This Decluttering Hack Will Help Keep Your Space As Tidy As Possible

Most of us may dream of living in a tidy, minimalist home full of white — or negative — space, but the truth is, our living spaces are far from that. Life often gets in the way of good intentions, and we find ourselves holding on to things that we may no longer need or acquiring items that are, in fact, surplus to our requirements. As an example, New York Times writer Jane E. Brody talks about a friend who had to go through their mother's things after she died, only to find "eight identical jars of mustard, five dozen cans of pineapple chunks, 72 rolls of paper towels, 11 walkers and four wheelchairs."

There are a number of reasons why clutter is not something you should embrace — and not just because it is a potentially wasteful thing to do. In a 2015 study, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine indicated that cluttered bedrooms could have a negative impact on the quality of sleep. Cleveland Clinic further points out that clutter can be a source of chronic distraction. Clinical psychologist Dawn Potter, PsyD points out that "A cluttered environment can be very straining because of all of the objects competing for our attention" and that, as a result, you're constantly shifting your focus from one thing to another — making it difficult, if not impossible to either keep your mind on one task or to even relax and enjoy yourself. 

How to keep clutter from creeping up

Life Storage Blog recommends that the best way to deal with clutter is first to get rid of all your surplus stuff by going through all the things you may have, then taking stock of every item to determine whether or not you actually want to keep, sell or donate, and toss. Another way to declutter would be to take the advice of Japanese tidying expert Marie Kondo, who turned "spark joy" into a rallying cry for those who want to cut back and simplify their lives, per The Guardian

Equally important is keeping your home a clutter-free zone once everything that is surplus has either been disposed of or put away. Make sure you have a designated spot for every item you bring into your home. Clean and Scentsible points to the saying, "Everything has a place and everything in its place," as a way to ensure that everything is put away as soon as it is used or introduced. Refrain from picking up items you either don't need just because they happen to be on sale or that you might need for some future, unspecified purpose because that item's purpose may never be fulfilled.