Team Up Against Clutter

teamworkWhen you live with others, it’s a little difficult to have your space exactly like you want it. Certainly you have the privilege of filling your home with things that you like or enjoy, but you also have the responsibility to respect the needs and wishes of the other people in your household.

The tough part is, you and the other members of your household might have different ideas of what clutter is and how to handle it. You know what they say, one person’s junk is another one’s treasure, and if that “treasure” isn’t stored properly, it can be a problem. This leads to increasing frustration and rising stress levels, creating negative energy in your home that can be exhausting and overwhelming.

So rather than fight against each other, team up to fight against the clutter!  By working together, you can find solutions that will be respectful of everyone’s wishes. Sure, it will take compromise and cooperation, but your entire household will benefit when you can all tackle the clutter challenge and bring peace to your home.

Teamwork takes a commitment from everyone to work toward a common goal, so take a few minutes to talk about what it means to work together. Everyone has to chip in, and compromise is a must. Team members make smart choices and are unselfish, dependable, and hardworking. They each understand that everyone might have to give up something, but the results will be better than what you have now.

First, each household member has to figure out what he or she wants. Younger kids might need some guidance with this. Ask yourself (or your kids) simple questions: What do I really want to keep? What can I live without? What do I want to be use the space for?

Now each person should gather some images of “ideal” spaces or storage tools so others can picture what each person is imagining. Flip through home and design magazines to find furniture arrangements, storage structures, and other neat ideas that you really like and think could work.

Share your pictures with each other and talk about why you like particular things. What is it about those spaces that might work for your household? How much clutter is in the images?  What changes could you make to your space to give it the feel of the images from the magazines? Think more about the “feel” of the room rather than the “look.” You might not be repainting or redecorating, but you can aim for the ambiance (peaceful, clean, neat, energetic, welcoming, etc.).

Once you have an idea of what to do in a particular room, make a plan for everyone to help you get there. You might schedule 15 or 30 minutes a night (or a couple times a week) to start. If you have young children, you’ll keep them focused by using shorter blocks of time. Designate boxes, laundry baskets, or sacks to collect items for keeping, throwing away, and giving away. Make it fun! Turn on the radio and have a yummy snack waiting for a reward at the end.

As you work your way through the clutter, remember to only keep the things that fit your vision. Your kids might need gentle reminders. You can try asking questions like, “If you keep (toy), we may not have room to keep (toy).”  This will help them learn to prioritize.

You’re almost there! With the clutter cleared, now you can implement systems and storage ideas to find an appropriate home for everything you need to keep. For help with this, try implementing some tips from these articles:

If you’re having trouble identifying common goals and ideal spaces, a professional organizer might be just what you need! Not only will you get a “neutral” perspective from someone who is specially skilled at organizing, planning, and creating systems, but you’ll benefit from the hands-on help to implement your plan and get you all started on the right foot.

photo credit: woodleywonderworks via photopin cc

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