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How clutter messes up your life — and how to fix it

How clutter messes up your life — and how to fix it

Clutter does more than just fill up your house. It can get in the way of your thinking clearly and impact relationships, too. Here are some things to know about the way that clutter affects you. And, some ideas on how to deal with it.

Cluttered house = cluttered head

Just the look of clutter can lead to feelings of agitation and confusion. And if it takes several minutes of effort every time you want to find something, you’re going to be exhausted before you even get to the task at hand.

The fix:  Start by establishing islands of organization — particular spots for your most-used items. Keys always go on this hook. The phone is always plugged into this outlet. Glasses go on this shelf. Begin decluttering from there.

Clutter messes up relationships 

What one person may see as a perfectly organized stack of papers, another may view as a lot of stuff cluttering up the desk. The helpful, empty boxes you want to hold on to just in case you need them are someone else’s useless cardboard, which needs to get recycled. Disagreements about what stays and what goes can easily cause relationship rifts.

The fix:  Makemindful decisions about the kinds of things you keep — and how much of it you really need. Then, find a place to put it. Have a conversation with the people you live with about why those things are important to you.

Clutter can be dangerous

Clutter creates household hazards everywhere it goes. The items you stuffed in a closet can fall on you. Someone can trip over things left on the floor. Things haphazardly strewn on counters and shelves are easy to knock over and break. 

The fix: A good first step is to take an extra second to be aware of where you put things down. Better is to take a few minutes and put things away — both so that you know where they are, and so they’re easy and safe to access.

Clutter can be managed

If clutter has escalated to the point where you’re not even sure where to start cleaning it up, it may be time to get professional help. A professional won’t tell you what to let go of, but they will help you decide what you really need and use; and assist you in organizing your home so that you can easily find things when you need them.

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