Clearing clutter might seem like an overwhelming thing. Or even impossible sometimes. But the basic resources and simple steps for clearing clutter remain the same.
I am a liiiiittle different than most if something is left out of place I get a twitch. It drives me crazy, and if I am stressed I straighten up the house.
Now it might feel like a waste of time to listen to someone who loves clearing clutter. But I promise you it is not as hard as it seems at the moment.
Take it slow and make it simple. Small surface by small surface and drawer by drawer.
Pull out and get rid of what doesn’t need to be there and find a home for everything that does.
That’s it. That’s truly all it takes to get rid of the chaos and have a clean house or operational space. You can even take these tips outside to the barnyard and clear the clutter with your outside projects.
Using just a few tips and tools can help you gain control of the clutter that seems to swallow your life whole.
Whether it’s at home, on the job, or in your mind, clutter is not a small obstacle.
The barrage of smartphone alerts and ever-present media can leave you on-edge and out-of-sorts.
Your immediate surroundings also play a big role in how you feel at any one moment. When all you see is mess and disorganization, it’s bound to affect you in a negative way.
In addition to showing you the ways in which your life can be affected by clutter, I will give you the essential steps to clearing clutter and kicking chaos to the curb.
You’ll discover tools for taking control of your life’s disarray, no matter what the source.
While life can seem like a free-for-all sometimes, it truly doesn’t have to.
- There’s Physical Cutter & Mental Clutter
- The Physical And Mental Effects of Clutter
- Clutter Causes Overwhelm & Stress
- Clutter and Stress Are Tied Together
- Benefits of Clearing Clutter And Keeping Control
- How to Get Started Clearing Clutter
- Tips To Clearing Clutter
- What Order To Start Clearing Clutter
- Tools To Help With Clearing Clutter
- Easy Ways To Get Rid Of Your Clutter (Some Will Make You Money)
- Clearing Clutter FAQs
There’s Physical Cutter & Mental Clutter
Clutter can show up in many forms. But there are two main types. These are physical and mental.
Each has a heavy impact on your stress levels. They both are likely to play a role in keeping you from creating calm in your life.
I think it’s key that you know the difference between both and how they can negatively affect you. First, let’s talk about the physical clutter. It is the most obvious and easy to recognize.
The Physical Clutter
Physical clutter is easy to understand the first we are willing to admit it exists. This is the kind of mess you can see.
It’s the piles of clothing, papers, dishes, messy pile of animal supplies, and more that are strewn around your home or barnyard.
It’s the overabundance of things you’ve been holding onto for years because they’re sentimental or you “might use someday”. Physical clutter can even be the many tabs you keep open in your computer browser, the apps on your phone, the thousands of pictures and videos of chickens and rabbits on your phone, or the social media you consume each day.
These things can be SEEN. They consume large amounts of your resources such as time, space, and money. But all is not lost. It’s not as hard to fix as it sounds IF you want to. That’s the key.
You have to WANT the problem to get better.
Mental clutter isn’t as simple to define. It involves the overload of information, along with nagging emotional issues, this is what defines itself as overwhelm your mind.
This type of internal congestion can consist of things such as your never-ending to-do list, negative internal dialogue, relationship demands, old grudges, emotional baggage, or habits that don’t serve you.
The source of such mess usually lies in emotions like fear, regret, worry, guilt, or shame. If you take the time to identify the types of issues that are cluttering your brain you can start to purge your life of them.
The Physical And Mental Effects of Clutter
Ridding yourself of clutter, both physical and mental, can truly increase your feelings of happiness and calm. It can lead to less stress and overall greater well-being.
The negative effects of too much clutter are astounding. Decreased mental health is one of the biggest issues to come of surrounding yourself with all sorts of clutter. Studies show that mental hygiene is improved when clutter is kept under control, both in the home and in the workplace.
Too much physical clutter impairs visual processing. It can be incredibly distracting to see lots of piles and messes in your surroundings, leading you to miss cues regarding people’s emotions and other important information.
Your cognition and clarity of mind are adversely affected by excess mental clutter. You simply can’t think straight when you’ve got a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions swirling around in your head.
This is merely an overview of the ramifications that come from physical and mental clutter.
It is so important to clean things up in both your physical world and in your mind. Doing so can lead to huge benefits in your personal life.
So many people don’t see it but one of the biggest causes of stress in our lives is actually clutter. It can seem like we have too much going on or things to do but a lot has to do with The stuff sitting everywhere is causing your brain to work overtime to process what is in front of you to decide what is important and what is not.
Inside the house or out in the yard with the animals seeing piles of clothes, unopened junk mail, loads of laundry, a messy desk, loose feed bags, and disorder really causes most people to feel anxious and overwhelmed, sometimes even depressed.
It’s hard to achieve a sense of calm when there’s chaos all around in your daily life that attacks your mind. That’s why it’s important to clear the clutter in your life. Taking steps to get control of the disorder is the start of creating calm. Read on, and I’ll tell you more about that.
