Tackling Clutter Without Taking Tons of Time

Clutter is so demoralizing, isn’t it? I am *constantly* fighting the battle of clutter, and as a nostalgic person {i.e., recovering pack-rat} living with a sentimental {pack-rat} daughter and a {self-described} uber minimalist husband, I am always looking for ways to simplify the process and make it as easy as possible to put some practical ideas in place to form habits that will help me get {and stay} ahead of the paper trail… and toy trail, dirty dish trail, etc.. :) Otherwise, I find clutter can mentally distract me from serving my family as well as I should, and unchecked, it has at times even become a temporary discouragement from inviting others into our home.

Spring cleaning is a nice goal, but for me, I can’t even think about digging down to the deeper level of cleaning when I’m distracted by mountains of laundry needing to be washed (or folded), stacks of junk mail and magazines or other visual clutter. So this week on the blog, I’m sharing some of my favorite clutter-control tips {mostly learned from wise ladies in my life!} Are you with me in the war against clutter? Let’s make a plan together and get a head start on that pesky visual clutter! {Or, if you’ve won a permanent victory — which I doubt any of us really have, as long as there is junk mail on the earth — do share your insights with the rest of us!} :)

First things first… prioritize! Grab a notebook and make a list of chores that need to be done and number them in order of importance. I find a written plan always helps increase my productivity.  As you number them in order of highest priority, take into account which takes the largest chunk of time and plan it into your schedule accordingly.

One of my favorite tips, (depending on how you look at it… haha!), learned from a friend, is:

Do what you dread the most first!

The less enjoyable something is, the easier it is to procrastinate and find other, more enjoyable little tasks to fill up the time and before I know it, I’m drained of time and energy and I still haven’t accomplished that task that I dreaded most…. And it’s waiting to haunt me again the next day, which zaps me of more energy just thinking about it. When I quit putting it off, grab it head-on, get it done and behind me, I’m always surprised at how energizes me to then see what else I can quickly cross off my list! {Oh, and I’m also astonished that it never takes me as much time to do the dreaded task as I expect it to when I’m busy justifying my procrastination!}

I am dreading catching up on laundry (I was already behind and then my dryer was out of commission for a few days!… though my husband surprised me by doing a couple of loads yesterday while I was running errands… thanks honey!). What are you dreading today? Are you going to go tackle it now? Leave a comment and we can encourage each other with our progress! :)

Check out Part 2 in the series too!

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6 thoughts on “Tackling Clutter Without Taking Tons of Time

  1. I have always had trouble with being a pack-rat. One thing that has helped my family is to take a picture of whatever it is that you don’t want to throw away and than throw it away. I have done this with all kinds of thing from out of date clothing to birthday balloons and crafts. Pictures take up much less room on a CD or on the computer and then you can still look at them if you want to. Now there are somethings that we do keep because they are extra special like Mother’s Day cards my kids made or that school project or extra special dish that was your great grandmothers. Also, for all those paper that my kids color and bring home form school that they just can’t throw away, I have finally found what works for us. Each child had a line on the wall in the hall where they can hang pictures on. I have giving them 8 clothes pins and when their line is full they have to throw something away to but up something else. Anyway there are just a few ideas that i have found helps me as i have had trouble with clutter my whole life.

    • I love those ideas, Alice Rose! I have used but had forgotten the one about taking a picture of sentimental things that are unjustifiably taking up space. :) I had a favorite measuring cup that used to be my mom’s that I remember her using so many times when I was a tiny child sitting on the counter “cooking” with her. I rescued it from her kitchen when she was about to throw it away because it had a small crack in it and then I used it a few years in my kitchen till the crack was, well, bigger than the cup itself :) at which point I took a picture of Lauren with it and then tossed it. (Lauren cried… see, I told you we’re sentimental!) :) And I still smile when I see the picture of it… but it’s no longer cluttering my utensil drawer. I like the line & clothespin idea too — cute and clever! Thanks for sharing!

      • I too am very sentimental. I have a decorative wooden box filled with a few things that was my dad’s including the brand of deodorant that he used ( so we can remember what he smelled like). I know it sounds crazy but I have only looked in the box 3 maybe 4 times total in the last 10 years but I just can’t throw it away. So for something you just need to save put them in a decorative box or basket. So at least it looks nice.

  2. Well this isn’t really clutter, but a nasty, dreaded chore that I’ve been procrastinating –scrubbing out the inside of the kitchen trash cans!:(
    Thanks for the inspiration to just get it done first. It didn’t take long, and it’s such a good feeling to have it done!:)

    • The tip works just the same, clutter or not… and it does feel so good, doesn’t it?! Congrats on getting that nasty job done. :) Thanks for commenting!

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