Clutter often has a negative impact on your life. It can distract you, weigh you down, and make you feel tired, hopeless and out of control. Here are some benefits to diving in and de-cluttering....
Are you overwhelmed by clutter? by Amy Wyatt

Would it surprise you to know…

The average American receives over 16,000 pieces of junk mail in their lifetime.

About 80 percent of clutter is a result of disorganization, not lack of space.

The U.S. Department of Energy reports one-quarter of people with two car garages don’t park in them because they are too full of “stuff.”

The National Association of Professional Organizers says one year of your life is spent looking for lost items.

According to the National Soap and Detergent Association, 40 percent of housework could be eliminated if we got rid of clutter.

The importance of de-cluttering
Clutter often has a negative impact on your life. It can distract you, weigh you down, and make you feel tired, hopeless and out of control.

Here are some benefits to diving in and de-cluttering:

1. It reduces stress. When you are organized, things don’t visually or physically bombard you. This helps you have a clear and focused mind.

2. It saves time. Many people spend time each week looking for lost items. Having a place for everything eliminates this problem and gives that time back to you.

3. It saves you money. When there’s clutter everywhere, important things like bills can get lost, sometimes causing you to forget to pay and being charged an overdue fee. You also forget what you do and don’t have, and end up buying duplicates of things you already own.

4. It can make you money. When you get organized, you’ll likely find things you don’t need or want anymore that can be sold at a garage sale or online.

5. It reenergizes you. Once you get started, one small accomplishment usually motivates you to do more.

How to de-clutter
Often clutter builds up to what seems like an insurmountable task. Most people don’t de-clutter because they don’t know where to start. It’s important to remember your home didn’t become cluttered in a day, so you won’t be able to de-clutter it in a day, either. Here are some tips for how to start.

1. Set aside a certain amount of time. Make a schedule and keep to it. Spending just 10-15 minutes once or twice a day will help you see immediate improvements. Also consider blocking out specific days or weekends to conquer larger projects.

2. List your priorities. Decide where you want to focus first and only work on one area of your home at a time. Smaller projects are much more practical to start.

3. Involve the whole family. Teach your kids where things go and insist they put them there. Also have kids clean out their own spaces periodically.

4. Invest in an organization system or storage items. This will help you on your way to having a place for everything.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If your home is really out of control and you feel organizing it is not a task you can complete alone, ask a friend or family member to help or hire an organization professional.

Keep clutter from coming back
Once you’ve removed the clutter in your home, it takes work to keep it away. Clutter has a way of easing itself back into your life, complicating things all over again.

Marcia Ramsland, a speaker and author of Simplify Your Life: Get Organized and Stay that Way! offers these tips:
  • If you buy something new, get rid of something old.
  • Practice “the two minute pick up” all day.
  • Throw away junk mail immediately.
  • Set a weekly schedule for cleaning.
  • Set e-mail or phone reminders to create new habits.

"Remember one pile sitting out is the beginning of a complicated life,” says Ramsland, “Put the pile away and simplify your life!” Once you organize your time, your space and your life, you’ll find it’s so much easier to live organized. Put the calm back into your life by simplifying and de-cluttering.

Amy Wyatt is a wife, mother and speaker for women's events, schools and health care worker organizations. Amy travels the country representing Epilepsy Advocate LIVE (Learning from Inspiring Voices with Epilepsy). She resides in Dacula, GA.