Clutter and Stress Are Tied Together
Each person’s definition of clutter is different. We all have our comfort level when it comes to the amount of stuff we want to have around us and to enter our lives.
Buuut when you begin to have a negative reaction to all of this input that it becomes a problem. Your shoulders start to rise and your brain feels like it is smoking to keep up with everything.
Usually, this breaking point happens because your life is affected due to the amount of disarray you’re facing. Whether you’re feeling closed in and agitated or you’re physically constrained by the mess, you have a problem that needs to be worked on.
Benefits of Clearing Clutter And Keeping Control
There are loads of good things that come from clearing clutter in your world. You’ll likely feel an increased sense of energy because you’ll spend less time looking for things you’ve misplaced and will no longer feel as overwhelmed emotionally by your stuff.
This can lead to greater productivity and getting more done. It’s even been shown that folks begin to make improvements in other areas of their lives such as diet and exercise once the “weight” of excess clutter is lifted.
Taking action in this one aspect of your life can have a tremendous impact on other areas. Finally, you’ll be much closer to achieving the calm you seek once you start to pare things down.
How to Get Started Clearing Clutter
I’m not going to lie getting started is the hardest part. But the key to ridding your life of clutter is getting started. This is especially true if you’ve lived in chaos for a long time. The good news is that this problem is relatively easy to tackle once you overcome your initial hesitation.
There are two places to get started. But you have to know your own mental state and what you can handle right now.
One is starting with the one that is causing you the most stress. For example, if coming home to your messy living room makes the idea of relaxing impossible; begin to clear things out in that room. Having a place to unwind at the end of the day might just be the catalyst you need to motivate you toward clearing out other cluttered places.
OR starting with the smallest area you can find. Even if it is the small end table in the living room starting small and seeing how good one area looks because you cleared the clutter will help you feel motivated to move on to the next space.
Depending on your personality it may or may not be a good idea to enlist the help of others. The more hands you have moving things around the more likely things are to just be stuffed in a draw because they don’t know what to do with the item. Ideally giving each person a job that they can focus on would help you out the most.
If you are not good at organizing you could also consider hiring a professional organizer if it is just not your specialty.
Finally, get rid of anything you honestly don’t use. My personal rule is if I haven’t touched it in 6 months to a year it’s time to go. The less you have to dig through to find something the more you use and appreciate your stuff.
When you cut down on the amount of stuff and put things in their place, you’ll find life becomes a whole lot less hectic.
These are just a handful of suggestions for minimizing the clutter. Now that you understand the impact clutter can have on your stress levels, you can start to make some changes of your own.
Sentimental items: This is one of the hardest things to deal with because some people can have a lot of stuff that seems “sentimental” and when being honest they just don’t want to get rid of something because they like to have lots of stuff.
Something I did that helped me was having a box or tub that I could keep the items in that meant something to me. But that tub was all the space I had. So if it was getting full and I wanted to keep something that didn’t fit… well it was time to find something to take out to make room.
Sometimes things that mean something to us in one part of our life don’t mean anything anymore. Relationships change for the good or bad. Sometimes people just move on. Or we completely forget what that one thing was that meant anything to us.
You know what?
Simple Steps: This is so important to build momentum in your decluttering session. There are so many “systems” that clame to solve all your decluttering problems. But they have ten different steps and you can’t remember them all.
Keep it simple and implement ONE or TWO things at a time. Don’t expect to overhaul your whole house and think you will be able to stick to it all. You just won’t.
Start With Visual Clutter: Getting the things you SEE out of the way first will help you understand the value of clearing clutter and help you keep moving towards a cleaner life. Who knows you might get so into it your end up doing the entire house.
Make Clearing Clutter A Routine: Whether that means scheduling it out every quarter or learning to be mentally aware of the clutter. Removing things regularly needs to be a habit.
Be Honest With Yourself: Answering the question “do I REALLY need this” and being honest about it will be a huge help in keeping clutter down. When we think we “need” something it adds up to piles and un-necessary junk sitting on your sofa table collecting dust for your kids to write in.
Don’t By What You Don’t Have A Spot For : Sure you may love a wall painting or cute piece of decor. But if you don’t have a spot in mind for the painting, it will just sit and collect dust. This also applies to organizers, baskets, containers, and anything that seems like you will use sometime. Rarely will something fit in a spot if you didn’t intentionally buy a tool for it.
Buy for Your Needs: If you’re buying housewares, buy them just for the people you serve not for perpetually throwing fancy dinner parties. You can easily cut out a lot of clutter when you begin to shop for your actual needs. If you do regularly serve dinner for 20 or party like it’s your job, you can still maintain a clutter-free or even minimalist home, as long as you’re very clear in your mind about what’s needed and what’s just for show or “just in case.”
Learn to Love Smaller Keepsakes: A clutter-free home does not mean a home devoid of decorations or comfort. The way to keep and continue to add items you love is to go for what’s either small (such as a souvenir ornament, not a souvenir armoire) or useful (such as a cuddly blanket, not a collection of cuddly decorative stuffed animals). Thinking small and mindfully will help.
