Keeping Your New Year's Resolution for a Clutter-Free Home
The word ‘clutter’ is a subjective term — what counts as clutter for me may not necessarily be the same to you. However, more and more studies show how clutter negatively influences our perception or sense of home. Indeed, evidence suggests that clutter adversely affects one’s mental health. For example, a study published in the Journal of
Environmental Psychology in 2021 asserts that “clutter accumulation in contemporary homes becomes increasingly burdensome.”
We have yet to recognize the psychological heaviness of clutter in our lives. The new year brings hope to live a simpler lifestyle, leaving a cluttered life. But how do you keep your New Year’s resolution to live a more clutter-free life? Here’s how.
1) Prioritize regular maintenance
When we were younger, there was a strict rule that Saturdays were dedicated to general cleaning. It was a family affair wherein everyone had a designated task. These are the simple things that make keeping our homes tidy easier.
It is high time to bring the traditions cleaning-wise. You can decide on a day to tackle cleaning the entire house. You may designate each family member with an additional chore on top of cleaning one’s own room.
If you live alone, you can dedicate a day to cleaning a room or area. Then, come Saturday; you will not be overwhelmed because you need to tidy up the house in one go. That is how you save time cleaning.
2) Prioritize high-clutter zones
Decluttering requires planning and organizing too. For instance, you might be tempted to invest in storage solutions such as wall-mounted shelves, only to find out later that you do not need them. This is also not advisable in certain condos for sale in Pasig or elsewhere since the space is already limited.
You should evaluate the spaces first to understand which needs decluttering the most and how to do it exactly. So tackle the high-clutter areas first and work your way down. Give yourself enough time to finish decluttering. And do not try to finish everything in one day. Otherwise, you will feel so tired even the next day.
3) Get everyone on board
Much like how we do Saturday morning general cleaning, it is best to get everyone on board to conquer clutter. After all, unless you are living solo, all of you are accountable for maintaining the home uncluttered at all times.
Make everyone understand that you are a part of the decluttering team, whether that is the youngest family member or a roommate. You may discuss the benefits of living in a junk-free home, mainly how it affects one mental health. Tell them that you expect teamwork and cooperation. Also, everyone in the house will benefit if all people living there will do their share of cleaning.
4) Use spare time wisely
Throughout the week, there would be lull times that you can use for worthwhile endeavors. For instance, if you plan on binge-watching your favorite K-drama, you could fold the laundry or organize your trinket box, first aid kit, or bedside nightstand while doing so.
The goal is to declutter the space regularly at the most convenient times. If you can spare five minutes daily to neaten specific home areas, then do so. Small daily wins are better than losing in the clutter battle.
5) Purge the unnecessary
Clutter happens. Period. However, it happens more so when you start storing things you do not actually need. If you are waiting for a perfect moment to use something, yet that moment is nowhere near the horizon, that something is just another clutter in your home. Purge!
You may square away your space more easily if you own fewer items that fit your needs or lifestyle. So make it a habit to scale down your possessions. For example, you may do a monthly inventory of your closet, pantry, fridge, racks, and more to see which needs getting rid of. Then, throw the disposables, and give or donate the dispensable to whoever needs it. Keep only what you need now.
6) Avoid buying things.
You do not purge today only to buy new things a week from now. No. Instead, you should be more mindful of what you buy and bring inside your house. This is one way of saying to prioritize your needs over wants.
As such, buy only the things you need and actually have space for. If, after purchasing, you struggle to find a place to put it, then it is just another clutter that you should not have bought in the first place. It is an impulsive buy that you regret later on.
You may not realize it, but you are actually cutting down the number of things that must be cleaned later. And you thank yourself for delaying buying something until you have a place for it or not buying at all.
7) Borrow things first.
Yes, there are nice-to-haves, but if you must, borrow first. This is especially true if you are going to use the item just one time. For investment pieces, you should borrow a piece first to have a good grasp of whether you really want it or not.
Return whatever you borrowed in pristine condition and do it fast, as soon as the borrowed dress, coat, or luggage has served its purpose. That is how you encourage others to do the same, whether they borrow from you or others.
8) Keep similar things together
One thing that makes your home messy is when things are not organized based on their type or use. It is best to group valuables together. Not only does this make your space neat and clean, but it also saves time and effort in finding specific items when needed.
9) Create designated clutter zones
It is impossible to get rid of clutter inside the home. Be realistic and designate a clutter zone. It could be a junk drawer where you can stash anything from rubber bands to plastic bags. However, these zones must be cleaned out at the end of the day, every other day, or Friday evening.
The goal is not to let clutter stray from this designated area. It is an excellent technique to clear up other spaces in the house and clean out only the space when it is time.
10) Have a place for everything
While at it, make sure that everything you own has a place inside the home. You should not buy it and leave it lying on the floor or stashed in one corner. A part of the mindful purchasing habit is picturing where you will put the item once you get home.
11) … And put everything in place!
The key to making your place look straightened out throughout the year is to put everything in its rightful place. Start with returning things you use where you found them. For example, if you open the cereal box, close it, and return it to the cabinet. If you take the pair of scissors out of the drawer, put it back as soon as you are done using it. If crumbs are left on the table after eating bread, wipe them clean.
These are the simplest of things that you can do right away: wipe, wash, and clean. So remember to do things as soon as you need to.
12) Have a donation box ready
If not a box, a bag will do. Keep a bag in your closet so you may easily dispose of clothes and other items that no longer wear or fit. Toss them inside the bag; if it is full, it is time to donate its content. Do so at your earliest convenience. But keep in mind that the sooner you do, the faster you clean up your space.
13) Appreciate what you have
Sometimes, the solution to keep your house as clutter-free as possible is right in front of you. Appreciating what you already have is a great way to minimize the clutter accumulated over time.
In some instances, the teapot set you bought while abroad has been in the cabinet for so long that you already forgot about it. So bring it out and use it. Do not wait for any special occasion before you try it. That is how you appreciate its value and maximize its cost per use.
All in all
Decluttering is half the battle won. To live in a clutter-free home, you must deliberately take action to maintain the home as clean as possible. Keep in mind that the problem of cleaning the house at the beginning of the year will keep coming back unless you change your mindset regarding tidying up your place in the first place.
One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to keep the house clutter-free 24/7/365. However, only a few manage to stick with this resolution. Use these tips to keep your New Year’s resolution of having an uncluttered home. In the end, you will reap the benefits of being less stressed, which is good for your mental health, having a more functional home, and saving yourself lots of time, money, and energy.