Do you feel as if you’re losing your home to clutter? If so, it’s time to tidy up and change a few habits. Even if you’re not particularly bothered by the clutter in your apartment, you could probably benefit from a thorough tidying. Decluttering is a two-step process. The first step is to purge some of your belongings. After doing this, the key is to better organize and store your stuff. Here are some effective tips for doing both.
Follow the “90/90 rule”
Popularized by The Minimalists’ Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, the “90/90 rule” requires you to ask two questions about objects you’re not sure you need. The first: have you used it in the past 90 days? And the second: will you use it in the next 90 days? If you answer both questions with a confident “no,” part with the object in question.
Ask yourself other questions
Beyond the 90/90 rule, there are several other questions you can ask about objects you’re deciding whether to keep or remove from your apartment? Some of these are difficult to consider, as they induce regret in some types of people. If you were shopping right now and saw an item you hardly use and don’t love, would you buy it? Try not to let the fact that you already own it influence your decision. The money you paid for the object is what economists consider a sunk cost. If you were moving to a new apartment or a new town, would you pack up and move this item with you? If you would sell or donate the item instead, maybe you should sell or donate it now to reduce clutter.
Fix or ditch broken objects
Think of an item in your apartment that is broken. How long has it been broken? Why haven’t you repaired it yet? Do you know how to fix it? If not, do you know how much a professional would charge to repair it? If it’s been months since the object broke and your answers to the last three questions are “I don’t know,” “no,” and “no,” get rid of it.
Assign a home to everything
Every object you own should have a designated storage place. This speeds up the tidying process. It also makes tidying relatively mindless, allowing you to better concentrate on a TV show or podcast while picking up. Whenever you bring something new home, assign it a new place immediately. Putting things in their proper storage places immediately following use is the most effective way to stay clutter-free. But life happens. Just make an effort to pick up and store anything you’ve left out at the end of each day.
Create mantras as necessary
Those of us with hoarding tendencies may find mantras helpful for reducing clutter and preventing its future accumulation. Minimalists are less likely to require such reminders. Find mantras that work for you, pinning them somewhere visible so you see them. Keep them on your home office desk or refrigerator desk until they’re ingrained in your mind. Live by them. Inspiring examples include “Everything in its place” and “Just in case will probably never happen.” If you’re especially giving, another motivating mantra to live by: “Could someone else use this more than me?”
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