Declutter to Destress

Household clutter is typical for many of us who want to avoid facing the daunting task of sorting through our belongings to decide what goes and what stays. Instead, we keep adding to the stockpile hoping that one day we will decide what to retain and part with. Unfortunately, the longer we wait, the larger the collection grows and the harder it is to manage our living space. The more accumulation there is, the greater the amount of dirt, dust, mold, and other contaminants you will have to tackle to avoid a health issue. The new year is the best time to start fresh by surveying your inventory and getting cracking on paring down your possessions for a cleaner, healthier, and more orderly home. Need help figuring out where to start? You are in good company! Here are some tips and suggestions for building a more livable and organized space.

Make a list and completion plan—Check all rooms and list all areas to be de-cluttered from easiest to hardest. Start with a small closet or drawer and progress to a larger space like your attic or basement. Decide how much time you want to devote to each location or task before starting. Make sure you give yourself adequate time to complete it.

Organize everyday items—Keep items you use daily such as linen, small appliances, utensils, and tools, in an area most appropriate to you that you can easily access (i.e., machinery in the garage, linens on a shelf in the bathroom) Once used, be consistent with putting these items away in the same place so that you know where to find them the next time.

Kitchen and pantry—A substantial portion of our time is spent shopping, preparing, and cooking meals. A great deal of time is spent in the kitchen, so it behooves us to have a clean and organized area to store and retrieve both perishable and non-perishable items. Start by removing items and wiping down shelving in cabinets and storage closets. Replace with new lining as needed and reorganize with attention to saving space and easier reach. Seal foods in airtight containers to preserve freshness. Empty contents from your refrigerator and wash detachable parts and drawers with warm water and mild dish detergent.

Tackle the junk drawer—The drawer where you put almost everything tends to get overstuffed. Reorganize it for easy and safe access. Sort contents into separate boxes or bags and label them. Secure sharp items such as scissors, razor blades, and knives where the edges are not exposed. Discard or secure unnecessary small objects that could get loose and easily swallowed by small children and pets.
To keep or not to keep—Having trouble deciding what to do with an item? If a belonging hasn’t been used in quite a while and has no sentimental value, you should discard it. If you think it can be used by someone else or repurposed, consider either recycling, donating, or selling it.

Get help with heavy items—Larger old, unwanted, or damaged wares such as furniture, appliances, carpet, mattresses, or sporting gear can be collected by arranging pick up with a junk removal company. Many pickups can be scheduled by phone or online. Find a fast and affordable service or ask friends or family to help you transport unwanted items to the township dump. You can also donate clothing, shoes, and small appliances to charitable organizations like the Lupus Foundation.

With the New Year upon us, make a fresh start by decluttering your home of unnecessary baggage. You will free up space and create a cleaner, healthier environment. It will also boost your morale that you are contributing to a cleaner planet and giving to those in need.