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10 Helpful Tips To Effectively Declutter Your Home

10 Helpful Tips To Effectively Declutter Your Home

Is your house full of clutter?

Are you looking for some help to finally get things under control?

Decluttering is the act of removing clutter, or all those things that impede your ability to use your living space(s) as they were meant to be used. Clutter can be made up of items you no longer need or want, or that do not belong in a particular space, area or room. It’s important to remove clutter from your home so you can find what you need when you need it, fully enjoy your space and give your mind and eyes a much-needed rest from unsightly piles of stuff.

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Here are ten helpful tips to help you get rid of clutter in your home…once and for all!

1. Set aside small sessions of time to declutter.

Think you can effectively declutter your entire house in one day? Think again! As strange as this might seem, decluttering takes a lot of effort, energy and concentration. Not only are you sorting through and identifying lots of different items, you are making decisions as to what to do with all of your things. Instead of spending hours upon hours decluttering a space or room, work in small increments of time such as 15 or 20 minutes per session. Set a timer if you need to.

2. Remove and process clutter in different areas of your home.

It’s not uncommon to become “clutter-blind” or overly accustomed to clutter in a particular space. The clutter has been there for such a long time that you are used it; it starts to seem like it belongs in a particular area of your home! However, once you move a stack of makeup clutter from your bathroom to your living room, it suddenly becomes clear that the clutter doesn’t belong there. Put things in perspective and process clutter from one room in an entirely different room. Collect clutter in a basket, box, bag or other container and move it to another room for processing.

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3. Have a trash and recycling bag/bin handy.

You’ll want to make it as easy as possible to dispose of items when you declutter. In order to make things run as smoothly as possible, make sure you have trash and recycling bags/bins handy. For personal or sensitive papers and  information, run it through a shredder before discarding it. Once your decluttering session is over, place the unwanted stuff in bins outside of your house or apartment so it doesn’t have a chance to get back inside your home.

4. Declutter from top to bottom.

Ever hear you should clean a house from top to bottom? This also applies to decluttering. When you clean your house, you’re getting rid of all the stuff you don’t want: dust, dander, dirt, fuzz, etc. Similarly, when you declutter, you’re either getting rid of, reorganizing or readjusting the location of items. Declutter your home from top to bottom, starting at the top level of the home, such as the attic or bedrooms, working your way down the bottom level, such as the basement or garage. Your home will undergo a total transformation and there won’t be any doubt as to whether or not you’ve decluttered a particular area of the house.

5. Declutter a room from the inside out.

Have a lot of clutter in a particular room? You may want to declutter this room from the center space to the perimeter or walls. Not only will you make it easier for you get in and out of the room, you’ll also be able to see progress that much faster. For starters, you’ll be able to see a clear floor space! Start with clutter located in the area nearest the door and then work your way from the center of the room to the walls. You may then decide to declutter items in a clockwise or counterclockwise fashion inside the room so you can see the progress you’ve made.

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6. Try the “grab and go” approach.

However, if you’ve got a lot of clutter in a particular area or space and aren’t sure where to start, simply grab a small stack of clutter and get to work. You could use a small basket, box, bag or container to temporarily house this small pile of clutter. This way, you have a small, contained and finite amount of clutter to process and focus upon without being overwhelmed with a large mass of stuff.

7. Make signs to help with the decluttering process.

Decluttering isn’t always about throwing stuff away, sometimes it means sorting through stack of items you actually want to keep. Whenever you begin a decluttering session, consider writing up small signs to help you easily identify what’s what. Sure, you could make small signs out of index cards with the obvious phrases of “Trash” and “Recycle,” but why not expand those cards to places where you’ll eventually need to relocate items? If you’re sorting through items in your kitchen and find items that belong in other areas of the home you could make cards that read, “Living Room,” “Home Office,” “Basement,” and so on.

8. Take an objective look at your things.

When it comes to decluttering, it helps to take a practical look at your belongings and how you are, or are not, using them. Ask yourself some of the following types of questions as you tackle your stuff: Have you used said item(s) in the past year? Are you making use of the item right now? Are you saving an item because you think you might need it in future? Do you like the item, or do you no longer have interest in the item? How is the item adding value to your life and home? Is the item weighing you down and preventing you from doing the things you’d otherwise like to do?

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9. Let go of useless, broken, outdated and otherwise unusable stuff.

A broken toaster, an MP3 player from seven years ago, outdated fashion magazines…. what do these items have in common? For starters, they won’t be of much practical use to you unless you’re starting a memorabilia museum or collection. Broken, busted and otherwise unusable stuff just becomes a headache over time in your home. It sits there taking up space and sucks your energy and attention away from what really matters. If you’re looking for an easy way to decide whether or not to chuck something, ask yourself whether it is broken, outdated or unusable and whether you want it to be a part of your life now…and in future!

10. Don’t wait for the perfect time to declutter.

When’s the perfect time to declutter? When things are slightly cluttered or chaotic beyond belief? Actually, there is no perfect time to declutter. It’s all about learning how to keep things in check and under control. Take time to regularly declutter the rooms of your home so things don’t get too out of hand. You could set a regular weekly schedule to declutter small areas of the home to keep things neat and tidy. You’ll save yourself from marathon decluttering sessions in the future if you just attend to a little bit of clutter right now.

What areas of your home seem to be clutter magnets? Are you looking forward to finally taming the clutter once and for all? Leave a comment below.

Featured photo credit: Organized Closet/Emily May via flickr.com

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Rashelle Isip

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The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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