I CAN'T GET A HANDLE ON MY CLUTTER

I CAN'T GET A HANDLE ON MY CLUTTER - This Wild Home

It’s a bit of an epidemic over here. Does anyone else feel like clutter is the glitter of adult life?

As an acting minimalist of two years, I still have not managed to cut down on clutter. To be fair, my minimalism has been flawed. It’s been riddled with retail therapy, indecision about what is truly important, what I truly like, and what I truly need. It’s a big reason I don’t talk about it too much. I’ve spent a lot of time feel like I’m not a real minimalist because of all my ups and downs.

But clutter is real. It’s a daily struggle in our home. It was a big reason we adopted the minimalist way in the first place. Though, we’ve never actually been too diligent about staying on top of it.

You can purge the big stuff all day long, but if you’re not focusing on the little things coming into your home, you won’t be able to effectively handle the build up of stuff.

Big items may take up space, but clutter takes up time.

It’s driving me crazy and making me feel that constant nag of having something to do while also making me feel like there’s no point because clutter is “just a part of life.”

So I had to figured something out. I can’t let clutter win. I have to find a way to manage it. I need it to be a longterm solution, not a quick fix purge.

You can purge the big stuff all day long, but if you’re not focusing on the little things coming into your home, you won’t be able to effectively handle the build up of stuff.   Big items may take up space, but clutter takes up time - This Wild Home

HOW I’M HANDING MY CLUTTER

As I walk through my home and imagine what my counters would look like if I have no clutter, I see that it’s more peaceful. I can see that my mind feels calmer and my house looks nicer which makes me feel better. More recently, I’ve been seeing how I can actually achieve this dream of a clutter free home.

I do believe clutter is inevitable and that’s why I believe it’s time to accept that there is no real fix to clutter. It has to be a constant effort, but I can’t let it take over my life. I needed to find solutions that were realistic and simple. I needed to accept that I will always be working on clutter, but maybe I can make that work easier and more effective than it is right now.

I CAN'T GET A HANDLE ON MY CLUTTER - This Wild Home
  • GET A CLUTTER CATCHER | The epitome of clutter is crap thrown somewhere it doesn’t belong. It’s an inevitable part of life unless you’re perfect. So rather than throw crap on my counter, in the closet, behind a chair, under the bed, what-have-you, I’m going to throw it in a container instead.

    The key to a good clutter catcher is that the container itself should be beautiful. It should be something where you won’t be able to see the clutter, but also something that looks nice in plain view so it doesn’t go forgotten.

    This is also not to be a space where clutter lives but rather visits for x amount of time (maybe a week, maybe until it’s full) until your clutter container audit day. On this day, go through the box and either find a permanent home for the clutter or get rid of it.

    This is a good way to avoid letting clutter build up for too long and to not have to look at it while you’re going about your day. Your house can finally be tidy again!

  • WHAT DOESN’T HAVE A HOME MUST GO | I’ve noticed that clutter happens when I don’t know what to do with something.

    • I have mail that I’m not going to get to yet so it clutters up the counter.

    • I have toys that don’t have a specific place so they clutter up the shelves.

    • I have miscellaneous items that are haphazardly thrown into closets because I just can’t figure out where to put them.

    This is clutter. This is how it happens. Either I have things I know I want or need, but just haven’t found a home for or I have stuff I don’t even realize exists that I through in with everything else to deal with later.

    So all of the stuff that has no home needs to be placed into two piles: the keep pile and toss (or donate) pile. No maybes. Just Yes and No.

    I’ve needed to evaluate why I’m holding onto things and whether or not they are truly needed. Does it have no home because deep down I don’t really need or want it? Or is it simply that, even though I like it, I haven’t been able to find an ideal home yet?

    Either way, in order to avoid clutter, everything needs a home. So whether I need to create a mail catcher, find a place to hang up my camera, create a more stationary location for my computer, I’ve had to make sure that the important things have a forever home. More importantly, I’ve had to evaluate whether or not some of these items are even deserving of a home within my home at all.

