You want to focus on the things that matter in your life.
Whether that’s spending quality time with your family, training for the marathon you want to run, or seeing the world, you’ve got some idea of what’s important.
And you know that in order to achieve those things, you need to simplify the rest, so you’ve been on a mission.
You’re making changes, letting go of things you never though you could.
You’re taking steps to prepare for the week, so that you can use your time wisely and with as little stress as possible.
You’re asking yourself different types of questions about decluttering than the normal ones, and it’s helping you push through in areas where you’ve been stuck before.
Maybe you’re cooking simpler meals these days (even if you enjoy cooking), so that you have more time for other pursuits.
You’ve even gotten rid of some things you never even thought could be clutter, once you finished your big decluttering missions.
Even so, there’s more.
If you’re feeling stagnant or blocked, chances are there’s some clutter you have stopped noticing. Maybe it’s even “hidden” in plain sight!
Open your eyes to 3 types of clutter you’ve stopped noticing, so that you can simplify “the rest” and stay focused on what you actually care about!
Type 1: Surface clutter
These are the things that have been in one place for too long. They’re basically part of the furniture now.
Maybe it’s a dead bouquet of flowers, or a stack of books on your nightstand (some of which you’ve finished or abandoned). This might be a pile of shoes near the front door. It could be the coffee cups on the end table in the living room, or the canisters of things you use “all the time” on your kitchen counter. Or maybe your bulletin board is overcrowded with notes, pictures, and “inspiration.”
How to see it: Take a photo.
Step back, and take a picture of the room. Now, look at the picture, and see if there’s anything that pops out at you. What would you want to hide or move out of the way before you took another picture to send to your mother-in-law (or whomever)?
I can’t tell you why, but this type of thing is SO much easier to notice in a photograph than in real life. Try it and let me know if you found something “hidden” in plain sight!
Type 2: Gremlin Clutter
This is the clutter lurking in closets, cabinets, the garage, the attic, and the basement.
For most of your day-to-day life, it doesn’t get in the way, so it doens’t feel like it’s a problem. But it’s still taking up energy somewhere in the back of your mind. And it’s still taking up space, and costing you time whether you realize it or not.
How to see it: Get the sunshine to hit it.
(Sunshine kills gremlins. Yay!)
Pull it all out. When’s the last time you removed EVERY ITEM from your coat closet? It’s an eye-opening exercise! You’ll find things you had totally forgotten about, and realize you don’t need them cluttering the corners of your home.
In a larger area like the garage, the basement, or the attic, unless you have a huge chunk of time to work, you might want to approach it a little bit differently.
Instead of pulling EVERYthing out at once, divide the area into zones. You can even use painter’s tape or masking tape on the floor to divide it visually. Attack one zone at a time. Remove everything, assess everything, declutter, organize, and replace.
You can do this.
Type 3: “Too close” Clutter
This type of clutter is often stuff you feel like you’re “still using.”
Projects you’re in the middle of, medicine while you’re sick, clean laundry you’re “about to” fold, and your kids’ long-term homework assignments can really make a space feel cluttered even if these aren’t things you want to get rid of.
How to see it: Chances are, you can already see it, but you’re excusing it.
Instead, find accessible homes for these. Your cold medicine will be just as readily available placed in a lidded basket on the counter, or in a bin tucked into the kitchen cabinet.
Finding a basket or shelf to house your current project and its related materials isn’t a bad idea. You can clean it up when you’re finished working “for now,” but still grab everything you need quickly when you’re ready to work on it again. This technique will work for kids’ long-term homework assignments or craft projects too.
For clean laundry, your best bet is just to fold it and put it away! It doesn’t take as long as you might think, and it’s really okay to do it while the kids are awake and around. (They might even help if you teach them how!)
This type of clutter is procrastination embodied.
Take action now.
I know it’s really no fun to notice more and more clutter in your home, but seeing it really is the first step to being able to deal with it.
And when you’ve dealt with it, you can go ahead and do the important stuff with more focus than ever.
Without fretting over the gremlins you’ve left in your house.
So which first step will you take? Choose ONE to get started.
- Take a photograph of a room, and examine it for surface clutter. Then go deal with the clutter you’ve discovered.
- Totally empty one closet, one cabinet, one drawer, or one zone of a larger area. Only put back the things you WANT to belong there, and the things you’ll use in that area.
- Analyze what type of stuff you leave out while you’re “still using” it. Make accessible and easy-top-use homes for these things.