Grab the garbage and go!
Do you ever look around your house or apartment and ask yourself: “Where did all this stuff come from?”
Yes, stuff. From the knickknacks bulging out of your drawers to the junk crammed onto shelves, on the tops of dressers, or under couches and beds, so much of our life comes down to the stuff we accumulate. Sometimes, you might not even realize that most of your material possessions are just stuff and nothing more: the clothes we insist on keeping even though we never wear them, old mementos from concerts and events for that scrapbook that we plan on getting to (someday…), even photographs, books, playbills, and paperwork we’re too afraid to throw away because we know the second we do, we’ll need it. But as it turns out, at the end of the day, all of this stuff is really just junk. Does this sound like you?
If so, rest assured that you’re not alone. There are entire organizations and industries built on the very fact that people wind up surrounded by junk, unsure of how it all got there in the first place. In fact, some of these experts—real life professional organizers—gave their best tips of how to tackle this clutter without feeling overwhelmed, and if you focus on these common items, it’s way easier than it seems!
Have you ever heard of NAPO?
The National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals (NAPO) is a real organization with over 3,500 members, and according to their website, their aim is to help “people and organizations bring order and efficiency to their lives.” If you’ve ever become a victim of your own clutter, you know that there’s truth to the fact that our material possessions ultimately just weigh us down, especially once we begin to amass more than we can handle.
According to a survey NAPO carried out with Decluttr, a business dedicated to helping people get rid of unwanted possessions, some 54% of Americans were overwhelmed by their clutter, and 78% had no idea what to do with it all. Of course, ignoring this problem only leads to more clutter and therefore more stress and hopelessness!
Luckily for us, a group of professional organizers put together a list of the most common household items that end up as clutter. Even if you feel overwhelmed by the mess in your house, you can start with these easy targets!
Ready to get started?
Clothes You Don’t Wear
This sounds easy, but if you’ve ever tried to get rid of clothing, you know just how tricky this can be. “I’ll wear this again once I lose those 15 pounds!” “I’ll keep this with my winter clothes and wear it once the weather cools down!” “I used to love this shirt; I can’t just get rid of it!”
We’ve all heard these excuses, so here’s an easy tip of how to reduce your wardrobe and only keep the clothes that are actually getting worn: Keep track of what you do and don’t wear. If you don’t wear something for more than a year, donate it or toss it! It’s as simple as that. Our simple nostalgia or clothes that just don’t fit take up precious space.
From seemingly important financial or insurance paperwork to old work, school, or legal documents, paper can singlehandedly take over your household without you even realizing it. But how often do you really go back and look at the paperwork you’ve filed away?
Most of this paper—even the stuff that was important at the time—is likely outdated or irrelevant now. New job or insurance provider? Toss the old paper if it’s been more than a year since you needed that pay stub, or if it’s been more than seven years since you submitted that tax form.
This may take a while to organize, but go through all of the paperwork around your house and if anything is too old to be relevant, shred it. Be careful not to throw anything containing sensitive information away without destroying it properly!