Read Simple: 30 Ways to Declutter Your Life Online

Authors: Beth Jones

Tags: #Crafts; Hobbies & Home, #Home Improvement & Design, #How-To & Home Improvements, #Cleaning; Caretaking & Relocating, #Self-Help, #Motivational

Simple: 30 Ways to Declutter Your Life (2 page)

BOOK: Simple: 30 Ways to Declutter Your Life
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Declutter Tip #2: Get rid of broken things.


This should be common sense, but unfortunately, it's not.


Similar to Declutter Tip #1, Tip #2 involves doing some getting rid of.


I found myself following this tip fairly recently. I had a small teacup and saucer that my mother bought me when I was quite small. I still remember the estate sale we were at, how the house smelled, and how many fun little items there were.


That's when I saw it: the teacup.


I had always wanted a teacup of my very own and my mother, ever the thoughtful one, bought it for me.


I cherished that teacup. When I went away to college, I brought it with me. When my husband's job took us overseas, I brought it. When we moved back to the mainland, I brought it.


Everything was fine until my son wanted to use the teacup to get a glass of water.


The teacup slipped from his hands before he knew what was happening and it shattered on the floor.


I was left with a dilemma: do I save the teacup and try to superglue it back together or do I say goodbye to the item?


For a week the teacup sat on my countertop as I contemplated my decision. I've never been very good at fixing things and the cup was so small that even if I managed to find all of the pieces - which I hadn't, mind you - the cup would never look the same.


In the end, I sorrowfully through the teacup in the garbage and said goodbye to a special memory.


You know what happened though?




I didn't forget about the teacup. I didn't forget my memory with my mother. I didn't even forget all the times I had played with the teacup during my own childhood.


All that happened was a broken item was no longer sitting on my countertop.


Getting rid of things that we want to keep, things that hold good memories, and things that are dear to our hearts can be tricky.


When something breaks, ask yourself, "Am I going to fix this?" Then ask yourself, "When?"


If you aren't going to fix something within a few months of it breaking, chances are that you don't need the item and will be fine living without it. Consider throwing it away or selling it on eBay for parts instead of keeping the item in your house.

Declutter Tip #3: Ask yourself, "Do I like this?"


The sweater sat in my closet for years.


I kept telling myself that I would wear it someday. I would, after all. You know, once I lost weight. I'd wear it once I had a formal event to go to. I'd wear it once the weather was colder.


After four years, I hadn't worn the sweater, but it was still in my closet.


So why did I keep it?


My grandmother gave it to me.


Despite the fact that the item didn't fit, was uncomfortable, and didn't go well with my skin tone, I held onto it because someone I loved gave me the item.


If you want to create a clutter-free home, you're going to have to do some soul-searching. Gifts can be one of the most difficult types of items to get rid of. This is because often we assume that a gift holds someone's love for us. If I keep this pocket watch, I'll remember how much my mother loves me. If I keep this blanket, I'll know that my husband adores me.


The truth is that a gift does not contain love.


People contain love.


If someone gave you something that you don't like, it's okay to get rid of it. It's okay to get rid of items that you don't use. It's okay to ditch things that you don't like.


If there's something in your living room that you've been hanging onto for years, whether it be a painting or a clock, ask yourself why you've kept it. Do you have special memories surrounding the item?


Do you love the person who gave it to you? Do you feel like you'll use it someday when you live in a different house?


Ask yourself why you keep it. If you don't have a use for the item and you don't
the item, it's time to say goodbye.

Declutter Tip #4: Create a plan for shoes.


Perhaps the biggest challenge when it comes to living rooms is shoes.


In many households, the first thing anyone does when they walk through the front door is kick off their shoes. Unless you have a specific plan for how you'll deal with shoes, you're going to end up with an impassable entryway full of boots, heels, and sandals.


While many houses do have front closets, not all of them do. Even if you have a closet, you'll need to figure out how you're going to handle the shoe issue in your home, especially if you have guests over.


There are a few basic options when it comes to dealing with shoes:


Ask your guests to leave their shoes on.
Some guests like to leave their shoes on. Others prefer to kick them off. If you don't know what to do with a pile of shoes by your front door and you feel like you have no other option, you can ask your guests to leave their shoes on when they come into the house. Make sure that you have a small rug or carpet by the front door so that your visitors can wipe their feet before they come inside. Also keep in mind that if you allow your guests to leave their shoes on, you'll have to do more cleaning. Pollen, allergens, pet hair, and dirt can all be easily dragged inside on a pair of shoes.


Place a shoe basket by the front door.
One of the simplest, cheapest ways to keep shoes out of the walkway is to place a decorative basket by the door. You could get a nice basket at Target or Wal-Mart for less than $20 that matches your living room decor. Ross is also a great place to get low-cost baskets. You could even check thrift shops if you want to find something for $5 or less. If you don't want a basket and prefer a small bucket, you can check out The Dollar Tree for brightly-colored options. The only problem with this solution is that your basket could fill up quickly. If you have a lot of family members, you'll need to ask them to place extra pairs of shoes in their bedroom closets to free up basket space.


Place a bookshelf in the entryway or front closet for shoes.
If you have a large entryway, you could place a bookshelf in the area. This offers a great way for guests to neatly store their shoes during their visit. A bookshelf ensures that each pair of shoes will be easily accessible. Perhaps the most appealing aspect of this is that you won't have a huge pile of shoes next to your front door. Everything will be in its place.


