Having clutter in your home can be harmful to both your physical and mental health. Cluttered spaces often lead to feelings of anxiety and depression. Plus, clutter can also worsen asthma and allergies. You know that clutter isn’t good to have around, but how do you know if you’re the owner of a cluttered house? Here are nine important signs that you’re living in a cluttered home and it’s time to declutter!
1. Cleaning your home is an all-day event
If you’re like most adults, keeping your home clean might not be at the top of your to-do list. It’s understandable to not get excited at the daunting prospect of trying to clean your entire home. However, cleaning your home shouldn’t take all day. If it does, that might be a sign that you’re living in a cluttered home. Cleaning your home is easier when you don’t need to move clutter out of the way and when you can easily find all your cleaning items.
2. Cabinets and drawers aren’t closing
Whether they’re in the kitchen, bathroom, or other room, every home has cabinets and drawers. These are perfect places for storing items and keeping them out of sight. But what if your drawers and cabinets aren’t closing the way they should?
When cabinets and drawers don’t close properly, it’s likely because they’re too full. When my kids’ dresser drawers won’t close, I know it’s time to go through their clothes because they’ve been given too many hand-me-downs and need to decide which clothes they actually want to wear and which clothes can be passed along to another family.
If your emptied drawers still aren’t closing, it could be a sign of drawer creep. This isn’t related to clutter and might be a sign that your drawers are out of alignment. However, overstuffing drawers can also cause problems with furniture, as it can bend drawer tracks or cause the bottoms of drawers to fall out. If your drawers aren’t closing, trouble-shoot before the problem gets worse!
3. Your children are playing in mountains of laundry
It’s human nature to let a basket or two of laundry sit unfolded. But if this chore goes undone too long, it can be a major source of clutter. Over time, you might end up with the dreaded mountains of laundry that start popping up around your home.
For a way to get rid of these piles of clothing, consider donating them to a local charity. Donating household items and clothing to charities help those in need. Plus, many people feel good after taking part in a charitable act.
4. Papers are piling up everywhere
While people do lots of things digitally, there’s still the likelihood that you’ve got papers piling up in your home. It’s easy for a few stacks of bills, forms, and other documents to start popping up. Unfortunately, the thought of sorting your papers becomes more unpleasant as these piles continue growing.
You can get rid of these paper piles by separating them into stacks. Make stacks for documents you need to keep, bills you need to pay, and a third stack for papers to throw away. I have one filing drawer in my desk. When it starts to get full, I know it’s time to go through each file and shred old bills and papers that I no longer need.
5. Things always seem to go missing
Did you know that the average person spends 2.5 days per year looking for lost items? If you’re losing time tracking down lost items, it might be due to clutter. By following tips to organize your home, you’ll spend much less time tracking down your belongings. It’s tempting to think, “I might need that someday,” but ask yourself if you spend more time searching for that “thing you’ll need someday” than it would have taken to run out to the store and pick it up when you needed it. Does it really need to be taking up space in your home?
6. You’re running out of surface space
There’s nothing like having countertops and tabletops with lots of space. With that said, it’s rare for these surfaces to stay that way. Over time, many people watch their surfaces become cluttered with small appliances, mementos, and other items.
As BinThereDumpThatUSA notes, “Clutter sneaks up on you. You buy something you plan on using and never quite get around to it (and spending hard-ending money on it makes it more difficult to get rid of). Maybe you do use it and even after it has served its purpose, you keep it around. Sometimes we hang onto stuff for sentimental value—a child’s first toys, school projects, knickknacks from relatives, and birthday gifts. They all have meaning, but mostly they now collect dust.”
Declutter does mean making hard choices. Sentimentality or sanity? Time or treasures? Tackle small areas of your house at a time. Sometimes it helps to ask a friend for help in deciding what needs to stay and what could probably go.
7. There is no room for a car in your garage
Has your car become a space for boxes, storage bins, and anything but your car? If so, you’re not alone. One study found that 25% of people with two-car garages can’t fit their vehicles inside of them. By getting the clutter out of your garage, you can experience the joy of keeping your car safe in this space.
8. You don’t remember what your floors look like
Throughout life, it’s easy to forget things. However, one of those things you forget should never be how your floors look. Almost everyone is guilty of setting things on the floor from to time. The clutter problem happens when these items don’t get picked up. If you’re unable to step freely on clean floors, clutter might be what’s to blame.
At the end of every night, I do a quick walk through the house to pick up any toys, lost socks, and spare pencils on the floor and then turn on my robot vacuum to chase the dirt and dust bunnies away. Five minutes a night keeps the clutter off the floor!
9. You’re surrounded by dirty dishes
One of the biggest sources of clutter is often found in the kitchen. Letting a few dirty dishes pile up is human nature. However, this problem can quickly get out of hand. Before long, you’re staring down a fast-growing pile of dirty dishes. Dirty dishes aren’t only hard to look at, but they can also attract cockroaches and ants.
A lot of dirty plates and bowls can also create an unpleasant smell that lingers in your home. Fortunately, you can avoid dishes piling up by placing them in the dishwasher. I try to put dishes in the dishwasher after each meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner). This way, it’s usually just a few dishes each time and takes me only five minutes, but the kitchen counters are clean. By running your dishwasher once it’s full, you might also save a little money on your water bill.
I also try to wash any dishes that don’t go in the dishwasher at the end of the night. Even if it’s just a couple pots, it’s easier to clean those dishes and put them away than to let them pile up on the counter into an overwhelming mess. Tackle clutter and messes while they are small and they are easier to deal with!
It’s understandable if clutter has taken over your home. If any of these signs that you’re living in a cluttered home jumped out at you, do something about it! When it’s time to win the fight against clutter, follow these tips. You’ll soon find yourself living in a spacious and decluttered home.
What signs that you’re living in a cluttered home have you noticed? What tips would you share for avoiding clutter?