I wouldn’t consider myself a messy person, but I do get into cleaning slumps where it feels like no matter what I scrub or organize, it will never be enough. The dishes are clean, the carpet is vacuumed, but the place still feels messy. Overwhelming. Cluttered. That’s probably because it is.
Psychology Today has an interesting article on why mess causes stress. They detail 8 reasons, but it’s the first one I can relate to the most – and maybe you can, too. “Clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli (visual, olfactory, tactile), causing our senses to work overtime on stimuli that aren’t necessary or important.”
If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “But my house isn’t like an episode of Hoarders!” True, but the concept can’t see the trees for the forest comes to mind here. Some of the clutter we have in our homes and on our counters has become part of the decor.
As I type this, I’m looking at my coffee table, which has two burnt-out candles and a half-empty bottle of lotion. I have no idea how long they’ve been there, but I know I wiped the table off yesterday and put the candles and lotion right back where they were. This is exactly the kind of clutter I’m hoping to get rid of with this list!
This goes for all flat surfaces – my coffee table included. Take a few moments to examine the countertops, tabletops, nightstands, dressers, and any other flat surfaces you store things on. Some things are probably there on purpose, like decor or a bowl for your keys, etc.
A few things might be there because of frequent use, such as salt and pepper on the kitchen table, a glass of water on the nightstand, etc. These items need a different place to live. They don’t have to go far, but they can’t stay there.
As for the rest, well, chances are I’m not going to use that burnt-out candle, right? Right. I better go throw that out real quick…
2. Excessive Decor
This is such a hard one to accept! I won’t lie, I think the decorations in the photo above are super cute. However, now I see it in a new light. All the little decor items feel cluttered, even if they are all lined up perfectly. Unless you’re taking time to stand and stare at the arrangement on the wall, it can add an overwhelming element to an already cluttered room.
When rethinking your decor, remember that the eye needs someplace to rest. This means that if the walls are covered with photos, and the couch is covered in throw pillows, and there’s a stack of old candles on the table, then you’re going to feel overwhelmed even if the place is scrubbed clean!
3. Paper Piles
This seems like an obvious one – throw away your junk mail. But I bet you have a pile on your counter or desk. I’m looking at mine sitting on the kitchen island right now. The junk mail pile has become part of the decor for the kitchen island. I even wiped the counter down this morning and then neatly stacked the mail right where it always is. But no more! I’m clearing out the paper piles, and you should, too!
Ah, laundry. The bane of my existence. I hate pretty much everything about doing laundry. Collecting it. Switching the load. Folding. Putting away. Ugh. Suffice it to say, it’s my least favorite house chore. I know I’m not alone in this. I can’t be the only one who has a dirty laundry pile and an equally as large “wore once for a few hours and it’s still good” pile. However, all good things must come to an end.
If decluttering is a goal, then staying on top of the laundry is a necessary step! I’ll have to remind myself of that when I’m hanging up all of my “not clean but not dirty” sweatshirts later tonight.
5. Visible Cords & Wires
Now, this is one that drives me mad. My husband, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to notice at all. I’m not even sure what half of the dang cords are, I just know I don’t want to accidentally unplug the phone charger or the lamp!
Check out these great ideas for organizing disaster areas that look like the one above. Hide your cords, tape them down, hang them up…the list goes on and on. Not only will it look nicer, but it’ll be safer than having a pile of cords as a potential tripping hazard or even fire hazard.