  • KEEP UP THROUGHOUT THE DAY | This does not sound fun, but boy is it effective. Cleaning up, even minimally throughout the day keeps your home feeling refreshed and clutter free.

    I have started cleaning up after every meal. I make sure things are put away (properly in their place). It’s a quick little tidy, not a huge deep clean. But putting even just 10 - 30 minutes into a little declutter here and there really makes all the difference.

    I like to start by getting dishes done, moving to counters, and then to living spaces. I also try to make sure I don’t go to bed with clutter around the house so I can start my day simply with a cup of coffee and no cleaning at all.

    It brings a lot more peace being able to time block things that way. It’s a nice moment for movement and a break from whatever I was previously focused on which is another added bonus to the whole thing.

  • PUT THINGS WHERE THEY ARE MOST USED | When something is too inconvenient to put away, it turns into clutter. For me it was clothes on the bathroom floor. My closet is too far away to motivate me to put my clothes away. Since I mostly get dressed in the bathroom, I’d put clothes in a nice little pile in the bathroom saying “I’ll get to it later” but later would never come and then the neat pile turned into a dirty pile of clean clothes that would get over washed because that’s easier than putting them away.

    So I moved my clothes’ home. They are now living in the bathroom and they are getting put away consistently. Simply moving my clothes to the place they were taken on and off most made it so they were actually being put away.

    We also moved y son’s toys to the living room. He would always bring them from his room into the living room and then he’d go to bed and we’d be stuck with toys that had no home in the living room. Now that they’re in the living room, they can be put away neatly forever and always.

    The places things are used most in your home may not look the same as everyone else. I think the idea of conventional storage gets in our way of organizing in a way that works for us. It may take some creativity, but putting things where they are most used by you and your family will make it so much easier to actually put things where they belong when you’re done using it.

  • THINK BEFORE YOU BUY | If you didn’t know, I love to shop. I am an emotional person and I tend to daydream about how specific items will “improve” my life. I see something at the store that I didn’t realize existed until that moment and all of a sudden I HAVE to have it.

    So then I wind up wasting money and space on things that I never really needed (or wanted) to begin with. It creates work and effort that I didn't need to have.

    So I’m trying to be mindful of what I’m bringing into my home in the first place. I like to keep a list of things I truly need and only buy those things when I really need them. I have a running list of things that need to be upgraded and holes within my home that need to be filled. Anything that is not on that list does not come into my home. Otherwise, I know I’m contributing to my own clutter problems and that really just won’t do.

  • BE DILIGENT | The biggest thing about clutter maintenance is that it takes effort. It takes time to really stay on top of it. There is always going to be clutter. That won’t ever go away. But, if you’re diligent, you may find yourself less overwhelmed.

    It may seem like a fruitless endeavor, trying to keep your home clutter free, but just like making your bed and putting on clothes in the morning, there are some tasks that need to be accepted as part of your life. There are some things that need to be on your daily to-dos.

    Maybe on this journey to staying on top of clutter I’ll eventually find myself truly free of clutter in my home, but for now I know it’s going to be a daily effort of maintenance in order to truly feel like there is peace in my home.

It may seem like a fruitless endeavor, trying to keep your home clutter free, but just like making your bed and putting on clothes in the morning, there are some tasks that need to be accepted as part of your life. - This Wild Home

I don’t think clutter needs to take over your life, but it’s going to be there one way or another. We have the choice to either let it go and be in our lives as a negative build up of things needing to be done OR to take control and prevent it from taking over our lives and our homes.

SAVE FOR LATER

A Few Helpful Tips To Manage Your Clutter And Take Back Your Home - This Wild Home
How To Manage Your Clutter: A Few Tricks To A Tidy Home - This Wild Home
A Few Helpful Tips To Manage Your Clutter And Take Back Your Home - This Wild Home

WHAT CHAOS HAS TAUGHT ME ABOUT CONSISTENCY

Journal From  Jenny Highsmith

Journal From Jenny Highsmith

I don’t know if you know this, but life changes a lot. From the fact that each season brings new times of the day that are best for certain activities to our very lives having ups and down and all arounds.

