Nidhi Parikh • Jul 7, 2022
Did you know that in the past 50 years, the average size of an American home has nearly tripled?
And guess what, an average American home carries a mammoth 300,000 items.
All of these items are now crowding our homes, even if we don’t use more than half of these items.
Now imagine a scenario where you walk into a house that has bare minimum furniture, neatly organized cabinets, and vacant rooms and hallways. Wouldn’t you think to yourself, “This house looks so chic and neatly organized”?
That’s the power of minimalism.
Even Steve Jobs used to firmly believe in minimalism. In an interview, former Apple CEO John Scully mentioned, “I remember going into Steve’s house and he had almost no furniture in it. He just had a picture of Einstein, a Tiffany lamp, a chair, and a bed. He just didn’t believe in having a lot of things around, but he was incredibly careful in what he selected...”
Don’t worry! You don’t need to forsake everything in order to have a neatly organized home. Here are 9 tips to have a clutter-free and beautiful home.
1. Designate a place for everything in your home
This is the most important rule when it comes to living a clutter-free life. Before you purchase that book or those cute jars you saw in the grocery store, ask yourself, “Do I have room in my bookshelf or kitchen cabinets?”
If not, you can make space by getting rid of something else or expanding your storage. The earlier option is always preferable.
For the items you already have in your home, ensure that they have a designated place. For example, your pet’s toys will keep loitering on the floor unless you have a bin to store them in. Or those bills will keep piling up on your table unless you make a folder to store them in.
2. Be more self-aware
The best way to get rid of clutter is to understand your thoughts. For example, look at what is causing clutter in your home and ask yourself: “Where did this come from?” “What made me buy it? “Why haven’t I cleared it yet?”
This will help you start noticing patterns. For example, you may notice that you always end up buying extra items while grocery shopping. You can then find solutions like making a grocery list beforehand and giving yourself a time limit so that you don’t stroll around the grocery store and pick up only those items that you need.
This not only keeps the clutter in check but you can also save on your expenses.
3. Try the 30-day rule
You can de-clutter all you want but you’ll reach the same place if you just keep buying more things. So, before buying any non-essential item, put them on your 30-day list with the date it was added.
Make a rule that you’ll not buy that item unless it’s been more than 30 days. This way, you’ll lose the urge to buy that stuff if it’s really not necessary and in the process, you’ll save yourself money and clutter.
4. Create good clutter busting habits
This could mean putting things back in their place as soon as you’re done using them or taking a few minutes before bedtime to go through your house and clear up the mess. You can even try to get digital bills instead of physical ones so that you don’t need to store them every month.
Like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg who wear the same kind of outfits every day to the office, you can choose your favorite fabric and colors and make that your personal attire. And guess what? You no longer will have to spend hours standing in front of your closet deciding what to wear to work.
5. Always consider trade-offs
Do you just forsake money when you buy something? No! Think about all the trade-offs, for example, the time you’ll need to spend maintaining or cleaning it, or the ongoing expenses you’ll need to incur for storing that item.
While it’s okay every now and then to buy items that you want, the value that item brings should far outweigh what it costs you.
6. Follow a “One in, One out” policy
If you’re bringing something new to your home, be it a magazine, a pair of clothes, or a bedsheet, consider getting rid of an old item. The idea is to keep the number of items stable in your home instead of keeping on adding them.
It may not be possible always but really challenge yourself to find an item that you can replace the new thing with. Over time, it’ll get easier and you’ll have to spend less time de-cluterring your home.
7. Regularly donate things
There will always be many items in your home that you don’t make use of and many people who need these items. That’s why making donations a way of life is the best way to not only keep your homes clutter-free but help someone as well.
Keep a donation box or shopping bag in your closet in which you can put those items you don’t use. If you’re indecisive, wait for a few months. If you still haven’t reached for those items in the box, you won’t miss them. Here are some charities in New York that accept donations.
8. Declutter in stages
Sometimes, decluttering isn’t fruitful at all. Why? Because you’re doing it all wrong. Either you’re doing it without a plan or just moving things around. Taking on too much at a time can also start to feel overwhelming, leading you to procrastinate on it.
Instead, declutter in stages. It could mean starting off with the most messy room and gradually moving on to other rooms. You could even keep one room for one day if you’re a working professional or just too busy.
9. Follow a sorting method
As you start your de-cluttering drive, follow a sorting method for items like having a keep, maybe, donate, or throw pile for everything. While there will be items that are a no-brainer like your favourite pair of clothes that will go into the “Keep” pile, there will be items like the coffee grinder you bought which you don’t really use and are wondering what to do with it. Keep such items in the “Maybe” pile and then decide what to do with it.
Now that you know the secrets of those who manage to always keep their homes clean and organized, put these hacks in action and see the difference for yourself.
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by Nidhi Parikh • Feb 14, 2023