Sentimental clutter is something that is hard to work through but it will help you still enjoy the things you do keep to remind you of memories.
Throw Out The Junk Mail: When it comes to incoming mail I will stop at the outdoor trash can (you know, the one that goes out to the street) and throw out anything that is trash. We get far more junk mail in the summer months. But if you pause and throw out anything like advertisements or “vote for me’s” before they even end up in your house you will be amazed at the lack of loose paper around your countertops.
Keep Supplies In A Contained Space: With things like cleaning supplies or bathroom beauty products put everything in the basket or some form of container. This way you give yourself a limit. If you can’t fit it in your basket at home you can’t buy it until something runs out. This keeps you from buying 20 different cleaning supplies and some going to waste.
Pro Tip: Put the most used in the front and least used in the back. This way you can quickly get the things you need easily. This goes for the cleaning supplies or your clothes closet.
Keep Decor Simple: Less is more when it comes to decorating your house. If you have too much going on it will confuse the mind visually and you will not enjoy the decorations.
One Boot & Jacket Rule: The entryway is the first thing you see AND the place people dump their load. Boots can become a tripping hazard and the coat rack can become a life sentence looking for the coat you need. Having one pair of boots and or coat rule at that door will SAVE YOUR LIFE!
What Order To Start Clearing Clutter
Does the order you start clearing clutter REALLY matter? Not really if we are being honest. All that matters is you get started clearing clutter out of your life. BUT I did go through a put the most common areas people have and the in order of what would help you the most. These spaces would really help you feel good about your life if the space was organized and free of clutter.
- Living room table tops.
- Livingroom open shelves.
- Kitchen Table
- Kitchen Counters
- Kitchen Cabinet
- Bedroom Closets
- Livestock feeding station – Keeping a spot for everything will make your life so much easier.
- Medicine Cabinet
- Clothing Items
- Linen Closets or bathroom storage supplies.
- Animal Care supplies
- Junk Drawer – The reason being is that you can’t see the inside of the drawer and oftentimes these have A LOT of things to work through and are not easy. So don’t start with something that is difficult.
- Desk Drawer – Some who desk clutter seems expected to most people. Don’t start here. This will not get your momentum rolling.
Spaces you only get into every few months.
Tools To Help With Clearing Clutter
Here are some of my favorite tools and supplies to help you start clearing clutter and organizing your home.
- Drawer dividers or small baskets
- Cardboard boxes – If you don’t have any lying aroudn the house I LOVE THESE BOXES They have handles and a breaking point of 65 lbs.
- Label Makers – Using a label maker is ok but the one issue I have with labeling everything is that the label itself causes visual clutter. Use labels strategically and only when necessary.
- Storage bins.
- Timer – Setting the clock for a certain period of time while you clear out a drawer or shelf will help you keep moving and not spend time piddling with stuff. – This is a great one becuase you can set it down to the second.
Easy Ways To Get Rid Of Your Clutter (Some Will Make You Money)
So we all know the basic “have a garage sale” method of getting rid of clutter. But depending on where you live that may not be an option. Some if you are like me and live in a space where people are not likely to stop it’s hard to make it worth your time.
One key thing to think about before you decide which method to use if you want to sell some of your items. Think about where do people go to look for that particular type of item. This will help your product sell faster.
Some of my favorite ways to get rid of your stuff is this.
Sell the quality stuff on Mercari. – It is an app that is basically a yard sale app on your phone. You can list things for sale and it is REALLY easy to use. Things like household decor and clothes sell best on this app.
Ebay – This is best for higher-priced products like electronics.
Poshmark is ok but they take a very larger percentage of your items.
DONATE!!! – While this doesn’t get you money it does get the stuff out of your house fast. Sometimes that is more important for your sanity. I like to give things to Good Will because the process is easy. I drive up outside the door and they even give you this little ticket thing to calculate tax deductions.
Clearing Clutter FAQs
How do you get rid of clutter when overwhelmed?
Start slow and with a VERY small space. Don’t look at the huge mess in the living room. Look at the end table and clear it off. Putting away EVERYTHING that was on it.
What is the fastest way to pick up clutter?
This is my own personal strategy. So many people will come in a room and grab everything that doesn’t belong. Then what? Their brain is so confused they don’t know which direction to go. You spend 30 seconds trying to figure out which direction to go then you look down into your hands to find you forgot to put one thing in the room. So you have to go back.
Instead, take a step back into the corner and look at the overall mess seeing which room has a lot of things in here. For example: Do you see 5 things that could go to the kitchen? Grab those five things and take them to the kitchen. Then come back and repeat the process. Once you get good at it you can take more than one room out at a time. But not until you get good at one room first.
Clearing clutter is not easy but it will have a huge impact on your life. It will help with your mental clarity and to be quite honest, when you have less stuff in your life you stop wanting more stuff. It also becomes a lot easier to talk yourself out of something that you don’t truly need.