There are people who are so overwhelmed by the clutter in their homes that they swear that the boxes, socks, bric-a-brac reproduce like living beings, specifically mice or rabbits. But clutter doesn't reproduce, nor does it migrate from place to place on its own. Someone had to bring it into the home and put it there. Because of this, it's up to the people who brought clutter in to take it out. So how does a family of pack rats banish clutter once and for all? Here are seven ways:
1. Get Rid of Stuff First
Before things are put in order, the unnecessary, broken, unused, unloved stuff needs to be discarded. They can be tossed in the garbage, donated to a charity, sold in a yard sale or given as a gift to a friend or relative, as long as they go. Seasonal things can be boxed and stored in the attic and things that the family may need in the future, such as business receipts or tax forms, can be boxed and sent to a self-storage company. Experts recommend that these items be kept for about five years and then shredded.
2. Sort By Category
Some people sort room by room, but this can be time-consuming. This is because most people keep more than one type of item in more than one room. For example, there are books in the bedrooms, books in the family room, living room, library or den, books in the home office and the kitchen and maybe even books in the bathrooms. Bring them all to one spot and lay them out on the floor. The books that are no longer read or cherished need to go. Repeat with clothes, tools, kitchen utensils and other items.
3. Start with the Easiest Things First
The sorting should not start with items of sentimental value such as photographs, jewelry or other mementos. It should start with things that are replaceable, such as clothes, ordinary kitchen utensils and things found in the junk drawer. After these are sorted, mementos can be sorted. If they are not used or gazed upon fairly frequently, but someone can't bear to part with them, they can be boxed up and put in storage.
4. Involve the Family, or don’t
Some families are able to agree on a technique before they start to discard and sort things. But in other families one member can't bear to part with something another member considers useless, even if that item doesn't specifically belong to them. In this case, each family member might clear out his or her personal space and leave the more public areas of the home to one person. In another case, the family might designate one person to choose what stays and what goes and simply help take out the bags or boxes.
5. Everything in Its Place
After everything is discarded and sorted, it must have its own designated place. Moreover, it must keep its designated place. Remember, inanimate objects don't move from place to place on their own. If an item of clothing or a dish is dirty, it should be washed, dried, and then put away in its place, all the time.
Yes, that means keep it simple, stupid. Instead of spending money on complex storage systems, utilize the shelves, drawers and closets that are already in the house. Ideally, store like things with like. Clothes go in the closet, towels and bedclothes go in the linen closet, and keepsakes have their own drawer.
7. Use a Self-Storage Company
Consider using a self-storage company which are often very affordable and convenient. The family should look for one with good security and climate controlled units. It must also be clean and well-lighted. Being able to access the unit around the clock is also a bonus.
Breaking the pack rat habit is surprisingly simple. An uncluttered, orderly home is the best thing to foster peace and harmony among family members.