Clutter accumulates in our lives very easily, and in many cases, we don’t even see it happening. With time, you may find it challenging to clear or reduce clutter. In today’s post, I’ll look at some easy strategies you can implement to de-clutter your home.

This post is the first in a series of 4 posts on self-care and self-love as we work through the 28 Days of Loving Yourself Challenge.

To give a little background, February is a special month for us here at Biashara 360, not just because it’s the month of love, but because we take time to focus on self-love and self-care in the 28-day challenge.

As women, it’s very easy for us to focus on others at our own expense. Our children, spouses, significant others, extended family, friends, career growth, work, and societal obligations can keep us so busy that we put our self-care on the back seat.

The 28 Days of Loving Yourself Challenge helps remind us that we too matter. For many who take part in this challenge, this time is well spent, especially after the December and January hustle.

Each week of the Challenge has a specific theme. This post is the first in a series of 4 posts on self-care and self-love as we work through the Challenge. The 4 posts in this series are:

  1. 10 strategies that you can use to clear physical clutter in your home.
  2. 5 ways to make self-love a part of your self-care.
  3. 3 keys to more success and fulfilment in your life.
  4. 5 ways to stay focused on your goals this year.

Getting back to today’s topic…there’s nothing wrong with clutter if you like having things all over the place. However, there are some benefits that you’ll get when you clear or reduce clutter as outlined below.

6 Reasons to Reduce Clutter

1. Reduced stress and anxiety

Clutter distracts your attention visually and also creates mental stress. You may not consciously think about these things you need to clear, but they are there at the back of your mind and in front of your eyes too!

2. Increased efficiency

Everyone benefits from a clutter-free environment and this increases your productivity. You focus better and easier too and reduce time wasted looking for things. While de-cluttering does take a lot of time, it will save you more time in the long term.

3. Saves money

If you’re a pack rat, then you’ll eventually run out of space. You may think that you need a bigger home, a bigger store, bigger closets, a bigger handbag…but the reality is that you may need to just reduce the items that you have.

4. Frees up space

This should be obvious, shouldn’t it? Unfortunately, it isn’t so obvious, which is why there’s clutter in the first place. When you reduce clutter, you have more space.

For example, instead of your spare bedroom being the catch all space for everything you want to keep, imagine how great it would be if you can clear your bedroom and turn into something more useful like a home office or even a hobby room.

5. Increased sense of peace

A clutter-free environment is more relaxing than a cluttered one. There’s also the added benefit of it being more visually appealing.

6. Joy and pride

Having a de-cluttered home is a bonus when you have visitors. People will think you have a nicer home simply because things are more organized.

With those reasons in mind, let’s now look at some easy-to-implement strategies you can use to reduce clutter.

10 Strategies to Reduce Clutter in Your home

1. One thing in, one thing out

The rule is simply that for you to buy something, you’ll need to eliminate something similar. Say for instance your closet is overflowing and you still want to buy this gorgeous blouse that you saw.

Go through your wardrobe and eliminate at least one blouse before making the purchase. By eliminate, I mean getting rid of it even if it means giving it away right now.

And while you’re at it…why not give away a few more clothes that you no longer wear and increase space for buying more new clothes?

This process works immensely well for children when it comes to toys. When a child gets a new toy, have them pick out and give away a toy they’ve already outgrown.

You can have a box set aside for these items that are no longer needed and when the box is full, just give away the whole box.

2. Put things away immediately

This one is self-explanatory and it helps reduce clutter consistently. And if you find that things don’t have somewhere to be put away…then you have a problem. You need to eliminate some things in order to create space for what you want to keep.

3. Don’t keep things for their sentimental value

My mum has stuff from our childhood and it’s just creating clutter in her home. She has things all the way back to our exercise books, the ones we used in primary and high school and a hoard of other stuff that we accumulated and left in her home.

Do we, the children, need it? Definitely not otherwise we’d have gone for it. While it makes great conversations when we’re looking through these things once in maybe 3 or 4 years, she doesn’t need the clutter that it brings.

