Every day you are pulled in many different directions. It can be incredibly stressful! You have to go to work, make sure you’re back home in time to meet your kid at the bus stop, and then find time to hit the gym. The problem is, you already promised your friends that you would go out tonight. With everything going on, it’s hard to find time to make sure that you’re working in a clean space. Cleaning often feels time consuming, and you probably feel like you have more important things to do. However, setting a cleaning schedule for yourself will help you to enjoy time in your space instead of feeling like you’re living in a trash dump. Today, we are going to give you tips on how you can productively contain your clutter through the philosophy of Gathering Points. Let’s get into it!
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Gathering Points: What are They?
A Gathering Point is a place where unprocessed items are stored and you haven’t decided where to put them yet. For example: that one junk drawer in your kitchen or a countertop full of unread mail. When it comes to containing your clutter, you want to minimize the amount of places that store unprocessed items. The fewer Gathering Points you have, the more effective you will be with your time which will cause you to be more productive.
Areas of Your Home Where Gathering Points May Gather:
- Areas in the Car
- Clothing Pockets
- Coffee Table
- Desk Areas
- Email Inbox
- End Tables
- Entertainment Center
- Filing Cabinets
- Floor Space
- Junk Drawers
- Kitchen Counters/Breakfast Nook
Reviewing Your Gathering Points
Gathering Points aren’t necessarily unwanted garbage, and removing them isn’t just about tossing away the stuff you don’t want to think about. Take your email inbox for example, how productive does that dumpster-fire make you feel? Removing these Gathering Points can help create productive spaces for you, rather than feel like a burden.
The key to making Gathering Points work for you is to review your unprocessed items on a regular basis. This will prevent you from missing out on something important and creating more clutter for yourself.
How to Organize Your Unprocessed Items to Minimize Your Gathering Points
- When going through your Gathering Points, you should set a weekly cleaning schedule for yourself. Take the rooms in your house and split them up based on the days of the week. Split your cleaning tasks over the course of multiple days, so you don’t feel bogged down. For your cleaning days, you want to make a daily cleaning checklist of the Gathering Points you want to go through. Your cleaning checklist will keep you on track and there is nothing more satisfying than crossing something off your list to show that you are being productive with your time.
Finding a Home for Everything
- Gathering Points won’t work if you just turn them into dumping grounds for the things you don’t want to think about. To avoid creating a cluttered space, you want to find a home for everything. This will make you feel so much more organized and productive because you won’t find yourself searching for something you need. If you can’t find a place for an item, then maybe it’s something you don’t need.
- When adding more items to your home, you want to be mindful about what you already own. This goes hand in hand with being intentional with your money, which we are going to get into down below.
How to be Intentional with Your Money
You want to make sure that you are intentional with your purchases whenever you go shopping. Many people spend too much money on items that they don’t need, and they end up turning into clutter. This wastes your hard-earned money and hurts the environment if you are repeatedly buying things that you don’t end up using.
How do I buy intentionally?
Intentional buyers focus on these 3 simple questions before purchasing:
Do I need this or do I want this?
For example: You started to notice gnats buzzing around your kitchen while you’re cooking. You decide to buy an automatic indoor insect trap to get rid of the problem. That is an intentional purchase because you had the need for it and you’ll use it for a long time. Whereas, if you saw a pair of shoes on Instagram and bought them, did you actually need them? Probably not, but you bought them anyway. If they were not what you had hoped for and are difficult to return, they’ll most likely end up in the back of your closet taking up space. That wasn’t an intentional purchase.
Will I like this item in “x” years time?
When purchasing brand new, or even secondhand items, you want to make sure that you are going to like it for years to come. Is the item you're buying just to follow a trend that will be gone in a couple months or is it something that you know you are going to love for a really long time? Focus more on the things you genuinely like.
Can I afford it, and is it worth it?
When you’re purchasing a new item for yourself, you want to make sure that it’s within your budget. You don’t want to purchase an item that could cause you to be one step closer to living paycheck to paycheck. How do you avoid this? Make a budget for yourself by setting aside money that you need for essentials, like rent, utilities, and groceries. You can give yourself extra spending money, but make sure that what you're buying is worth it for your lifestyle.
4 Easy Decluttering Tips Everyone Can Follow
Finding a rhythm when it comes to organizing your clutter is very important. Don’t beat yourself up if something doesn’t work out and you need to make adjustments as you go. To wrap things up, here are some final decluttering tips for you to eliminate clutter and organize your home in a productive way:
1. Donate Things You Don’t Need or Want
- Keep a bag or box in your closet to put items or clothing in that you don’t use anymore. If you are indecisive, wait three or four months to see if you end up using the item or not. If you haven’t gone back to it, then it’s time to part ways.
2. Sort Your Mail
- Mail can be a burden at times, and to make sure you don’t have to deal with it later, sort your mail right away. Recycle unneeded mail daily and only keep the ones that have a purpose. With the mail you decided to keep, open each one and act on it. It’s better to write the check or fill out the form right away instead of putting it off and forgetting about it.
3. Keep Decor Functional
- As fun as it is to go wild with decorating your home, oftentimes too much decor can lead to clutter. Try to keep all of your decor functional where possible. This doesn’t mean you can’t have your favorite movie poster, or a beautiful vase with flowers on the table. Rather, be creative and purchase functional items that can serve a dual purpose: like a cool wooden bowl to hold fruit, or an automatic indoor insect trap to leave on your counter and control gnats.
4. Clean Your Home in Sections
- Don’t burden yourself with cleaning everything at once. Split your space into sections and declutter your home over the course of a couple days. For example: clean your bedroom and closet one day and then do kitchen counter organization and dishes the next day. This will help you feel like you’re not wasting the whole day cleaning when you could have been doing something else.
Contributing Writer: Madeline Collins