Overwhelm: Causes and Cures | Clutter


It gets to all of us.
Clutter can be a leading cause.

During the holiday season is no different. For many, it’s even more prevalent.
The holidays often consist of finding spaces for things that usually don’t live in our home. Christmas trees for example.
Then add in all the stuff we collect to give as gifts.
Holiday clutter just adds to the overwhelm of everyday clutter.

Holidays aside, clutter can cause overwhelm in our everyday lives.

CLUTTER is one cause of Overwhelm

clutter – verb clut·ter \ˈklə-tər\:

to fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness <a room cluttered with toys>
Three easy cures for clutter
1. A Place for Everything and Everything in It’s Place

I think this is the most important cure of all.
If we don’t have a designated place for something, we tend to put things just anywhere. When we put things anywhere we can find a spot, chances of finding it again are slim.

This in turn, can cause more clutter because we may choose to go buy something to replace the thing we couldn’t find because it’s easier than spending the time looking for the “lost” item.
Just one more thing to find a home for. And if this happens several times, several extra things to find homes for.
How do we find a place for everything?
It starts with a plan. A plan or a vision for each and every room in your home.
What is going to live there? Why is it going to live there? Does it make sense to live there?
Once you decide what is going to live in a room, only those things live there. Nothing else.
And when it comes to planning, make sure it makes sense. Pans together in the kitchen, wrenches together in the workshop and towels where they are used.

Would you put a frying pan you use on a regular basis in your clothes closet?
Most people wouldn’t.  Why would it live there? And who would you ever look there to find it?
I say this because I have seen this. Make sure it’s home makes sense.

2. If it takes 2 minutes or less to do, Just Do It!

Nike has a point.
So does Benjamin Franklin. “Never leave till tomorrow that which you can do today.”
I said these cures were simple, and this one is the easiest of all.

  • Instead of throwing your coat on the back of a chair, hang it in the coat closet.
  • Instead of placing your dish in the sink, put it in the dishwasher.
  • Instead of setting something on the counter or table, take a few more steps and place it where it belongs.
  • And, instead of leaving your purchases in the bag, take them out and put them away!

Simple right?
It is if you have a place for everything!

3. Every evening do a 10-Minute Tidy

I know, I said these were easy. This one maybe not so much. It involves buy-in and cooperation with others. This one is worth “putting your foot down”.
You may or may not reward participants. You’re the boss!
If you do choose to reward, please don’t make it with more stuff.
Use experiences, extra screen time, playing a game, a dish of ice cream as incentives. It never has to be more stuff.
And make it for a successful week, not just a one time tidy!

Maybe make a game of it for the kids.
The spouse may need some other form of encouragement. I will leave those rewards up to you.

This is how it goes. Each evening, every person in the household spends 10 minutes putting things away.
You can assign a room to each person.
You can ask that they just pick up their own stuff.
It’s your game. You make the rules.
It’s amazing how well this works.

Again, this is where having a place for everything comes in.
If there isn’t a designated place for it, you know where it’s going to end up.