Assign each family member a small shoe basket.
If you opt for the bookshelf option, you may find that family members tend to take off their shoes, put them on the bookshelf, wear a different pair of shoes, place those on the bookshelf, and so on. Consider placing a few small baskets on the bookshelf if this becomes a problem. You could let each family member have their own basket. Make sure that you label your baskets, especially if you have younger kids.


Ask family members to put their shoes upstairs.
If your biggest shoe problem is that family members never put their shoes away, consider asking each person who lives in your house to make an effort to put their shoes in their personal closets. If you live in an apartment or a home that really doesn't have an area for shoe storage, simply asking people to put their shoes in their bedrooms can work. Rather than stressing out over trying to store shoes in a tiny entryway, just put the shoes somewhere else.


While you'll have to beat the habit of kicking shoes off as soon as you walk through the front door, it can be done. Most importantly, you'll have a clean, neat entryway without tripping hazards.


Hang a plastic shoe organizer over the door.

If you absolutely do not have the space for
in your entryway and your family members can't be bothered to put their shoes upstairs, head to The Dollar Tree or Target and buy a shoe organizer. Hang it over the back of your front door. Use a permanent market to label slots on the shoe organizer for each family member. When someone gets home from work or school, they can take off their shoes and place them in the organizer.

Declutter Tip #5: Utilize your wall space instead of your table space.


Take a look around your living room. Is every flat surface covered with mail, keys, purses, and books? Do you feel overwhelmed as you look at your space, wondering how you'll ever be living in a clutter-free home?


It's time to start looking at your walls.


Walls are one of the most underutilized spaces in any home. While most homeowners are quick to invest in bookshelves, tables, baskets, bins, and other organizational furniture, many don't even consider placing items on the walls.


Instead of stressing out over your mail piling up on the counter, consider getting a small mail holder to hang on your wall. Place it by the front door so that you can put your letters and magazines in there when you walk inside. Instead of piling up on the table, your mail will remain in the same spot on the wall until you need it.


Similarly, consider hanging a bulletin board in your living room. You can paint it, decorate it, or leave it alone, but this is a fantastic way to leave notes for family members. You can also put grocery lists on your bulletin board, hang thank-you notes, or even put your keys on there.


Speaking of keys, if you're constantly losing your keys in your living room, you can place small key hooks by your front door to save you the trouble of losing your keys. You can buy a key organizer, but a simpler option is to head to the home improvement section of any store and buy
that stick to the walls.


For less than $10 and with no drilling required, you'll be able to quickly and easily organize your personal keys.

Chapter 3:
Your Bedroom



Ah, the bedroom: where romance occurs and where sleep offers you respite from your long day. That is, after you push all the laundry onto the floor. And, you know, after you remove the four extra blankets from the foot of your bed. And after you figure out where to put the books that you left on your pillow...


For many people, the bedroom is the heart of the home. Your bedroom should be a warm, comfortable place. Your bedroom is one part of your home that most people won't see unless they're invited, so we tend to be a little more comfortable with what we leave out in our rooms.


Unfortunately, the bedroom can also become one of the most disorganized rooms in a house.


If you have kids, chances are that you're more concerned with keeping their own bedrooms picked up than wrangling your bedroom into line. If you're married, maybe your partner's belongings tend to take up a lot of space in the room. If you live alone, maybe you just aren't that concerned with how your bedroom looks.


You should be.


Your bedroom is a quiet, intimate place that should bring you relaxation and comfort. While your living room is typically the place you entertain guests, your bedroom is all your own. Whether you like to sprawl out on your bed and listen to instrumental music or you prefer to sit in your corner chair and study, your bedroom ought to be one of the most clean and organized rooms in your house.


This usually isn't the case.


Today we're going to talk about how you can start conquering your bedroom, how you can transform your private living space into a comfortable room, and how you can begin to feel more relaxed by creating a simple and uncluttered room.

Declutter Tip #6: Hiding things beneath your bed doesn't make them disappear, so don't try.

We've all done it.


You know, hiding things under the bed.


Maybe your mom called to say that she was going to stop by or perhaps you just had an unexpected visit from a girlfriend. No matter what the case may be, shoving clothes, books, blankets, and even toys under our beds can be a huge temptation.


Once something goes under your bed, the chances of it escaping are slim. If you even remember to look beneath your bed, you're probably going to find a collection of dust bunnies and other items you forgot about years ago. Your best bet is to keep the area beneath your bed as free from clutter and personal belongings as possible.


The one thing that I
recommend is that you utilize your beneath-the-bed space for storing things you don't use very often but that you really can't get rid of. Things like winter coats, ski pants, and maternity clothes are all items you will probably need soon, things that can't be cheaply replaced, and items that you might not have room to otherwise store. If this is the case, pick up a few long, plastic boxes to keep them in. Label everything, then cover the boxes and place them beneath your bed.


Do not add anything else!


Just because you have a box of children's winter boots beneath your bed does not mean that you also have room for the socks you don't want to match.


Aside from long-term storage, the area beneath your bed should be clean and free from "stuff."




Because if something is beneath your bed for any length of time, you probably aren't using it and you probably don't need it.


If you absolutely cannot beat the temptation to stick stuff under your bed, consider opting for a platform bed or, if you really want to go simple, you can always place your mattress on the floor. This will give your room a more simple, quaint appearance.


This style of "look" isn't for everyone, so keep in mind that I'm not saying you should ditch your bed frame. I'm only suggesting it as an option if you cannot trust yourself to keep your bedroom clean and you want your room to look neater.

BOOK: Simple: 30 Ways to Declutter Your Life
8.92Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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