It seems that every month you go in search of a new blog post or book to help you wrangle the clutter around your home. No matter what tips and tricks you follow to keep your home clean and tidy, the junk always seems to assemble again, often in greater quantities than before. To say the least, you are frustrated and fatigued by the relentless war on trash, and you are desperate for new, permanent solutions.
Still, it’s hard to believe that there could be a wrong way to declutter. After all, if you are decreasing the mess, you are doing something right… right? Actually, professional organizers can list several bad amateur strategies for organizing homes. Any of the following decluttering mistakes will lead you toward a lifetime of disarray, so you should avoid them starting today.
You Believe in Spring Cleaning
Once the weather starts to warm, you might get the urge to rid your home of winter filth and welcome spring with a fresh, clean home. Indeed, spring cleaning is an honorable endeavor that revives a home after a few confined, chaotic months, but unfortunately, the popular phrase convinces many people that springtime is the only time they truly need to deep clean and declutter.
To have a tidy home year-round, you need to devote more than just one day (or even one weekend) every 12 months. A further mistake is assuming that by assigning a whole day to the activity of washing and organizing, you will accomplish your goal. Decluttering is more akin to a habit than an activity; to ensure your home remains clutter-free, you must wage constant war against the forces of mess. No single day provides the energy and focus necessary to scour an entire home, so you should spread out your decluttering and slowly adopt minimalist habits, instead.
You Buy Storage Solutions First
When you see your kitchen countertops persistently covered by tools and appliances, when clothes and toys litter the floor, it is easy to believe that you simply don’t have enough storage to contain all your belongings. What’s more, the solutions available at organization stores are more than enticing, with specialized containers in attractive colors and styles.
However, by organizing after you buy, you are almost guaranteeing that your new solutions will become worthless. First, there is a significant possibility that your new boxes and shelves won’t fit your space; then, it is likely that you will have too much, too little, or simply inappropriate storage to suit your needs. Before you even think about heading to a Container Store (or your local equivalent), you must spend time organizing and analyzing.
You Never De-Own
Perhaps the most important practice in any decluttering endeavor is actually de-owning. The truth is owning too many items is a drag on your time and happiness. Belongings quickly become burdens, requiring excessive energy to wrangle and pulling you away from more important endeavors, such as spending time with your children or developing sought-after skills. The more you can limit your possessions, the less time you will spend decluttering, and the more happiness you will find in your daily life.
Therefore, this year while you are tackling your decluttering, you should seriously consider ridding yourself of your mess for good. If you don’t wear the clothes in your closet, take out the boat in your garage, or use the desk and supplies in your office, you can sell them or donate them to a good cause.
You Refuse to Settle
There’s tidy, and then there’s catalogue-tidy. Almost no one can claim the level of organization depicted in home magazines; by their nature, real homes look lived-in, which means drawers, cabinets, and closets are always slightly in disarray. The rooms you drool over are staged by set dressers and professional organizers, and only if you devote 100 percent of your time to maintaining a clutter-free home will you attain that degree of perfection in your space.
You should learn to recognize when enough is enough. You can use images of beautifully organized homes to guide your endeavors, but you should realize that life will rule in your home, and short of hiring full-time cleaning and organizing staff, you will not recreate a catalogue-clean space. Instead of setting your goal as utter perfection, you should learn to settle for a neat and orderly home where you and your loved ones feel comfortable.