LIVE: 5 Steps For Couples To Conquer Clutter

Friday, February 09, 2018
GoLocal LIVE

Kristin MacRae
Organization and efficiency expert Kristin MacRae of Organizing in RI says when couples are disorganized it can cause stress in the home and in a relationship.

Here are five steps to help couples conquer clutter in their homes. 

1. Talk it out. 

MacRae says talking about your belongings, how you grew up and how you want your home to operate can really help clear the air.

2. Don’t blame each other.

Finger pointing is never helpful. MacRae says take responsibility for your own clutter.

3.Tackle it together

Find days and times that you and your partner can work on community areas like the garage and basement together.

4. Respect your partner’s stuff

Don’t tell your partner they need to get rid of items and don’t toss or donate stuff that doesn’t belong to you. Focus on your process. 

5. Set a timeline to get rid of it

MacRae suggests setting deadlines to donate or throw out items to encourage the process. 

  • Paper in any form

    This was the most challenging space! 91% of people surveyed stated paper was their biggest headache. Just because we are in this digital age, people think paper is going to disappear. As long as we have mail, and paper at work, kid’s school papers, etc., paper is going to be around for a very long time. We need to develop systems to organize and maintain our paper clutter.

     
  • Closets

     To stay on top of an organized closet, you should be emptying your closet twice a year. Switch your closets in the spring and fall. This will force you to take inventory of the contents of the closet. You’ll never know what’s hiding in the back corners of your closet unless you take everything out.

     
  • Kitchen

    When was the last time you emptied your entire food closet down to bare shelves? I asked this question at my last presentation and not one person could remember. Some said the last time their food pantry was empty was when they first moved in and others stated it had been years. Have garbage bags on hand. In every kitchen I organize, we throw out at least three garbage bags of expired food.

     
  • Basement

    This is the black hole of the house. If an item doesn’t have a home, it usually gets thrown in the basement on a shelf. You’ll walk into the basement one day and wonder how did it get so bad? The first thing you need to do in the basement is declutter, then categorize items and then decide how you want to function going forward. Measure your space and choose shelving units that will fit what you need to hold. Block off 3 hours and don’t leave the basement during that time. Staying in the room will keep you focused.

     
  • Garage

    The garage is an area similar to the basement. The garage tends to be a drop spot for outdoor items and usually there isn’t any organization.  Most tend to regret not organizing the garage when they find they can’t park their cars in the garage in the winter months when it’s snowing. Put this project on your to-do list this fall.

     
  • Office at work

    Most will say they don’t have time to tackle this area, but think about the time you are wasting by not being organized. The office can be challenging for some because you have paper, closet space, desk space and bookshelves. Most get overwhelmed and stressed just thinking about tackling this space. They think it’s easier to function this way than to actually tackle the project.

     
  • Kid’s rooms

    If your kids are over the age of 6, incorporate them in this process. If you don’t have the skill set to help them get organized, call in a professional to work one-on-one with them. If your kids are craving structure, it’s time for them to get organized.

     
  • Attic

    Another one of those black holes like the basement. You rarely venture into the attic and you continue to toss items in there that don’t have a home. The garage, basement and attic are really challenging areas because you don’t spend much time in them. Think about how you want to function in these spaces. Streamline and maximize this space. This room should have a purpose.

     
  • Linen closets

    When items are just thrown into this closet without being contained, chaos will ensue. Empty the entire closet, categorize, itemize and then measure the space. Purchase containers to match the space and what you have to hold. It’s all about maximizing space in this closet and being able to put your hand on something without moving five other items out of the way.

     
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