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We all struggle with clutter in some way or another. You try to keep it under control but it just keeps coming back like a mosquito buzzing in your ear on a relaxing Saturday afternoon. Know what I mean? Just like sprays and candles that keep mosquitoes at bay, simple organizing tools that can help you keep clutter at bay. 

The most important tool you can use to manage clutter is to diagnose why the clutter accumulates. You may look around your home and just see piles of junk everywhere but your mess is revealing much more about you than you think. The good news is once you know what you're dealing with it's so much easier to address it.

Read through the attributes of each type of clutter below. Then try the starting step(s) suggested to begin to control clutter in your environment.

New Clutter: An increase in the amount of clutter around you points to a lack focus and direction. This could be caused by an over-committed schedule or a recent event that has affected your schedule and priorities. Trying to do too much can cause a clutter build-up in no time flat. 

large scale clutter
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Sometimes we are unaware of the role we are playing in our clutter build-up simply because we are trying to keep ahead of the pressures on our schedules and emotions. The good news is that this is one of the easiest forms of clutter to address, and once dealt with, rarely reoccurs.

  • Starting Steps: Make your bed every morning. Never leave the house with dirty dishes in the sink. Put all of your clothes away every day, by the end of the day if not before. Do this for at least 21 days (which is as long as it takes humans to create a new habit). You'll see great improvements in your home and your attitude within days!

Old Clutter: If you're paying for storage to hang on to outdated memorabilia, excessive photo albums and unnecessary papers then you're probably holding on to a few hard-and-fast attitudes and ideas as well. Collectors that own more possessions than they can store or display in their homes may be holding on to other things in their lives that no longer serve them. Usually it's the fear of letting go that keeps those belonging and attitudes in place.

cassette tapes
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It's hard for anyone to let go of valuables, regardless of whether it's a treasured antique or their grade school artwork. But think about it. If you are storing things in boxes, or storage units, then they're not enhancing your daily life. And think about how long you've had them stored away. 

  • Starting Steps: Let's play a game. Set a timer for 30 minutes, grab a box of those precious treasures and sort through them. Pick up each item and ask yourself if it would be one of the items you would have to take with you if you suddenly had to leave your home and you only had 5 minutes to decide what to take. Make a Yes, No and Maybe pile. This will motivate you to look at what you're keeping and why, and to tackle your abundances one box at a time.

general messinessCredit: rooshut.blogspot.comDisarray:  Usually clutter occurs when you have too much stuff and not enough places to keep it. But sometimes that's not the case. Sometimes a room can appear cluttered when it's just plain messy. There's not much stuff around but it's just not stored in a logical order. There are plenty of places to put stuff away, but it's not put away.

Messiness is a sign of confusion. Identifying when and how the messiness started can point to unsettled areas of life. Another factor that affects how messy a room looks is whether the messiness is chronic or temporary. Once the source is located, putting systems in place to deal with the messiness is quick and easy.

  • Starting Steps: Grab a trash bag and set your timer for 10 minutes. Quickly move around your living area and collect as much trash as you can. The goal is to fill the bag in the time allotted. 

Broken or Damaged Stuff: Keeping items that are broken or damaged is a sign that a person has experienced disappointments in life. These items are physical representations of damaged emotions, and lack of self-esteem or trust. Clearing the clutter can rejuvenate a person’s desire to care for themselves and give them an optimistic attitude towards current and future disheartening experiences.

broken or damaged
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  • Starting Steps: Take a conscious inventory of your keepsakes. Think about your memories associated with the piece, especially broken items. Damaged and broken items are not valuable to anyone and they need to be tossed to make room for new good things coming your way!

When a person is disorganized in any (and/or every) area of their life, (in their home, in their office, in their car, even in their gym bag), it indicates that they are putting obstacles in the path of progress in all areas of their life. There are many reasons for the clutter, but many times the fear of failure keeps a person buried their unwanted and unneeded possessions. Ironically clearing the clutter is a great confidence builder and can be a means to conquering fear.

No matter what kind of clutter you live with, recognize that it is speaking volumes about what’s going on in your life. Classifying the clutter and choosing to make a change can silence the stuff, and clear the clutter