletops in piles?
Is there something sitting on every flat surface?
Would you be embarrassed if someone stopped by your home unexpectedly?
Check these few common clutter locations: Do you have things stored on top of your refrigerator or kitchen cabinets? Do you have expired coupons on your refrigerator doors? Do you have a laundry pile or a laundry chair? Do you store papers on the dining room table? Do you have too many nicknacks on your mantle? Is your bedside table a covered in things? Do you leave medicine on the counter? Do you leave dishes for another day? Do you have to move a LOT of things to dust? Now, having a few of cluttered ares does not constitute clutter-blindness, but if you felt like you were just reading a story about your home…you may want to consider it.
Still not sure? Take a few photos of your home. Sometimes being slightly removed makes it easier to see the problem. But what to do now?
Here are few things that you can do to reduce clutter and make it easier to establish systems to combat clutter in the future.
Start small. Choose just one pile or stack and tackle just that task today. Do that each day and soon you will have made some real progress! For bigger tasks like cleaning out a closet, set a time limit. Dedicate 30 minutes each day to working on that task and keep yourself accountable to that commitment.
Categorize things into two initial groups: Utility/Necessity and Sentimental/Just-incase. Be honest with yourself and decide if each item is something that you MUST have or is the only thing that can serve a specific purpose or if it is something that you are hanging onto for sentimental reasons or as an insurance policy incase you need it later. Items in the Sentimental/Just-incase pile should be sorted into Keep (this should be the smallest pile), Sell or Donate, Trash, or Storage.
Be like Frozen and let it go. Many of us have a compulsion to hang onto things incase we need them later…chances are, we wont. If being wasteful is a concern, donate things you don’t need anymore to a charity so someone else can benefit from them.
Assess broken systems. If you come in and pile mail on the nearest flat surface, make a mail station with a trashcan or shredder near by. File and deal with the essentials, store coupons in a system, post reminders on a bulletin board (not the refrigerator), and shred, shred, shred the rest!