We’ve had a tough time over here dealing with all of the changes life brings. We’ve been making a lot of changes and have had a lot of transitions and it feels like every little change makes us feel like we have to start all over again. Once we make a rhythm, it’s as if one late night can mess up the whole system. It’s infuriating. We’ve tried blaming so many external things, but the reality is that we are asking for something that is not possible.

We are asking for everyday to look the same. We’re asking for excitement. We’re asking for things to be easy and life is anything but easy.

So we are learning how to create peace and order within the chaos that is children and work and life. We have taken a look at all the things we were trying to do that just weren’t working. It’s been a long road of trying to manage our time and I feel like we’ve just gotten to the beginning.

WHAT CHAOS HAS TAUGHT ME ABOUT CONSISTENCY - This Wild Home

WHY WE NEED CONSISTENCY

In short, our bodies crave consistency. It’s better for sleep, better for digestion, and simply better for the mind.

Our minds are certainly powerful, but we will never be able to think ourselves out of being human.

Our minds are certainly powerful, but we will never be able to think ourselves out of being human. - This Wild Home

We naturally crave rhythm in our lives. Just as much as we rely and expect the sun to come up every morning, our bodies rely on us to sleep and eat at predictable times. There may be shifts in theses rhythms, but they must have a natural flow.

  • Our brain releases different chemicals at different times of day based on what it expects we will need at that time. If our brain has to guess, we’ll wind up being tired and awake at the wrong times of day which will ultimately leave us unmotivated.

  • Our digestion works better with consistency. When our stomachs can’t rely on when we’ll ingest food, they get stressed. They wonder when our next meal will come from which leads them to digest slower and less effectively. Of course, they don’t have a mind of their own, but our stomachs still benefit from a flow. You will digest better and more efficiently if you’re not sending stress to your stomach through inconsistent meal times.

  • Our minds work better when you know what is happening next. There’s less anxiety from having to decide what is best to do next, you just know it. You are able to work better at the task at hand because you’re in the flow of putting energy into it. Your time is predictable and as mundane as that can sound, it’s a pretty big relief to know what’s happening next.

We’ve learned these lessons the hard way recently. I’ve felt drained from the lack of sleep and inconsistencies we’ve been putting on ourselves. I’ve been keeping on weight I normally wouldn’t with our crazy eating habits. I’ve been nit-picky and frustrated more than I really need to be because I’ve been overwhelmed trying to keep track everything we want and need to do in a day.

All of this is because we’ve been a wildly inconsistent and it’s created chaos in our lives, our kids lives, and our home. Which of course creates even more chaos. And no matter how hard we’ve tried, any attempt to get some amount of consistency in our home has failed time and time again.

WHAT CHAOS HAS TAUGHT ME ABOUT CONSISTENCY - This Wild Home

WHAT CHAOS HAS TAUGHT ME ABOUT CONSISTENCY

So yes, we’ve stepped back. We’ve evaluated why we can’t maintain our lives the way we want to and feel we should.

Obviously, we have a baby and a toddler which can make consistency feel impossible, but they go along with what we do. They make it a little harder to stay consistent, but not impossible. We also have a changing work schedule to work around, but again, it’s something we SHOULD be able to work with if we’re willing to try.

Even with these factors, the main reason we have stayed in chaos is 100% because of our priorities and focus. We’ve been all over the place and we’ve finally realized what we’ve been doing wrong.

  • REST CAN BE A BAD HABIT | Please don’t just read the headline on this one!!!

    Rest is so important. I LOVE rest and I value it maybe more than I should. It is an incredible thing to indulge in and there are many experts that think we don’t rest enough here in the states. For some of us, however, rest can become a habit that holds us back. It can become a comfort zone that is hard to step out of.

    When life gets crazy and you feel like you’re in too deep, it can be easy to protect your down time and indulge heavily in turning off your brain and seeking comfort. It’s something that is great to engage in for a bit, but ultimately can become dangerous to indulge in during every free moment you find.

    One night of TV binging and junk food can turn into binging every night. Every night can turn into a few moments through the day, and so on.

    Eventually you may find yourself right where I am: too much ambition, not enough motivation, and not nearly enough time.

