We Could All Use a Lot Less Clutter

— Written By Christine Smith and last updated by Kim Davis

Did you know that clutter has a profound impact on your emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual well-being? It’s true. A healthy home has healthy energy and healthy energy is moving energy.

If you have clutter, the energy in your home is stagnant. And if you live in that stagnant energy, then the energy in your body will become sluggish as well. Clutter is evidence of many things: poor habits, lack of organization, sentimental attachment, and too much stuff.

When you clean and de-clutter you make room for new and refreshing energy. You’ll have space for new experiences, happy emotions, enhanced creativity, and positive thoughts.

Here is the big question, how do we begin to clear the clutter? Do you justify your decision to hold on to “stuff” like me by saying “I can’t dispose of that because it holds so many memories?”  In order to break free, know that it is ok to get rid of things you don’t WANT or NEED.

Organizehome.com recommends a method you may want to try to help you control clutter. The Four-Box Method forces you to make a decision on every item in question. Here is how it works. Gather three boxes and a large trash can. Label the boxes: “Put Away”, “Give Away/Sell” and “Storage. The trash can is for all items you decide to throw away. Separate  all the items that clutter your living space and place it in the appropriate container. At the end of the de-cluttering session, reserve 10 to 15 minutes to empty the boxes.

The closet and the kitchen are two areas in the house that often harbor clutter. Let’s take a look at how you can begin to de-clutter these areas.

The Overstuffed Closet:  Your closet is where you start each day. It’s where you get your first sense of who you are representing.

Most closets have about 10-20% of clothes and accessories that you actually wear, and the rest sits in there gathering dust and taking up space. We keep the clothes that are too small in the hope that we will lose weight and be able to wear them again. We keep clothes that are too big just in case we gain weight. We keep the outdated styles because we know that fashion styles repeat themselves. And, let’s not forget about all those shoes. Some of them have never been worn and others are too small or uncomfortable. Donate these items to make room for the clothes and shoes that fit.

Are you holding on to those special outfits for an occasion such as a wedding or night out on the town? The rule is if you have not worn it in a year donate it. And if you are saving your wedding dress for your daughter to wear one day, be honest, if it has puffy sleeves and lace from the 1970’s you may want to give it to a thrift store or donate it to DonateMyDress.org.

The Kitchen:   Are your kitchen counters cluttered with appliances, cookie jars, microwave, etc.? How can you prepare food if you have no space? Start by weeding out everything that is not being used, group similar items together and find a home for everything. If you have an appliance that is broken; throw it away. Take an inventory, donate or trash broken or duplicate items.

Is the cabinet that stores your plastic containers a safety hazard to open? Go through the pile if it is stained, has no lid or has seen better days; put it in the recycle bin.

Making your home less cluttered may help eliminate some stress in your life.

Thoughts to ponder:

“Bottom line is, if you do not use it or need it, it’s clutter, and it needs to go”. – Charisse Ward

Christine Smith is an Extension Agent in the department of Family & Consumer Sciences with N.C. Cooperative Extension, NCSU, Wayne County. Information on other services available can be found online at http://wayne.ces.ncsu.edu/ or call me at 731-1525 for additional information.