Often during this time of year, I start to feel a little...down. Maybe it's the stillness after the storm of Christmas has slowed and the excitement of a New Year starts to wane. The presents have long been unwrapped, the celebrations have come to an end, the festive decorations are gone, and I start to look around at all the STUFF. Can you relate?
Stuff. Is. Everywhere.
I know I'm not alone in feeling a little overwhelmed this time of year. In fact, clutter is a concern for many households.
11% of U.S. households rent a storage unit.
The average American family spends $1,800 per year on clothing.
For women, there is evidence to support that our stress levels are directly proportional to the amount of clutter in our homes .
When in cluttered spaces, people are more likely to make poor eating choices. Those with extremely cluttered homes are 77% more likely to be overweight.
Not only can clutter cause stress and have adverse mental and physical effects, but it costs us a lot of money! 78% of U.S. families live paycheck to paycheck, and yet the average American spends $18,000 per year on nonessential items. Collectively, Americans spend $2.7 BILLION dollars every year replacing items we simply can't find in our homes! Clutter is decreasing our quality of life and our bank accounts!
So, if you are like the 78% of us who have no idea what to do with it all, know that there is hope! I feel like this is the perfect time to do something that not only helps my mental space, but allows me to help someone else who may be in need. Did you know that February is "Declutter For A Cause" month? It's true! You can not only tackle your cluttered space for your own wellbeing, but you can donate your unwanted (good condition) items to local charities and they can find a new, useful life with someone who may need them! It's a winning combination!
Where Do I Begin?
One of my biggest motivators for taking control over my spaces was the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. By determining the items in my home that "spark joy" (and those that don't!), I was able to clear away so much clutter while keeping the things I truly enjoyed. I didn't have to overthink it or spend too much time deciding on items, but I had this helpful roadmap for me to begin my journey. Now that I'm thinking about it, I might just pull out the book and give myself a quick refresher!
The most important piece of the puzzle is to get a plan in place. If I look at my whole house all at once - all the nooks and crannies where clutter hides - I'm going to immediately feel defeated and will probably give up before I even begin. In order to combat my flight response and the urge to push it all aside and ignore the mess, I need a solid yet easy to follow
Plan of Action:
1.Make a list of each room/area in your home.
2.Grab yourself a calendar and write one task on each day. Don't get overwhelmed! Tailor your tasks so that you can tackle quick areas on busier weekdays, and the more intensive projects on weekends. Maybe you only have 15 minutes today. That's fine! Spend 15 minutes organizing the junk drawer. Just do one thing, big or small, each day. Feel free to use my sample calendar below, or create your own!
3. Start with the kitchen, and focus on that area alone for several days/an entire week. Do this with other areas of your house. Maybe work on bedrooms in week 2, bathrooms and closets in week 3, and the rest of the house in week 4. Set reasonable goals!
4. Don't get caught up in perfection! You aren't aiming for a completely organized and pristine home in 29 days! What you ARE aiming for is consistency and progress. Make it a goal to complete one task before moving on to another. If a bedroom takes more days to complete than you thought it would, that's ok! By the end of each room/area project, you should expect to have a box (or boxes) of donation items, remove trash, and then give the area a quick clean before replacing the items you are keeping. If you want to organize as you replace, great! If not, just tidy the area a little and move on to the next one.
7. The biggest goal is that you regain a little sanity in your spaces! Make yourself some motivational sticky-notes to place around the room to help you keep your "why" in front of you.
At the end of the month, take a look at all you accomplished! Maybe the whole house isn't "done", but you've come a long way, baby! Your main living areas probably feel a little (or a lot) lighter, and your daily workload is probably a little easier. You can breathe. Your outlook might be more positive. The weight has lifted and you can feel good about what you've done. Celebrate! You earned it!