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Stressed Over Clutter?

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Stressed Over Clutter?
Courtesy of John Watkins; Nashville Home Inspection
February 2015 Home Tip of the Month eblast

FebClutterPost-2Why is it so hard to get organized at home? Often it’s easier to sneak quietly out of the room and live to clean another day. But organization definitely does have value. Employing it can provide the ability to find everyday items quickly.

A 2014 survey of one thousand people reported that eighty-four percent of stressed Americans say they worry their home isn’t clean or organized enough. Men and women reported experiencing anxiety over home upkeep, with clutter being named as the main source of stress.

There are many ways to explain why homes are cluttered and lacking organization, but some professional organizers simply note that it is not – but should be – a skill that is taught in school. Knowing how to organize and declutter can make the task less daunting. And setting aside the time to organize makes it more likely that it will actually get done.

FebClutterPost-1The first step is identifying an area that needs to be organized. In most homes, there are multiple areas that can use attention, but it can be overwhelming to try and organize the whole house in a single day. Starting small – and organizing a closet or a couple of drawers – is manageable and will engender a feeling of accomplishment when it is completed.

According to organizational experts, a homeowner should plan on emptying the area completely, whether it is a drawer, closet, cupboard or an entire room being cleaned. Each item should be placed in another area – on the floor, a table or even on top of an old sheet. This removal will allow each item to be evaluated quickly and objectively.

When attempting to sort through the clutter, possessions can be relegated to separate piles. Examples: items that are used (and needed) regularly; items that are cherished; items that can be recycled and items that can be thrown away. As things are placed in the appropriate pile, it will be easier to judge how much storage will be necessary for the remaining items. And while everything is cleaned out, it can be a good time to clean, vacuum, reline a drawer or paint the inside of a closet.

Once the categorization is complete, the tools, utensils, books, furnishings and other items that were removed can be returned, stacked, filed, folded and contained appropriately. To be most efficient, items should be replaced where they are used the most.

Things that are rarely used can be placed at the bottom of a storage container, drawer or cabinet. Where it makes sense, folders or other collections of items can be labeled so it is quick and easy to find papers, documents, tools and parts.

The good news is that after categorizing and downsizing a drawer or cabinet, there may be room left. The bad news is that our impulse is to fill it back up.

But there are good reasons to resist the impulse. A lack of clutter will create a calming environment suitable for relaxation, and lowering overall stress levels. Over time, creating small daily routines of picking up, sorting and replacing will result in a home that is more organized and easy to enjoy.

Source: February 2015 Home Tip of the Month; John Watkins, Nashville Home Inspection

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