Monday, December 31, 2012

A Clutter-Free Kitchen

My kitchen was out of control. Every time I needed to use a spice, I had to move something out of the way, or I knocked a jar off the shelf. My utensil drawer was a jumbled mess. There was all kinds of crap covering the dining room table. Then I happened across the book It's All Too Much – An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff by Peter Walsh who is a professional organizer from TLC's CleanSweep (which I have never watched). As I read it I took many notes. Here is what I got out of it.

Work from the vision of the life you want to live. I saw myself living in a home that was neat, tidy, calm, and peaceful. That vision does not include crammed closets and piles of stuff on the dining room table.

A bit of psychology here, you really do need to understand why you hang on to certain stuff and move beyond it. There are a total of 10 excuses people have to explain why they can't get rid of stuff; here are the first three:

1) I might need it one day. It's this kind of stuff that keeps us from living in the present.

2) It's too important to let go. If you really value an item that much, you need to show it the honor and respect it deserves. For example: Are your family heirlooms hidden in the closet? Does the place this "important item" holds in our life truly reflect the value you claim it has?

3) I can't get rid of it – it's worth too much money. Holding on to the item feels like holding on to the money you spent – somehow. But these items have lost their usefulness. Now you're throwing good space after bad money. Clutter robs us of real value. Think about how much you pay for your house in rent or mortgage. Every square foot of your house is costs you money. Also consider what that clutter now is costing you in ways far beyond the initial financial outlay? In stress? In your health? In your relationships with your family members? In embarrassment?

To get going on decluttering your home, the plan of action is called FAST.
F = Fix a time for your initial declutter
A = Anything not used for 12 months (get rid of it)
S = Someone else's stuff. You are NOT keeping it! (get rid of it)
T = Trash! (no brainer, get rid of it)

Clothes: when you're trying to decide what can stay. Only keep clothes that fit you well NOW, they make you feel good when you wear them, or you get compliments. This book really is about living in the moment – DO NOT save clothes that fit you before or will fit after you lose 5 pounds.

Clothes Hanger Trick: The clothes that are left over after you have weeded them out, turn the hanger the wrong way. After you wear each item, return the hanger to the proper position. After six months it will be obvious which are the clothes you should keep and which ones to discard.

For stuff like books, DVDs, etc. DO NOT go out and buy new storage units to organize them. (Peter Walsh is NOT into buying organizers and shelves; he is into getting rid of all the stuff we really do not need or use.) Use the bookcases and organizers you already have and let that be the guide as to how much to keep. Keep weeding stuff out until it fits in the space. Walsh has a ratio rule that he uses to help you get there. Once you have achieved your goal, every time you buy a new book, one has to go.

To keep magazines under control, limit yourself to three monthly subscriptions. Only keep three months worth. When the new one arrives, recycle the oldest. Don't keep catalogs. If you want something, order it NOW. You can always look it up online if you need to order later. And if you rip stuff out of magazines, set a limit! For example, I will only keep 10 dessert recipes in my file folder. After you have 10, new one goes in, old one goes out!

Kitchen utensils – If you can't get rid of it, put it in a box and if you use it in the next month, it can go back in the drawer.

These are just a few of his tips. This book made an impression on me and since I read it, I have been working on a kitchen drawer or a cupboard a day. It's really exciting and I'm really looking forward to moving beyond the kitchen!

Commit to having a clutter-free home. Clarity, perspective, focus, and a sense of openness all come with a clutter-free space. What better way to start the new year than with a tidy, organized kitchen? All it takes is some motivation and a commitment to do just a bit every day.

You should not have anything in your home that is not beautiful or functional.
– William Morris

Spice area is cluttered and messy!

Much better, I can see what I need!

Not all that bad, but I can do better!
This really is much better.
Junk drawer before. Peter says you shouldn't even have a junk drawer!
Junk drawer after. Now if I can only keep it this way!

All my baking stuff including sugars – before. What a mess!
Baking cabinet, still too much stuff! Going to have to work on this one.

You get the idea. My kitchen is less cluttered but I know I can do more. I have way too many different types of sugars. I think I'll take half of them, put them in a box in the garage. If I don't use it in a month or so, toss them. Do you really need a dozen different types of sweeteners? Six different types of salt?

No comments:

Post a Comment