    I, personally, have let my craving for comfort actually take away from the things that bring me most joy. Ironically, this has made me much less comfortable. It’s the kind of discomfort that no amount of TV and ice cream can solve. Truly, reading a book, doing yoga, writing, etc. are all things that can both rejuvenate me and calm me down.

    Of course, rest and mind-numbing activities can still have a valuable place in life. But it is very important to never let rest become your bad habit.

  • FOCUS LESS ON ACTIVITIES AND MORE ON TIME FRAMES | What I mean is, we focus on the fact that we need to wake up, get ready, eat breakfast, etc. But we never focused on when it’s best for that to happen. We’d just haphazardly wake up and start. Then, we’d talk about what we wanted to do that day and fumble around trying to fit it all in when it felt right.

    Chaos.

    So our new focus is time. What time does it make sense to wake up? How long does it make sense to get ready? When is the best time to eat breakfast? These are the questions we’ve started asking.

    From there, we can figure out different time blocks. Like after breakfast, we can have free time for an hour. The activity in the time block can change, but the time it happens will stay the same.

    We may have a few activities that happen daily, and those are the ones we can work around as long as we know what time the changing activities can fit in.

    So focusing on time blocking rather than activity planning is a must in order to maintain consistency. It’s all about the timing rather than the planning.

  • OVER-PLANNING CAN KILL MOTIVATION | We are very susceptible to seasons. Sometimes we go through a phase where we have no motivation for anything and other times all we want to do is work. It’s hard to create balance and I’ve noticed that it burns us out faster than it should.

    When we reach a season of motivation, we tend to over-load our schedule. We’ll put 3 or 4 big tasks into our plan for the day and when we only manage to get one thing done, we’re left discouraged, guilty, and unmotivated.

    This is why I believe in time frames over specific task planning. I think it’s important to know everything you NEED to do in a day and how much free time you really have. Then, really think about how much time a big task is going to take and don’t feel like you need to load up your day with productive tasks. While rest shouldn’t fill your whole day, it does need to claim some part of it.

    Along with all the other things that typically need to happen in a day, it’s important to be realistic about how much time you have and to learn to be okay with tackling projects slowly. Otherwise, you may run out of steam before you reach the end.

  • WE NEED TO GO TO BED/WAKE UP AT THE SAME TIME EVERYDAY | Consistency in your sleep is truly a make or break for any day/schedule. Like I said before, if you wake up and go to bed at the same time everyday your brain will release the chemicals needed to sleep more soundly and be more alert throughout the day. As a bonus, having early bed and wake times is even better. Working WITH the sun rather than against it can only be to your benefit.

    Without getting too hung up on times, as long as you have consistency you will be better off.

    Though I can definitely say that my most productive days are the ones I start early, I think early can be relative. Like, with kids, early is probably earlier than you’d prefer early to be. Without kids, early can be a little more reliant on what you have going on that day.

    Either way, I would say a good rule to follow is to give yourself 2 hours between the time you wake up and the time you need to start your day.

    At least that’s what seems to work for me. 2 hours to wake up, get ready, drink some water, do some stretches, do some journaling, think about your day, etc. Whatever it is that really helps you to get focused and motivated for the day. I think two hours may seem luxurious, but it is possible if you’re willing to work for it.

    The number one time block we are going to start with when creating our routine is our sleep. How much of it we need, when we want to be up for the day, and what time we’ll need to go to sleep to make that happen.

  • THERE’S NEVER A “RIGHT TIME” | “When the baby sleeps through the night, we’ll start.” “When work settles down, we’ll start.” “When life falls into place, we’ll start.”

    But here’s the thing, life has already started. It is currently happening and it’s going to keep happening as long as we are here on this earth. It’s not something that will start “when…” It is something that has been happening since the day we were born.

    There is no real right time to start anything. There are always reasons to not start something, but, if you look for them, there are always reasons to start something RIGHT NOW.

    So we’re not waiting for a convenient time, we’re just going to have to start now.

    It will be hard. It will feel impossible some days. We won’t be in the mood others. But anything we’re passionate about needs time and time comes from making the most of what you currently have. So if there were ever a “right time,” it’s always going to be now.

