According to science, clutter may be linked to anxiety and depression. Clutter can contribute to how a person feels about their homes, workplaces, and about themselves. Messy homes and workplaces will leave a person anxious and overwhelmed. However, clutter is rarely recognized as a significant source of stress in a person’s life, according to Sherrie Bourg Carter Psy. D. in her article in Psychology Today.
Ever find a cluttered, messy house hard to come home to? With a new year just ahead, Maria Baer, founder of The Baer Minimalist, shares tips on organizing to make your home more clean and comfortable.
Rule 1: Organize first, then shop for necessities
Buying new items for the house can be tempting, but The Baer Minimalist encourages you to resist. The priority is to declutter. Then, you can get creative with what can be used as storage. Finally, you can go to the store for the finishing touch.
Rule 2: Reconsider what to keep
Being prepared is always important, but hanging onto items that you may or may not use can actually “add to the visual clutter of your space,” according to Baer’s blog. Getting rid of excess items can be an opportunity to pass down something valuable to another person.
“A lot of people struggle with donating items because of the investment they made or the fact that they received it as a gift,” Baer said. “But there are so many organizations here in town that would benefit from those items and could put them directly in the hands of someone in need.”
When getting rid of items, Baer suggests creating designated piles. The Baer Minimalist website has printouts of possible categories during the organizing process.
Rule 3: Start small
Clutter can be overwhelming, and it can be challenging to find where to start. The Baer Minimalist recommends starting somewhere small to declutter.
“Don’t tackle your memory boxes first,” Baer said. “That’s generally the hardest thing to do, and it can totally derail somebody from getting organized.”
Baer recommends starting with low hanging fruit, like cleaning out a pantry. You can throw away expired items and donate canned goods to a food bank. Another good place to start, according to Baer, is the bathroom. Throw away any expired products or any you know will not get used. If cleaning the pantry or bathroom still seems daunting, start even smaller, like a drawer.
Rule 4: Keep similar items together
Categorizing is a great way to simplify the cleaning and organizing process, according to Baer’s blog. Items that are randomly placed can be easily lost and forgotten, and then you will end up having to buy another. Instead of spending money and energy searching for items in your home, designate a spot for things so they don’t get wasted.
Rule 5: Focus on function first, then the aesthetic
Everyone lives a different lifestyle, and sometimes placing items in a particular way just for the aesthetics can be impractical. Baer encourages being mindful of what will work best for your lifestyle.
“Stay true to yourself and your family’s needs so that you can easily maintain the system you put in place,” Baer said in her blog.
Rule 6: Put systems in place for kids
People often believe kids do not know how to organize properly, but Baer says otherwise. Even having kids understand where their toys or craft supplies go is a step toward helping them understand organizing.
“It’s amazing how little kids thrive knowing where things are and having a sense of order in their life,” Baer said. “Even if it’s something you struggle with as an adult, I think it’s a gift you can give your kids to work on together.”
Organizing can be difficult at first, but keep these tips in mind can make the process easier. Baer offers several organizing services such as setting up a new home, decluttering to prepare for listing a home, creating space for a new addition, and more. She also offers phone consultations and virtual sessions.
Visit The Baer Minimalist website for further information and resources. If you are interested in receiving professional organizing help, schedule a consult on her webpage at www.thebaerminimalist.com/contact.
Be Well Indy Content Creator Intern | Former Purdue Marketing & Media Editorial Copywriter Intern | Former The Purdue Exponent Campus Editor