Getting back to you, evaluate your sentimental stuff and decide what to keep. Take photos of the rest and give them away. You can print and frame the photos to keep the memories alive or even share them with your loved ones on WhatsApp or social media.

4. Do a clothes purge every other year

Empty out EVERYTHING in your closet(s) and pile it on your bed. Pick each item and decide if it’s going back in or not. For the ones that are going back in, try them out first and make a final decision whether to keep or dump.

Get rid of all ones you’ve decided not to keep immediately. Give them away. Donate to your local place of worship, orphanage or a children’s home.

This strategy works best if you have a friend over – somebody who gives great fashion advice and tells you things as they are.

5. Become a regular donator

I have a box in my home where my family dumps things they no longer have use for. When the box is full, I give these things away. Most times the box gets cleared by my house help, the caretaker, and our security guards. Whatever remains is taken by the trash guys.

This system works well for me instead of waiting to take the box somewhere else – which I probably will not do regularly enough. You can decide that every 3 months you will donate your box somewhere. There are many places that will take the things you don’t want. They need them. These are new to them and quite useful for them.

When you become a regular donator, you’ll be clearing stuff from your house on a regular basis. And with time, you’re going to see the things that you don’t need much easily and be able to get rid of them before clutter accumulates.

6. Sell things that you don’t like or need

Remember those ugly gifts you got for your wedding? You don’t have to keep them or give them away. You can just sell them. The same goes for gifts that have been given to your children that they don’t like, equipment and furniture. You can sell all these and make some money out of it instead of having it clutter your home.

7. Store your documents digitally

This strategy alone has saved me a lot of space because I love writing by hand and used to accumulate a lot of paper.

Invest in a good scanner and scan and store your documents in your computer. You can make a physical backup on a portable hard disk or two and also on the internet.

If you have Google Drive or DropBox, that’s more than enough for most people for your regular documents. But you can also invest and buy some cloud space if need be.

reduce clutter

8. Don’t buy any more stuff

This is a challenge if you’re a shopaholic and have access to money easily through transfer from your bank to MPESA or through credit card.

But if you seriously want to reduce clutter or eliminate it, then you need to stop adding more stuff into an already cluttered environment.

Try moving things around in your home for a new look. You can also do this with clothes by mixing and matching your clothes in a different way.

9. Practice proactive giving

It’s not easy to let go of things, especially those that have sentimental value. I learnt the proactive giving strategy from my sister and it’s amazingly simple and highly effective.

First, purchase 4 large boxes and label them Keep, Sell, Give, Trash. You can use large trash bags if you need to get started immediately and don’t have the boxes.

Next, decide in advance where you’ll give the stuff you don’t want to keep – whether it’s to a children’s home, friend, or relative. If you don’t do this, the stuff will find its way back into your home.

Then, call the home, friend, or relative to find out if they need or want the stuff you want to give away. Anything they don’t want goes into the Sell or Trash box immediately.

When you’re done with the calls, sort the items in the Give carton appropriately and deliver them to their intended recipient(s). Sell the ones in the Sell carton, keep the ones that you want to Keep and then put all the rest in the Trash.

10. When all else fails…do this

Visit a children’s, teenage, or old people’s home, or spend time with someone who’s not been doing well financially. Sometimes the perspective we need comes from being with someone who is struggling just to keep their head above water, or who can’t take care of their basic needs.

Visit them with a positive mindset and take some groceries with you. Enjoy the time spent together and later, reflect on how easy it was just being present with this person or people without all the stuff you think you must have or buy in order to be happy.

Then look through your space in your home with new eyes and eliminate what is not needed. Elimination will be so much easier for you now…

Your turn…

Clearing clutter is a personal thing. While minimalism is taking over the world, I believe that everyone has their level of simplicity. What works for me may not necessarily work for you.

What is most important as you reduce clutter, is to focus on keeping what is most essential to you and getting rid of the rest.

If you’re struggling with clutter, pick one of the strategies shared in this post and start de-cluttering your home today. And, once you’ve de-cluttered your home, work on maintaining a clutter-free environment.

(Images courtesy of Unsplash)

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