There're always reasons to not start something, but, if you look for them, there are always reasons to start something right now. - This Wild Home

It’s been brutal, if I’m being honest. The inconsistency has ripped peace right from our home and it’s effected all of us greatly. We’ve been too willing to let go of stability for the sake of comfort, only to find that effort and stability is what would really bring peace all along.

Inconsistency has caused conflict with all of us together and within ourselves so I’m looking forward to taking these tough lessons we’ve learned and putting them to the test.

SAVE FOR LATER

WHAT CHAOS HAS TAUGHT ME ABOUT CONSISTENCY - This Wild Home
HOW I MANAGED TO CREATE LONG-TERM ROUTINES:  WHAT CHAOS TAUGHT ME ABOUT CONSISTENCY - This Wild Home
WHAT CHAOS TAUGHT ME ABOUT CONSISTENCY: CREATING LONG TERM ROUTINES IN YOUR HOME - This Wild Home

HOW TO DOWNSIZE YOUR CLOSET

HOW TO DOWNSIZE YOUR CLOSET - This Wild Home

We have started the first of many purges on your journey to going tiny. As we go along, we’re realizing that living in an airstream may be even tighter than we originally thought, but we’re totally up for the challenge!

We’ve worked on sliming down on clothes a lot over the years, but we have officially reached a moment where it’s essential that we live with as little as possible. It’s made us really think about what we love and how we can create a tiny wardrobe we can be happy with. We’ve taken our process for purging the closet and streamlined it to make sure we’re making the most of our purging process (and to keep it organized and clutter free).

OUR STEP BY STEP PROCESS

Our process is one that we believe can help people to make the most out of their downsizing. There are no numbers attached, no ultimate goal you need to get to. It’s simply all about thinking about what you need and why you want to downsize. Your things need to work for you so any purging event should be something that you put rules on, not something that we decide for you.

Whether you’re looking to move into an airstream (like us!) or you simply just want more room in your closet for the new season, this is how we downsized our closet to make sure we kept the things we love and got rid of the things we don’t.

HOW TO DOWNSIZE YOUR CLOSET - This Wild Home
  1. GET IN THE RIGHT MINDSET

    Mindset is everything in a purge. If you’re too critical, you may wind up getting rid of things you actually love (which I’ve done many times). On the other hand, if you’re not critical enough, you could wind up doing all this work without really getting rid of anything.

    The goal is to make your stuff work for you, not the other way around. You don’t need stuff for the sake of projecting an image. You don’t need stuff saved for all of those “just in case” moments. The only thing you need from your stuff is joy and purpose. Anything else is just wasting your time and space.

    For your closet specifically, make sure you’re keeping items you really love right now. Not things you think you may wear in the future. Not things you used to love or that used to fit perfectly that no longer serve their purpose. Only keep things that you can put on RIGHT NOW and say, “Hell yeah, I look good.”

    Don’t go into this to create a forever wardrobe. Don’t go into this hoping to project an image that isn’t true to you. Make sure you’re making the most of your time by using this purge as wisely as possible. To create room for the things that are currently serving you.

  2. THINK ABOUT YOUR DAY TO DAY

    To help you keep things you know you’ll really wear and love, make a list of an average day or week (or both). Write down all the things that you ACTUALLY do right now. Do you have to work everyday? Is it in an office? Do you work out a lot? Do you wish you worked out a lot?

    Thinking about the items you know you actually need for the activities you actually participate in throughout the week is a good way to make the most of the items you choose to keep.

  3. UNDERSTAND YOUR STYLE

    Knowing your style and the pieces that help to create it is one of the best ways to go into a purge. It really helps to make sure every item serves a purpose and that it has other items it can go with.

    Pinterest is always a good tool to use in your purges. It’s a helpful way to get a visual for what you really like rather than trying to remember everything in the moment.

