Tidy room, tidy mind

Sometimes, the space we once thought was cozy can become claustrophobic.

Custom Excerpt: “Rest and reevaluate in between decluttering, start with different methods each time something isn’t working for you, and be kind to yourself when you can. Clearing the clutter on the outside can help clear the clutter on the inside.”

You’re at home, making your way to your bedroom with your phone in your hand. The moment you step into the room, you stub your toe on a hard object and you start yelping in pain. As you hold onto the doorknob to keep your balance, your eyes drift down to the floor and being to follow your follow

Your entire bedroom floor was a literal obstacle course strewn with dirty clothing piles, hangers scattered across every corner, shoes you haven’t worn in years, and old homework papers from middle school.

Waiting for the mess to clean itself is not the solution. For the organizationally challenged, getting rid of clutter is no easy feat, even when there’s not a pandemic to use as another excuse not to do anything about it.

Not having enough time is a common excuse for the disarray, but it can become so overwhelming that it becomes impossible to even begin to figure out how to fix it.

Sometimes, items that mean a lot are kept laying around because a person just can’t let go of them. Other times, people hoard unnecessary objects they don’t need and forget about them as they pick up dust. Either way, it may be difficult to sort through the squalor, causing frustration and anger and still leaving a disorderly environment.

Everyone has different styles that help to par down on their belongings. Fortunately, there are numerous methods to help tackle the problem. Here are four ways to order the disorder.

1. Turn the chore of clearing out a room into a game.

The game works like this: clear out a room and designate four areas. The first area is titled “stuff.” Dump all of the items that should be scanned through and organized here. Get a headstart by having all the items laid out to pinpoint exactly where the excess stuff is.

The second area is “keep.” Items that can’t be parted from are placed here.

The third area is “sell.” This is where any objects or clothing items that are no longer wanted or needed are put. These items can be sold or donated to charity.

Lastly, the fourth area is “throw.” All of the items that are useless or take up unnecessary space can be placed here and thrown away.

To play the game, set a 10-30 minute timer on the phone. Once the timer is set, start with the items that can easily be sorted into any pile. For example, the expensive necklace someone might have received as a gift from their grandmother goes straight to “keep.” A dusty, tattered comic book randomly picked up from the elementary school book fair years ago definitely needs to be sold.

Once the timer rings, take a step back to scan the room to see how much is already finished within the time limit. If the room needs more work, crank up the timer for an hour. Otherwise, take it easy and keep working with small time intervals until it’s comfortable enough to go longer.

Next, it’s time to tackle the harder items that require more thought and discussion before they go into a specific pile. The most important thing to remember is to make sure that each item is placed in a designated zone. This may take an hour or two, but it’s worth it in the end.

Depending on how much stuff there is and how difficult it is to determine where each item goes, the time spent organizing will differ. Taking a picture of the room before and after decluttering can help show how much gets accomplished.

2. Write about important items before getting rid of them

Another method of decluttering uses writing. Take sentimental items and record why they may have been valuable or important before throwing them away or donating them. Even though sometimes people want to keep items laced with nostalgia, they often just take up space. Letting out all the feelings associated with sentimental items can not only cleanse a room but cleanse the mind as well.

Group all of the sentimental items together and take a photo of them. Consider blogging about them on a forum or website. Write about the enjoyable memories associated with each item as a way of letting go.
There is a neat way to keep smaller sentimental objects like graduation tassels, ticket stubs from traveling, or photo booth pictures with friends from the mall around without making a mess. Take a Mason jar from the kitchen, stick the objects inside, then place the jar anywhere on a dresser or study desk. Decorate the jar to personalize it and make it aesthetically pleasing. Having a cute, simple capsule full of nostalgia can act as an antidepressant. Feel free to open it every once in a while to look at the old photographs.

3. Reorganize clothing by style, color, and type

An overflowing closet, cabinet or dresser full of clothes can make it hard to find exactly what to wear. Being organized can make it easier to get dressed.

Get rid of clothing rarely worn or not worn at all. Keep only the items that work best. They should be fashionable, flattering and most of all they should fit. Everything else should be sold or donated to homeless shelters or charities. In the meantime, store the discarded clothing in grocery bags or large trash bags.

Organizing clothing by color, style or type can help make a closet look cleaner and more visually appealing. Items are more visible and easily accessible in their own section. Organize shoes by type and place sandals and sneakers in separate bins on the floor for easy access, while formal shoes can be placed on a higher shelf to prevent them from getting dusty.

4. Clean up neglected spaces such as a nightstand and study desk

One last way to declutter is by cleaning up a nightstand or study desk. Oftentimes, these areas get the most cluttered needing a lot of organization. To begin, clear the nightstand or desk completely wiping down with a disinfecting wipe to get rid of germs and dirt that has built up over time. Then grab the most essential items like pens, textbooks and notebooks for study desks or lip balm and hand cream for nightstands and place the items neatly where they belong.

Decluttering can be physically, emotionally and mentally rigorous but it can also be liberating. It may take weeks, months, or even years to fully declutter, and that’s okay. The process can take time and effort, but don’t get discouraged. Clearing the clutter on the outside can help clear the clutter on the inside.