Clear the Clutter!

no_clutter

Whether you’re thinking of moving or not, chances are there are certain things about your home that bother you. But when a team of professional archaeologists, anthropologists and other social scientists conducted a systematic study of home life in 32 middle-class, dual-income families in Los Angeles, they discovered that the issues were rarely with the home itself. Instead, they were the result of actions (and inactions) on the part of the homeowners.

clutter

What’s Wrong

Take a look and see if you agree with the researchers’ conclusions about what could really be at the heart of the “problems” with our homes:

  1. Piles of clutter that prevent us from inviting others into our home or from being able to use rooms for their intended purpose.
  2. Garages so full of items we’re keeping for “someday” that we can’t park our cars in them.
  3. Fridges and freezers full of bulk-purchased food that we forget about, that we think we’ll learn how to cook, or that goes bad before we can eat it.
  4. So many toys that we have to rotate them simply to contain the clutter.
  5. Large yards that we never use because we’re inside watching TV or using electronic devices.
  6. Fragmented dinners, where family members don’t eat at the same time or don’t eat in the same room – often due to piles of clutter.
  7. Oversized, overdone master suites with spa-like bathrooms that never get used and often are just another room to fill with possessions we can’t decide what to do with.

How to Fix It

But there’s good news! If these are at the heart of the “problems” we think we have in our homes, then addressing them should help us feel happier. The overriding theme identified by the researchers is “too much.” Perhaps a helpful place to start is to make a conscious decision to be satisfied with what you currently have. While this is simple, it isn’t necessarily easy. It requires you to focus on truly seeing how what you have is already more than adequate for your needs. It also requires you to give up caring what others think about what you do (or don’t) have. Definitely not easy :-), however, I think the general Colorado population is pretty good about “live and let live” lifestyles.

In regard to clutter, there are shelves of self-help books at the library and book store to help you figure out why you may buy too much or hold on to things too long. Similarly, there are thousands of books to provide strategies for dealing with clutter and preventing it from building back up. I have friends who swear by The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Finally, if you conclude that you need a professional organizer, I know the best in the business – Karla Kalahar at SquaredAwayHome.com.

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