    I like to keep a style inspiration board that I edit down before a closet purge. Once it’s fairly cohesive throughout all the pins, I use that as a visual for pieces I’m drawn to and color palettes that make me feel the happiest. Once I have a good understanding of what style I am most drawn to, I can use that to kind of shop my own closet. (It’s also helpful to think of it as “shopping your closet” rather than just getting rid of your clothes)

  4. PURGE

    We like to “blitz” this part which basically means we move quickly and make snap decisions every step of the way.

    • Start by take everything (EVERYTHING) out. Seriously, put every item of clothing you own in a big pile.

    • Go through the big pile and sort into smaller piles. A keep pile for things you absolutely know you love. A maybe pile for things you can’t say for sure either way. And a toss pile for things you know for sure you just don’t like. I like to do this part quickly, without even thinking about it. I’ve found it helps to take the emotion out and keep my choices true to what I actually know I like/wear.

    • Once you have your piles, try on EVERYTHING in your maybe pile. It’s a good way to actually know how an item feels and looks when it’s on. If the choice is still tough, you can either put the item in storage for a bit and see how you feel later or put it away with your “keep” items and see how much you actually reach for it. Remember, you don’t have to deprive yourself of anything so if you want to hold onto it longer, go for it! There are no winners or losers to this. It’s all about doing what’s right for you.

    • With your toss pile, get rid of it as you see fit.

    • And then, of course, put away all your keep stuff.

  5. LET THERE BE GAPS

    This isn’t so much a step in the process, but it’s something I’d really like to say.

    Lets say you have a sweater in your wardrobe. Let say you really need to have a sweater in your wardrobe, but the one you have isn’t one that you really love. You’ve really just held onto it because you need a sweater and you’ve never made a point to get one you actually feel good in because, well, you already have a sweater.

    Gaps in your wardrobe can be really scary. I, personally, like to have everything I need/want the moment I need/want it. It feels like letting go of an item you know you need, but don’t necessarily like, is wasteful or counter productive. But if you don’t actually LOVE it, I encourage you to let it go and live with that gap in your wardrobe.

    I have a few reasons for this.

    1. You are more likely to remember to buy something you do love if you don’t have a filler for that item.

    2. Keeping things in your closet that you need to wear but that you don’t like is basically giving yourself a guarantee of feeling bad about yourself anytime you put that item on which is a total confidence killer.

    Let. There. Be. Gaps! Allow yourself the freedom (if possible) to only keep items that really do make you feel amazing.

  6. ORGANIZE

    This is key when it comes to maintaining this purge. Organizing your closet in a way that works for you is essential. Don’t worry about whatever closet organizing rules you’ve heard. Don’t worry about the KonMari Method to folding. Your clothes will feel loved as long as they are worn.

    Personally, instead of folding clothes, I like to just keep them in their own categorized boxes. I HATE putting clothes away so I have to make it as easy as possible to keep them organized or else they’ll end up on a chair in the living room (no, but really).

    For me, I hang everything we wear on a daily/weekly basis. Seasonal clothing and PJs are thrown (not folded) into boxes. Shoes are all in a basket. And I have this neat, 3 compartment box for storing undergarments. One garment type per section.

    I keep it extremely simple so don’t ever let anyone tell you throwing shirts in a box haphazardly isn’t the right way to do it because anything that gets the clothes organized is the right way to do it.

HOW TO DOWNSIZE YOUR CLOSET - This Wild Home
HOW TO DOWNSIZE YOUR CLOSET - This Wild Home

That’s pretty much it!

Purging doesn’t have to be daunting. It doesn’t have to be specifically for moving into a tiny house or going full on minimalist. Sometimes it’s just nice to make room for something new (like my sister who cleans out her closet to get money for Plato’s Closet for more clothes). As long as you’re getting something positive from the experience, you’re doing it exactly as it should be done!

If we’ve struck a chord and you’re ready to purge a little more, download our free workbook! It’s our entire process for purging your whole home!

SAVE FOR LATER

A Mindful Approach To Downsize Your Closet - This Wild Home
A Mindful Process To Make The Most Of Your Wardrobe And Downsize The Stuff You Hate To Make Room For The Stuff You Love - This Wild Home
Mindful Tips To Downsize Your Closet And Make The Most Of Your Wardrobe - This Wild Home