A few weeks ago I wrote about paperwork taking up precious counter space, but let’s be honest – for most people it’s not simply paperwork cluttering the counter tops and table tops, it’s life…. in every form it can take. Bills, pens, pencils, keys, homework, the newspaper, magazines, books, spare change, photographs, ticket stubs, fliers, coupons, random items we aren’t even sure how they got there or where they go and so much more that, yeah, it can get out of control very quickly.
But it’s also not just counter tops that can be collection points – ANY flat surface is a magnet for junk. So, on places where you don’t want clutter to collect, keep just one or 2 items so it’s obvious when something gets put down that doesn’t belong. And then be proactive and put that item away.
If the space just naturally has more than 1 or 2 items, keep a small basket or bowl or jar to keep the junk contained. Usually a space gets cluttered over time – this one small single item turns in to multiple items that turns in to a pile that gets bigger and then maybe another pile gets added to it and eventually you can’t even see the counter/desk/table top.
Believe it or not, keeping the items contained in something (as long as it’s not a large container) will actually make going through the items less overwhelming. When clutter gets out of hand is when the out of control feeling starts and our natural tendency is to push-off taking care of it until another day. To combat this, set aside a specific time each week to go through that collection bin/jar/bowl and deal with the items right away. Put them where they go.
Now, go look around your house and see what surface needs to be cleared.