I believe getting rid of the clutter in my home is a key part of living simply and peacefully. We do not have a large house (1250 square feet on two floors with an unfinished basement of 600ish square feet). We have a one-stall detached garage and an 8×8 shed in our backyard. So we are not abounding in space compared to many Americans. We are both home all day and operate a business out of our home. Now we have a baby coming.
We have had to maximize the use of our space and carefully consider how we use every square foot. For the most part, maximizing the use of space has NOT meant buying more storage containers to pile up more stuff in the basement. It has meant many trips to Goodwill, selling things on eBay, etc. It has meant moving stuff out of the house.
Sometimes it has been challenging. There have been things I would have liked to have kept, but there simply isn’t room. I value peace and sanity more than I value hanging on to boxes of books and other stuff. So part of living simply has been moving the stuff out before it can become clutter – physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Everything In Its Place
Another way we control clutter in our home is that everything has a place and, almost without fail, everything is in its place before we go to bed. The kitchen is cleaned up, anything that might have been out in the living room is put back, clothes are picked up in our bedroom, the bathroom has no clutter laying about it, etc.
Because we have taken the time to declutter and determine where things go, it takes us very little time to do a quick sweep through the house before bedtime and make sure everything is where it needs to be. Then we have the joy and peace of getting up to a neat house.
Clutter is somewhat subjective. I am sure some people will be shocked to think that we would actually get rid of books! Some people find knicknacks to be clutter while others think that they add a homey touch. Only you can decide what is clutter in your home and what isn’t. But the things in your home should add value and peace to your day, not drain you physically, mentally and emotionally.
Getting Rid of Clutter One Day at a Time
If clutter has taken over your home, it will not all disappear in one day. It has worked its way in over months and years and it will take more than thirty minutes to get rid of it. It takes time to go through all the “stuff” and move it out. (I think the most challenging part is to get past the emotional aspects of the stuff.) But it can be done fifteen minutes at a time, one day at a time, one week at a time. Once you get to the point where you have control over it rather than it controlling you, it is then just a matter of daily/weekly maintenance which is far easier than the initial tackling of the piles and boxes.
I appreciate this post, Sallie! I prefer the look and style of a minimalist, but I’m a pack rat. The two often clash. 🙂 I can’t stand clutter, but I seem to have a lot of it! You’ve made me want to go home right now and clean it all out. 🙂 I especially appreciated your comment about wishing you could keep something but just not having the room. We’re in a 700 sq. ft. apartment, and I am constantly struggling with that same issue.
Thanks for this post!
I have been working on this for so long and can’t agree more about clutter!
Of course, my home is tiny ( a little less than 1,000 sq ft) so I must be vigilant about it…
One thing that has helped is staying home and not spending spare time shopping or window shopping!
When I do shop, I make sure it’s something that is a definite need or something that I simply love and can’t imagine not having ( there is very little that falls into this category)
And lastly, just being content with what I have and taking care of it!
Thanks for this post. I have noticed that the clutter in my house is causing me stress but I can’t seem to get control of it. Unfortunately I am married to a pack rat which makes it difficult to declutter. Two kids don’t help either, you’ll find that out soon! 🙂
erm.. thanks for the nudge… i’m off to do some decluttering 🙂
sallie, this is a thing that after four years of marriage i’m learning is so important…if only for the sanity of my hubbie. thanks for your post.
I don’t think you’ll have any trouble sqeezing Peanut into 1200 square feet! We’ve always lived in homes that small or smaller, with no garages or basements. I’ve found it’s always my own clutter that’s the problem, not baby equipment or toys.