Have you ever thoroughly cleaned and removed all the clutter from a room just to have it all back in a few months? Or, have you successfully cleaned out one part of the house while you simultaneously cluttered up another?
Why do you suppose this happens? It could be because truly cleaning up the clutter is a lifestyle change. It's not something that happens overnight for most people. A cluttered home can be quite hard to deal with, both emotionally and physically. Sometimes, we muster a herculean effort and clean things up. It even looks fantastic, for the short term. But, unless certain life changes take place, the effect is only temporary.
So what are the possible lifestyle changes that need to happen in order for you to solve your clutter problem? Here's what I've come up with in the past year and a half since I've been blogging about cleaning up the clutter in my house.
1. Figure our how the clutter gets into your home. This is crucial to ending the influx of stuff into your home and your life. A clutter problem will never be resolved if the clutter keeps finding its way in. You may have to ask yourself some hard questions. Are you a shop-a-holic? Do you accept too much stuff from well-meaning friends and relatives? Do you go overboard at garage sales?
2. Have you developed a daily decluttering habit? Many people have cleaning routines, but it's common for decluttering to be overlooked as a daily task. If clutter is an ongoing problem in your house, it might be time to make a 15-minute decluttering session a part of your regular routine. Don't wait until it takes a weeks worth of vacation days and a dumpster rental to declutter. Do it bit by bit and it will never get out of control.
3. Is there a physical issue keeping you from decluttering? It took me a long time to realize that I was suffering from fatigue. I know that I wasn't doing as much each day as I should have been doing because I was frequently tired. I'm taking steps to address that now and have already seen some improvement. If you've got a physical issue, like fatigue, pain or something else, that's keeping you from working to your potential at cleaning and decluttering, then it might be time to look for some solutions.
4. Are there psychological issues keeping you from decluttering? We've all heard of compulsive hoarding, the extreme problem that some people have with clutter. But, sometimes things aren't quite that bad, yet we still have more clutter in our home than we would like. Maybe there's an underlying reason for our inability to let go of stuff. If your clutter issue is severe, it may be time to seek some outside help. If it's not severe, it still might help you to do some emotional and psychological work of your own to address the clutter problem.
Taking a deeper look at the reasons behind the clutter is a good starting point to finding a long-term solution. By all means, continue to do the actual decluttering work. Get the extra stuff out of your house. Organize what's left. But, until you look for the root of the clutter problem, there's a good chance that it will come back time and again.
I'm finding my way to a clutter-free home now and finally, after a year and half on this journey, feel like I'm making real progress. But, it wasn't until I owned up to being fatigued and allowing too much stuff to come into my house that I really started to see progress. I'm hopeful that our home will be more comfortable and pleasant as we go into the coming months and years.