Did you know there are three types of physical clutter? We'll learn more about them and then you can grab the printable to help you begin your declutter process.
Freedom From Physical Clutter
Before we begin, let’s define “clutter free” in the physical sense.
Clutter free does not have to mean minimalism. I bring this up because, while popular and in some aspects beneficial, the extreme minimalist lifestyle can be off-putting to someone drowning in clutter. Becoming a minimalist seems unattainable and all you end up with is despair. I don’t want you to give up hope. If you long to be minimalist than this is a place to start. If you long to simply manage your stuff better, this is your guide. No matter if this is your goal or your jumping off point, I pray this series helps you conquer your clutter.
A clutter free home is one where you can see the couch, the floor, the counters and the kitchen table. You do remember what your kitchen table looks like don’t you? Clutter free is being able to walk into a space and not feel consumed by stuff; where your mind does not have to work to process your surroundings so hard that it distracts you from your purpose and function.
There are different types of physical clutter: busy life clutter, daily life clutter, and emotion-driven clutter. Let’s explore each one of these.
- Busy life clutter
- Daily life clutter
- Emotion-driven clutter
Let’s explore each one of these.
Daily Life Clutter – Keys on the counter, shoes by the front door, jacket on the back of the chair and a bag of groceries on the counter. This is daily life clutter. It’s temporary. By tomorrow morning, it will all be gone. This clutter needs a bit of strategic management but should be acceptable and expected.
Before I go on vacation I clean the house. Sometimes I am asked why I bother, and even my husband has wondered why I clean before we leave. I clean because I know what it will be like when we get home. A mountain of laundry, clean clothes to unpack and put away, food to sort through, luggage to put away and a pile of unread mail to sort.
This clutter is going to happen. I anticipate it and work to make it easier on myself but I fully accept that there will be a day, maybe two of clutter until everything is dealt with. You should expect the same. And if your job requires you to be outside the home or you vacation during your homeschool year, you might expect the clutter to last a bit longer until time permits for you to put everything away.
Busy Life Clutter – This clutter can be problematic or simply for a season. If you have a few abnormally busy weeks, clutter can build up. I believe life is about balance so if this ebb and flow of clutter happens from time to time it isn’t an issue, so long as you know how to deal with it. It becomes a problem when your life is so busy week after week, month after month that you never have time to deal with the clutter. This clutter needs careful attention and evaluation because it can be a sign of a bitter issue.
If your busy life clutter never ends, you're too busy. If you cannot find the time in 3 months to put away your Christmas decorations, you are too busy (or your not motived, which is a different story.)
Emotion Driven Clutter – This is the clutter you keep because you can’t let go. This is Aunt Sally’s 50-piece puzzle in a box in the attic that you won’t put together but won’t throw away because she would be hurt, even though she died in 1984 and the puzzle is missing 3 pieces. Emotion-driven clutter leads to hoarding and often times has spiritual ties. This is the “I just can’t help it” clutter. This clutter is a clear signal of an underlying issue that must be addressed. It could be a very simple issue or a deep-seeded one.
Might Need Items
Eliminating clutter does not mean you must be a minimalist owning only 57 things. It’s okay to keep a Might Needs so long as they are organized and relevant. If you are in your childbearing years and considering or trying for more children, keep the Pack N Play. If your children are adolescents and you are going through menopause don’t keep the Pack N Play for your grandkids. First, it will be outdated and possibly unsafe and secondly, you can get one at a consignment store for $20.
Realistic Evaluation Necessary
I have recently realized I keep way too many glass jars. I have them in boxes in the basement and I bought 6 of these cute jars at an auction and still have not done anything with them. I need to either use them or sell them. Sometimes you can evaluate things for yourself. Sometimes you need the advice of a trusted friend to help you really see what's before you.
Either way, you need to make a realistic evaluation of the things in your home. It's time to start clearing clutter. One closet, cupboard or room at a time. My friend Wardee from Traditional Cooking School shared her SMART goals once and one of them is organizing and decluttering one step at a time.
To help you get started, I've created a printable declutter quick guide to get you started. These through-provoking questions will help you room by room to rid yourself of costly clutter.