3 Steps to Dig out of Clutter

Clutter can’t kill you, but it can sure make your life crazy!   The worst part is that it creeps up on you.  One minute your house is fairly neat, the next the counter is covered with papers, the laundry is spilling out of the dirty clothes hamper, and your closets are full of stuff, stuff, stuff! What can you do to dig out, before hoarding takes over?

Sure, you feel overwhelmed. That’s the way we all start. Let’s simplify this into three powerful steps. You can start out easy, but you do need to start by doing something every day. If you follow these steps consistently, you will notice that little by little your life and your house will change. Expert organizer, Sandra Felton, says you can stop the clutter cycle.  How?  Start with these three steps.

1. Make a strong take-off every day. A good take-off sets the tone of the day. When you:

  • Wake up and set a time
  • Jump up and don’t lie in bed, there’s a wonderful world waiting
  • Make up the bed immediately, automatically
  • Eat up something nutritious
  • Wash up and bathe body or wash face
  • Brush up and take care of your teeth
  • Dress up completely from head to toe including hair, shoes and makeup of some kind on your face
  • Look up somewhere during the day you need to turn your ear upward to God

And any other steps you may need to add to your flight plan, like TAKE A WALK. They don’t have to end with UP.

2. Change habits one at a time. Let’s start with The 30-Second Rule. “If it takes thirty seconds or less to do a job, do it immediately.” This applies to putting up packages when you come in, putting the scissors (or whatever) back where you got them, hanging up the clothes you take off and other things like that. The second powerful habit is this: when you get something out, put it back — and here’s the kicker — right away. Remember STOW AS YOU GO! Commitment to these two habits will change the condition of your house immediately.

3. Attack the mess — bless the house! We don’t attack the house. We attack the mess that is hiding the wonderful possibilities of our house. Use one of the two methods below to get rid of the junk and organize the house.

Mt. Vernon Method

Get three BankerBoxes™, about 12 X 18 inches. Label each box, GIVE AWAY, THROW AWAY, STORE SOMEPLACE ELSE. Starting at the front door, go around the inside periphery of the room from drawer, to cupboard, to nook or cranny emptying the contents of things that don’t belong in that area into one of these boxes. Organize neatly what does belong in that area and move on to the next area.

Mt. Vesuvius Method

Use if your house is a shambles, your marriage is in trouble because of it, you fear the health department or your landlord, your adult children are distraught about your place, or you face some similar emergency. Like Mt. Vesuvius, this is a quick and powerful method. It avoids the hang-up of decision making and clears the clutter quickly. What do I do with all of this stuff?

Used with permission from Sandra Felton.