Conquer the Clutter: How Cutting Out Junk Can Improve Your Quality of Life

Many homes may appear clutter-free at first glance, but an opened closet keeps no secrets. Stacks of boxes and bags are shoved in place so that no item can be removed without triggering an avalanche.

This phenomenon intimidates many to the point of avoidance. It isn’t long before the stuff that belongs in an overstuffed closet begins to creep out into living space.

In the book Life at Home in the 21st Century, UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives of Families documented their study of the environments inside 32 Los Angeles family homes. What the researchers discovered was lots and lots of stuff. Moreover, by taking samples of saliva from participants, researchers found heightened levels of stress hormones present in mothers dealing with too much stuff.

Keep your closet well organized

Too much stuff is an American epidemic that shouldn’t be ignored.

Too much stuff is an American epidemic that shouldn’t be ignored.

Military families are no strangers to dealing with stuff. Base housing and rental property can often be cramped and provide limited space and storage.  Additionally, excessive belongings can turn a PCS move into a nightmare.

Conquer the Clutter

Getting a handle on clutter can bring new meaning to a closet or room. It can also serve as a much needed stress relief. Opening a newly organized closet can be very therapeutic.

Tackle the clutter that lurks about your home by following these principles.

Use It or Lose It: Items that are meant to be used or worn at least once or twice a year, but haven’t seen the light of day in at least two years should be donated or thrown away.

Face the facts:

  • Clothes that you hope to fit into again might be out of style by the time you reach your weight loss goal.
  • You are not going to wear shoes and clothes that aren’t comfortable, no matter how much you paid for them.
  • Unused sports equipment is sad sight, but generally has a decent resale value or would be a welcomed donation to many youth organizations.
  • You seldom need two of one thing. Drop Duplicates.

Break the Bad Gift Curse: Everyone has an unused item that was received as a gift, but don’t have the heart to get rid of; turning a bad gift into a curse. Break the curse by donating the item. Rid yourself of guilt by thinking about how that item is something someone else will be eager to receive.

Count the Costs of Square Footage: If the cost of square footage in your area is around 170 dollars per square foot, consider if the items you have are worth the space they occupy. This applies to items in and outside of closets. By selling dusty exercise equipment or oversized furniture you can pad your pocket and bring value back to a space.

Store Memories in Photos instead of Boxes: Some items hold a lot of memories, but are just not practical enough to keep; like the priceless artwork of your children. Keeping macaroni art throughout the years can be a pain. Consider taking photos of some of these masterpieces and preserve the memories in a photo album instead.

Just Say No: Be proactive by not bringing in excessive items to begin with. If you find you do need something, force yourself to get rid of another item. This can curb spending quickly, and it is also a healthy habit to teach children.

Focus on what you will Gain: Some items will be a real challenge to give up. Instead of focusing on what you are loosing, think about how much you will enjoy an organized, clutter free space.


Photo Courtesy rubbermaid