Tips and Tricks for Clutter for our Lifers

During a recent house meeting with our Lifers who in the REAL Houses, we were lucky enough to be joined by professional organizer and decorator, Courtney Bassett. Courtney gave many good tips and tricks for clearing up clutter, which can many times disrupt our lives and make us feel unorganized.

She gave the alarming fact that humans spend 153 days of their lives looking for things over our lifetime. This clutter that surrounds so many aspects of our lives is formed by habits, but these habits can be changed by implementing new routines and rhythms.

Courtney splits up the concept of clutter into four different categories: physical, mental, time, and financial clutter. Physical clutter forms around living spaces such as kitchens, bedrooms, and other places where things can accumulate. Some of the tips that she mentions for clearing this type of clutter is to make sure that everything you own has a home. By organizing things in this way, you spend less time looking for things and can keep your spaces organized and clean. She also suggests a one-in-one-out policy for clothing and shoes. This helps people get rid of things that are unused or forgotten about. This policy also keeps things organized by making sure that everything has a home either in the closet or dresser. Finally, it is important to feel comfortable only having a few things that are meaningful to you, rather than collecting many things that are hard to keep track of and store.

Mental and time clutter have many connections to one another. To tackle mental clutter, it is helpful to break down different aspects of your life into what you HAVE to do and what you WANT to do. After doing this, you can schedule time for each thing that you have to do first, and then making sure that you schedule time for what you want to do for your mental health. Knowing what will help your mental health is imperative – after a long day of work and completing daily tasks, scheduling enough time to do the things that you love is a huge deciding factor in good mental health. This also helps to organize your time so that you are being as productive as possible throughout the day and are spending your time in a positive way. Finally, a good habit to get into is practicing gratitude by writing down what makes you happy or grateful each day. This helps to reflect on a busy day and find the good amongst a hard or stressful day.

Financial clutter has to do with how and when you spend your money. A lot of people struggle with keeping track of where their money goes and how it is being spent. To help with this, creating a budget is a good first step and can help limit the amount of unnecessary spending. In addition, simply writing all purchases down can be a great way to hold yourself accountable and understand exactly what you are spending your money on. This will allow you to see where you could be saving money, as well as where any extra money that you have could go toward. It also helps to be thoughtful about when you spend money, and perhaps scheduling a specific spending day for your week so that all of your shopping is done at once.

While some of these concepts may seem overwhelming, making little changes throughout your day can help to reduce the clutter in your lives. Cutting down on clutter helps to conserve more energy for bigger and more important parts of your life like keeping up with recovery, finding and keeping a job, and taking care of family.

(Picture: Courtney in 2017 as she was decorating our very first recovery transitional house)!