I hate clutter. I also know that clutter is always around the corner. Forget about it for one second and it invades your home. Once it creeps in, the cycle of clutter doom starts.
Unfortunately, it's my opinion that we let clutter in the door somehow. The good news is that clutter can be uncluttered with a few steps. Before all else, you have to recognize clutter.
Well, clutter, consider yourself recognized!
Here are a few areas where clutter has invaded our home, and what we plan to do about it:
- Paint cans – I'm in the middle of repainting a few rooms upstairs, all necessary with finally getting our youngest from her crib to a bed. As I've gone through all of our paint supplies, I realize that I have no less than 20 paint cans. We'll be adding a few more with the various colors we're painting, and honestly I don't have room anymore without making some changes. The plan: Four times per year, the county will collect hazardous materials, including paint. They charge $10 for the processing and such, but this will be well worth it. I will go through our paint cans, and get rid of those which have gone bad or which I know we will never use again. I expect we'll be down at least half, which will free up a shelf or two.
- Closets – As we've started shifting things around, some room clearing has been accomplished by stashing things in closets. What I've realized as I cram lamps and such in the closets is that we have stuff there that probably isn't needed to begin
with. One closet has a bunch of old luggage that I need to get rid of, as well as a lot of gift bags that we've kept for potential re-use but that have grown way beyond what we'll ever need. The plan: As we complete rooms and complete the moving around, we'll have to make sure that all items in the closet are things we want to keep, otherwise it will need to be donated or disposed of.
- Boxes – Similar to our gift bag stash, in the basement I keep various boxes that we can use when wrapping presents. These have been great over the years, but even during Christmas, we've probably never used 10% of what we have. There's a certain advantage to having a box of any shape or size, but that can be outweighed by realizing that you're losing lots of valuable space in the process. The plan: Cut the number of boxes we keep by at least 33-50%, freeing up a couple of shelves.
- So-called moneymakers – I have a couple of faucets that I bought at Home Depot for around $1 each. Their original price was probably $75 for each of these, but they threw them on some discount shelf, and I pounced. They're not ugly, or broken, they were just changing styles. While I have no need for them in my house, I figured I could probably get $10 or $20 for them somewhere. But I haven't. The plan: I'll need to either try to sell them and collect my massive windfalls or donate them, and realize what Home Depot did, that sometimes it's just not worth it.
- Bike – My wife got a new bike last year. The problem is that her old bike is still hanging from our garage ceiling. Her old bike still works, but it was old, bulky, and for the riding we like to do when we take our bikes on camping trips, it no longer met her needs. The plan: Either sell it or give it away.
- Exercise bike – I have a working exercise bike in the basement. There are a couple of sensors that go haywire once in a while (resulting in the bike telling you that you stopped pedaling when you haven't, only to ‘resume' a couple of minutes later). I don't use it as I like to go to the gym, but the bike takes up space in my basement. The plan: Same plan as the bike, either sell it or give it away. This will involve hauling it upstairs, which is why it hasn't been done yet.
None of these things are huge, and we're nowhere near being considered for a casting call on Hoarders (is that show even still around), but it does show that a little bit of clutter here and a little bit there can lead to feeling like you are being surrounded by too much stuff.
I'm sure these aren't the only areas, but they're currently on my target list, and if I can address these, it might make the next round more identifiable.
What de-cluttering activities do you have in process or planned?