I feel as though home inspiration culture has made its way past aspiring to perfect Pinterest-worthy rooms — and that’s such a good thing. But letting go of that impossible standard doesn’t mean you totally relinquish the desire for reasonably ordered rooms (and ones that manage to stay that way most of the time).
Accepting that lived-in rooms will have doffed socks scattered on the floor every now and then or that it’s normal for a laundry area to be in a state of flux is one thing. Giving up on a level of order that makes you happy is another. Understanding the difference is about knowing whether your house gets disorderly because people live there, or because you actually have an underlying clutter problem that makes it unrealistic to keep everything in its place.
Here are some signs that your messes are happening because you simply have too much stuff:
You find things from elsewhere in the house in rooms that don’t make sense.
When items that don’t belong are stored in unusual places, this could be a sign that you don’t have enough room for the amount of things you have. For instance, if you have platters stashed in your closet, consider whether you should pare down your collection of servingware.
You constantly have paper clutter strewn on your kitchen counters or table.
Keeping paper clutter at bay is a challenge for everyone, but if you can’t ever seem to get your surfaces clear, you might need to hone your paper-sorting and stashing methods. Try making it a point to make snap decisions about recycling junk mail before ever setting it down or adding events to your calendar right away so you can toss paper reminders. Another option is to add a paper basket where paper collects. Just be sure to clear it out regularly.
You find yourself avoiding tasks because you don’t want to have to gather what you need to get them done.
If you’re procrastinating certain chores because of the mental mountain you have to climb just to get your tools out, it may be time to address some excess belongings.
Your clothes are always wrinkled.
This applies to both hanging clothes and those that you keep in drawers. Clothing that’s packed too tightly together will wrinkle and you’ll end up either spending more time than necessary ironing or going around looking a bit rumpled. Instead, thin out your collection so that items aren’t squished together.
You have to play Tetris to get things out and put them away.
If taking out a baking sheet involves removing six other kitchen items to be able to access it, things probably need to change. It’s too frustrating to empty cabinets every time you need to get something or put it away where it goes. Consider decluttering your kitchen items by category so you end up only with what you truly need and use. This will, of course, be challenging for people with very limited storage space, but you owe yourself the chance to consider what you value more: the extra things or a lifetime of easy access to everything you need.
With five children, Shifrah is learning a thing or two about how to keep a fairly organized and pretty clean house with a grateful heart in a way that leaves plenty of time for the people who matter most. Shifrah grew up in San Francisco, but has come to appreciate smaller town life in Tallahassee, Florida, which she now calls home. She's been writing professionally for twenty years and she loves lifestyle photography, memory keeping, gardening, reading, and going to the beach with her husband and children.
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