Clutter: it’s the bane of every homeowner’s existence. Whether it’s the bags of long-outgrown clothes piling up in the closet, the boxes of miscellaneous paperwork in the office, the junk drawers, old electronics, expired medicines, or long-abandoned workout equipment, clutter is the most imposing threat to the comforts, spaciousness, and energy of the home.
It’s also seemingly unavoidable. Like Sysyphus eternally rolling the boulder up the hill, we seem to collect more and clutter no matter how many donations, yard sales, or trips to the dumpster we manage to make.
It’s been said many times that clutter can negatively affect your state of mind. It’s true, of course–clutter infringes on creativity, mood, and relaxation. It weighs us down and clouds our thoughts.
But there’s another downside of clutter that often goes unmentioned. To put it bluntly, clutter disrespects the home. What was likely designed by a knowledgeable architect to maximize sunlight, spaciousness, movement, and flow suddenly becomes dulled by boxes and junk. The very essence of the home and its carefully plotted spaces becomes corrupted. Clutter infringes on the home’s natural strengths, and for that reason alone it’s worth it for every homeowner to take it seriously and let their home shine the way it was designed to do.
Easier said than done, of course. Clutter is like the trick candle that never goes out, the basket of laundry that overflows just days after it’s been cleaned, the snow that piles back up on the driveway mere hours after you shoveled. It’s never ending. It resists all of your efforts to downsize, taunting you with its indestructibility.
So instead of thinking about how we can change the reality of clutter, it’s worth it to instead think about how we live in the first place. Taking a different approach to our homes, storage spaces, and habits is a great way to destroy clutter before it appears. Here are some ideas, tips, and products, geared towards making each room of the house spacier and less dependent on the physical baggage that weighs them down.
Rethink the Living Room
One of the reasons living rooms can gather so much clutter is because they serve so many purposes by default. Whereas bedrooms are for sleeping, dining rooms are for eating, and offices are for working, the living room is a sort of potpourri of anything that may fall outside the bounds of other rooms. A living room can simultaneously be a hosting space, a video-game room, a library, a wind-down room, an art gallery, and an entertainment room all at once. That’s a lot to put on one room, and yet we instinctively use our living rooms for all these purposes, without even noticing even though we’re tripping over video game wires and constantly pushing that art-fair sculpture out of the way. The best way to declutter a living room is to carefully define what purpose it should serve, and delegate other activities to other rooms.
Go Minimalist with Meal Delivery Kits
There’s something great about knowing you have a pantry full of snacks. It’s not as exciting, however, knowing you have a pantry full of old paprika, sticky olive oil bottles, and you-never-know-when-you’ll-need-them cake mixes you may or may not have inherited from your own mother’s kitchen. Meal kits offer a refreshingly modern and minimalistic way to eat home cooked meals without crowding your kitchen. Each recipe is delivered to your home with exactly the amount of ingredients, sauces, and spices needed for the meal. Taking advantage of the top meal delivery plans allows you to avoid being left with half-full bottles of oils and spices–thus leaving more room for the stuff you really want in there–snacks.
Go Digital in the Office
The best way to prevent paper-based clutter is to nip it in the bud. Start receiving your bills electronically, take photos of important documents and upload them to a secure cloud, and while you’re at it, maybe rethink the brilliance of all those college essays you’re preserving in the event that–wait, why are you saving those again? Okay, if they’re that important, take photos of them and upload them with the rest of your documents. Buy a shredder in the meantime, and for every old pay stub or tax document that you upload to the cloud, watch that infuriating clutter turn to spaghetti.