Seven routines and guidelines to live as an unclutterer — no super powers necessary

7 01 2012


You’re not a superhero? Well, neither am I. No unclutterer I know is a superhero, either. We’re all just non-superheroes doing our uncluttered, non-superhero things.

To an outsider, an unclutterer can appear to have super powers. But, trust me, unclutterers don’t have the ability to wave a magic wand and instantly be clutter free and organized (although, that would be an amazing power to possess). Instead of magic wands, most unclutterers simply do a little work each day and adhere to a few simple guidelines to keep from being overwhelmed by an avalanche of clutter.

These aren’t laws, but these are the routines and guidelines most unclutterers follow to keep clutter at bay:

  1. Have a place for everything. If something you own doesn’t have a place to be stored, it will always be out of place and cluttering up your space. Everything needs a home that is easily accessible so you can find it when you need it.
  2. When you’re finished using something, put it away. You can’t easily find something if it’s not in its proper storage location. Don’t waste time hunting for things, simply put items back when you’re finished using them. If you’re finished using something for good, put it in the trash, recycling, shredder, or donation bin.
  3. The fewer things you own, the fewer things you have to store, maintain, put away, clean, etc. You don’t need to be a minimalist, just focus on getting rid of the clutter so you’re only caring for the things you value.
  4. Only own things with utility and things that bring you happiness.Not everything in your home needs to be useful, but the things that aren’t useful need to at least make you happy. If you have a knickknack that you curse at every time you dust, it’s time for the knickknack to be passed along to someone else. If something that was once useful is no longer useful, it’s time to get rid of it, too.
  5. One in, one out. If you buy a replacement good, get rid of the inferior good you’re replacing.
  6. Everyone does his/her part. Everyone sharing your living space, including you, needs to lend a hand around the house out of respect for the others living in the space. Irrespective of how you choose to divvy up the major load of housework, everyone should: put away items after they use them, put their dirty clothes in the dirty clothes hamper, and clean up all messes he/she makes.
  7. Do a little every day. When you do about 30 minutes of dedicated work on your home each day, you can pretty much cover everything you need to do over the course of a week. How to set up a daily routine is explained in the article, “Ask Unclutterer: Exhausted after work,” and also in more detail in my book, Unclutter Your Life in One Week.

You don’t need to be a superhero to follow these seven routines and guidelines. You, too, can be an unclutterer — no super powers necessary.



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