Taming the Clutter Creature


I’m a minimalist, not in the things I do, but in the things that I have. At least I try to be. So why is it that it takes me ages to put everything away when I get home? It doesn’t matter if I’m getting home from work or from a day out doing something else. I have a full scale clutter party in my house once I return home, and that seems to be life.

Unfortunately, I am also a clutter-o-phobe. While I can live happily with a dirty sink in my bathroom, visual clutter makes me want to scream. Fortunately, this only extends to my house, not to anyone else’s. I really don’t care if my friends’ houses are clutter free or not. In fact, I think that I prefer them messy. It’s much more realistic!

Being a clutter-phobic sort with a busy life, a job, and a child (and 3 cats!), what do I do to reduce the clutter?

I have a time to clean. This prevents cleaning from becoming my entire day. When I come home, I sort clutter while I make the dinner. This is the time that works for me. Other times might work for you.

I also clean all of the time. By this, I mean that I put things where they belong. This reduces my clutter-clearing later in the evening.

Everything has its place, yes. But more than that, I try to put things into their places more frequently than not. It’s easy for kid clutter to drift across the floor, so we have a rule that large play structures and Playmobil set ups can stay up for a few days. Then they must go back to the place where they live, and new structures in new places take their place. This maintains some family peace.

I have holding areas for things that I need to sort or move to another place. Objects that need to go upstairs go in a corner near the stairs. Objects that need to go downstairs go in a corner near the top of the stairs. And so on. This means that I don’t spend my day walking up and down with a single object in my hand. I take the whole pile up or down, and I put it away.

I have bags for outgoing clutter. Oh yes, do I ever. Clutter seems to breed at my place – I don’t know about yours? Outgrown clothes, old bikes, kitchen items we inherited that don’t quite fit. Yes, they go into the bags to visit someone else’s home, and that feels good.

I try to minimize stuff whenever possible. We don’t tend to do birthday gifts. We don’t buy a lot of new items for the home. While it’s probably true that we tend to value time and experience over things, the truth is that we just don’t like things all that much, so we try not to bring them into the house.

What do you do to tame the clutter creature at your house?

Image Credit: Sraburton