Have you reached the point where you can barely see your kitchen countertops or your desk in the home office? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. May is finally here, which can only mean one thing: Spring cleaning time!
Before conquering your clutter, you may want to watch Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up series on Netflix. She provides easy-to-implement Japanese organization techniques that make the decluttering process far more manageable.
Clutter’s Psychological Impact on Daily Life:
- Physical: Clutter May (Surprisingly) Lead to a Higher Intake of Cookies & Snacks
As if that headline isn’t convincing enough, Psychology Today highlighted a study conducted by Lenny Vartarian where participants ate more cookies and snacks when assessed in a cluttered, chaotic environment.
- Mental: Causes Distress & Feelings of Displacement
Also in the Psychology Today article, Catherine Roster at the University of New Mexico studied the relationship between clutter in the home and overall well-being. The study examined how clutter not only impacts an individual’s perception of their home but also compromises feelings of satisfaction in life as well.
- Financial: Money Spent Unnecessarily Replacing Items Lost in Clutter
Clutter is not only a visual distraction, it also causes financial stress. It’s far easier to lose items when your space is disorganized. This can impact us mentally as well as financially, as we often spend more money replacing items rather than taking the time to shuffle through the clutter to find them!
Tips to Reduce Clutter at Home and at Work:
- Set a Time Limit Using the Pomodoro Method
The Pomodoro Technique involves setting a time limit and committing to a task for 45 minutes, and then giving yourself a 15-minute break. Do this for 2-3 sessions each week or weekend to tackle the clutter.
- Focus on one category at a time
Let’s be honest, no one wants to spend an entire weekend decluttering their apartment. Rather than overwhelming yourself with attempting to tackle the entire apartment, focus on one category at a time. This can include clothes, shoes, toiletries, books, kid’s toys, etc. Although the decluttering process may take longer, it will be far more manageable and will not have the same mental hurdle that comes with challenging yourself to organize an entire home.
- Only Keep Items That Spark Joy or Have a True Function
Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method emphasizes only keeping items that speak to your heart. Does that shirt that’s been hanging in the back of the closet spark true joy when you hold it in your hands? Do you have happy memories wearing it and plan to have more happy memories wearing it down the line? Then it’s worth keeping. If it hasn’t been worn in years and isn’t a favorite/doesn’t fit the way you want, someone else can probably benefit from it far more.
- Stay in One Spot
When implementing Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method, try not to move from one area of the apartment. If you’re focusing on the toiletries category, take everything that needs to be organized off the bathroom shelves. Then, don’t leave that area until the space is clean (or at least until the 45 minutes are up if you’re following the Pomodoro Technique!).This helps ensure staying on task, as it’s easy to get distracted when decluttering a space. Finding a night serum you’ve been looking for may tempt you to want to go set it down on your nightstand, which will remind you that you need to fold the laundry in the dryer, which may then lead you to begin disassembling and reorganizing your bedroom closet. Hopping from area to area means that only a little will get done in various parts of your apartment rather than conquering one entire section.
- Consider Those in Need
The best part about decluttering is offering others the opportunity to benefit from what no longer serves you. If selling items on Facebook Marketplace feels overwhelming, donate them to a local charity in your area. Most donation centers will provide a receipt you can submit when filing your taxes (as donations are tax-deductible). Plus, you can feel good knowing that your items are going to good use.
- Reduce Visual Clutter with Pretty Storage Bins
Begin by reducing the clutter that you can see in the open and then work your way to the closets and cabinets. This will help give some breathing room and will make a home feel lighter and more organized.Organize books, children’s toys, pet items, extra clothes, bathroom essentials, and any other household items in pretty storage bins that are woven, wicker, cotton, grasscloth, or rattan. These storage bins are pretty enough to be left out in the open and can help free up closet and cabinet space.
- Group by Color, Function, or Person
Organize shoes, clothes, towels, books, dishes, mugs, and other items by color to create visual unity and make a space feel much more organized and complete.
In addition to organizing by color, you can also group items in baskets by person or function (i.e. spices, cooking utensils, cleaning supplies, or towels) and label the baskets accordingly.
- Put Everything in a Box
If the techniques above feel overwhelming, start by throwing a bunch of disorganized items in a box and only retrieve items when you need them. This is a good test to determine what is useful and what isn’t. Set a time limit on the box (3 months, for example). If several items are still in the box after the 3 months are up, they can probably get donated without being missed too much.
Things to Consider
Having a tidy apartment will make your day-to-day life easier and more manageable, and will also make it far more enjoyable to host family, friends, and playdates for the kids in your clean and tidy home.
About Draper & Kramer
Draper & Kramer’s luxury properties offer plenty of space to stay neat and organized. Headquartered in Chicago, IL, Draper & Kramer has beautiful rental properties in Saint Louis, Chicago, Phoenix, and Dallas. Browse our entire inventory of properties today.