Maintaining a Pleasant Home Environment

Maintaining a Pleasant Home Environment

It is probably safe to say that most of us desire to live in a peaceful, quiet, and enjoyable space.  So, if that is the case, why doesn’t everyone do so?  Just a little time and effort put into making our homes clutter-free and pleasant to wake up in, come home to, and spend time in can make our lives happier.

Do you have clutter in your life?  It is normal or average to have a little clutter from time to time (mail on the table that has not yet been opened, something that has a place, but has not yet been put away, several books on your end table that you are waiting to read, etc.)  But what is normal or average to one, may be excessive to another.  Ergo, clutter is a subjective experience.  Some of us are minimalists and want nothing lying around, others not so much as we like a few knickknacks and décor around, while others like to cover every inch of space with décor and trinkets.

According to many experts in the field of home organization, there are many different levels and classifications of clutter.  Below are a few of the most common that are difficult to rid yourself of:

  1. Sentimental Clutter - photos, baby clothes, theater tickets, etc.
    • Take photos of everything that truly means a lot to you.  Put them in a photo album and then donate or discard the actual items.
  2. Gifted Clutter - items someone has given you that you do not want or need, but you hang on to them because you do not want to offend.
    • Exchange it for something that you will actually like or use.  And you can always regift the item, especially if it comes with a gift receipt.
  3. Other People’s Stuff – our children go away to college or their own apartment and leave their stuff with us.
    • The next time you see the person who left the items, tell them they need to go through everything and discard what they truly do not want to keep.  You may be OK with keeping what is left, but if not, tell them they need to be taken when they leave, or suggest a storage unit.
  4. Wishful Thinking Clutter – a good example of this is clothing that is several sizes too small for you or scrapbook items that you purchased but have not yet used.
    • If these items are really nothing you will use in the foreseeable future, it is time to let them go, especially if you have had them for two years or more.
  5. Inherited Clutter – jewelry, furniture, dishes, paintings, knickknacks, etc.
    • Other people’s tastes are rarely like our own, especially if those people are older than we are, like our parents for example.  You feel you would be disrespectful to get rid of the items you inherited.  However, check with other family members to see if they would like the items or gift them to someone that truly needs them.  Or reupholster/paint furniture in patterns and colors more to your liking.   Be certain to have all jewelry and artwork appraised so you will know what you are donating (or not).
  6. Holiday Clutter – Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Fall, etc. décor.
    • It is pretty safe to safe we all have at least the Christmas clutter because who could afford to go out every year and purchase all new Christmas décor?  Dedicate waterproof plastic storage boxes to each season and make sure everything goes in those boxes when the season is over.  Storage boxes can then be stacked in the garage, attic, basement, under the bed, or in a spare closet.
  7. Yard sale, thrift store, free item clutter – anything we felt was too cheap to pass up.
    • It can be difficult to pass up bargains that you know are selling for pennies on the actual dollar, but if you have no room for them or will never use them, what purpose are they serving for you?  Gather all these items up and have a yard sale of your own.
  8. Everyday Clutter – mail, dishes not put away, dirty clothing, etc.
    • Unless we are extremely fastidious, most of us have everyday clutter.  Before you go to bed each evening, spend a few minutes putting things away where they belong.  Even better, try to get into the habit of putting items back where they belong when you are through using them.

Getting rid of clutter will not only free up space in your home; it can improve your mental health, eliminate stress, make it easier for you to focus, and improve relationships…to name just a few benefits.  Give it a try if you struggle with clutter in your home.  You may be pleasantly surprised at the benefits you reap.