The Never Ending Fight Against Clutter
As the parent of small children, one of the ongoing battles I know I can never win is the fight against clutter of all types. Whether it is the little toys they get in their fast food meals or toys their grandparents always spring on us with each visit, the fight against clutter never ends. Just when I think I am over-reacting I read that the average 10 year old owns 238 toys but only plays with an average of 12 of them on any given day.
I would swear that mine add daily to the hoard while scattering the rest around like so much multi-shaped plastic confetti. But how do we combat something that is such a central part of our lives? This year I am on a de-cluttering goal and I am simply dragging the rest of the family along with me. Here are the stats and tricks I use as part of the battle.
Fight Against Clutter – The Clothes Closet
This is the first place I will tackle in any anti-clutter mood. If you start with someone else’s closet (try your husbands or your teenage daughters) it will be easier when it is time to tackle your own.
Fact: Shopping malls outnumber high schools in America and 93% of teenage girls say that shopping is their number one form of entertainment.
Fact: An average of eight years out of your life will be spent shopping ladies, and the average woman has 30 outfits sitting in her closet right now.
Solution: Seasonal cleaning out of that closet is a step in the right direction. Grab a couple of boxes and label them “keep”, “donate” and “store.” All of our closets are full of clothes we bought on impulse but hated when we brought them home. Donate them, and let someone actually enjoy them. If those clothes don’t fit you any longer (don’t we all have “skinny” jeans?) then donate them. Too many winter coats and sweaters as summer is heading our way? Store them and get them out of the way of that nasty closet clutter.
Fight Against Clutter – The Kids Rooms
This is clutter-central so go in prepared for tears, tantrums and last minute negotiations. But stand firm, this is clutter that multiplies in the middle of the night, so toss those toys that they have outgrown or destroyed with love.
Fact: Even though the average American home has tripled in size since the 1950s, and we are having fewer kids, we find that 1 in every 10 Americans has to rent a storage unit for their extra stuff. Add in the fact that a quarter of us can’t stuff one more thing in our roomy 2-car garages, let alone put a car in it.
Fact: Research shows that we lose an average of nine things a day, misplaced amongst all the clutter in our lives. It adds up to 153 days over a lifetime. That doesn’t even count the number of times your kid has swallowed something he shouldn’t.
Solution: Resolve some of this by cleaning out the kid’s room. Go over shelves and pull out games with missing pieces, toss old papers sitting in desk drawers no longer needed and non-functioning pens or broken crayons. You can have the kids pick out McDonalds toy to keep and donate the rest to a local children’s hospital or hospice. Pull out of the closet and under the bed those clothes they have outgrown and either donate to Goodwill or pass on to family or friends. If you have smaller kids who might wear them, box them up until they can do so. Toys and furniture that are broken are either repaired or go out the door. No negotiations or tears allowed!
That should get you started in the fight against clutter. Spring always bring the desire to clean up, de-clutter and spruce up in our home. With the abundance all our families have today, why not rethink that next purchase, re-purpose those old clothes and free ourselves from the monster of clutter.
What's your opinion?