Clutter leads to more clutter.
It can multiply at an alarming rate. Would you think twice about tossing more junk onto this desk? Absolutely not, because once an area is cluttered, you can easily rationalize it with the mentality of “It’s already messy, so what’s one more thing?”
The pile of paper is transformed into an overflowing mess that can quickly overtake the room. This is why you suddenly can’t fit the car into the garage anymore.
On the contrary, neatness promotes neatness
Anything out of place in an organized room stands out, and you feel compelled to put the stray item away immediately.
Look at the neat desk. Would you add mess to it? Probably not.
The neatness of the workspace encourages you to keep it that way.
Clutter is like an avalanche.
An avalanche can begin with a small pebble that begins to roll. As it rolls downhill, it gets bigger and triggers more rolling rocks until it becomes an avalanche.
Similarly, clutter begins as a small pile that grows and triggers more mess. The longer it is allowed to “tumble”, the bigger it gets. The results can be overwhelming to clean up. To reduce clutter, you must find the “pebbles” in your home and keep them from rolling to avoid the inevitable avalanche effect.
After cleaning and organizing the same child’s room more than a dozen times, I was frustrated with the fact that it returned to a state of chaos in a short time. Then the light-bulb finally came on! I knew why this was happening! Sure, I had the room neat and clean, but I hadn’t solved the underlying problem that caused the pebble to roll. Once started, it is a downhill slide that is hard to stop.
This time the room has stayed spotless because the problem that started the avalanche each time no longer exists. For this room it was a mess of game console accessories that kept falling out of a cabinet onto the floor.
The key to long-term success is to identify the “pebbles” and stop them from rolling.
Step 1: Identify the “pebbles”
Armed with a pen and paper, you transform into
Clutter Detective extraordinaire!
Your mission: to identify the pebbles in your home.
Walk around your home and make a note of the trouble spots that you would like to correct. Which items do you have to pick up off the floor daily? What areas in your home have the biggest clutter mess?
Step 2: Solve the problem
Is there too much stuff in the area?
If there isn’t enough room to store the items, you will constantly be dealing with items spilling out, so get rid of unused items or get a bigger container to hold them. Clear the area and decide what stays, what goes somewhere else in the house, and what can be trashed or donated.
Small toys scattered all over a small child’s room. I’m talking about those “Happy Meal” toys, action figures, and trinkets from birthday parties. These are the small items that don’t really go with any particular toy category. I refer to them as the “junk” toys, but the kids love them. *sigh*
Limit the junk toys. Have your child pick their “favorites” and store them in a small container. The rule is, if toys come in, toys must go out to keep the amount the same. I find this to be the biggest creation of clutter in my kids’ rooms, so limiting the amount really helps control the mess. As the kids collect more, a few old toys must go to keep the amount limited.
Would a piece of furniture or a few storage containers help?
Maybe you just need to do some organizing of the items so everything has an obvious place. Group like items in labeled drawers or containers if you have a lot of small things.
You have small items such as packets of dried soup mix falling to the floor in your pantry on a regular basis.
Get a small basket to hold smaller items in the pantry. It will keep them organized in a small, compact area and prevent them from falling to the floor or getting lost behind other items. I like to keep a “snack” basket to hold smaller “grab-n-go” items that might get lost or knocked off the shelf.
Would relocating the items be better?
A stack of games cluttering the living room
Find an area to store all games in a child’s closet. A huge eye sore is now neatly hidden away in a closet. Take out the game to play it, and return it to the closet as soon as you are done.
Finding a solution that works best may take some trial and error. Keeping your house free of clutter is much easier once you take care of all the “pebbles”.
Happy pebble hunting!
Related article: Are you scared of your child’s room?