[Skip to Content]
University of Illinois Extension

Simplify Your Life by De-Cluttering

August 20, 2013

Do any of these statements sound familiar?

No one goes through life without accumulating stuff. Too much stuff contributes to clutter and disorganization. It can be a cause for stress in our lives and conflict in our relationships. Managing clutter saves time and money. Clutter can also be unsafe if you have so much sutff that you can't safely move around the house. (Let's distinguish clutter from hoarding, which is a popular topic right now. Hoarding is a medical condition that needs to be addressed by a professional.)

It isn't always easy to know how to tackle our clutter, but having a realistic plan can help you get started. So, where to begin? You could choose to attack the area that causes you the most anxiety and then move on to the next area according to your priority. Or, you could choose to go room by room, clearing out closets, shelves, and drawers as you go.

As you are clearing clutter, ask yourself these questions:

Now look at sorting your items. Make it a priority to have no piles remaining at the end of your de-cluttering session. Have 4 piles (boxes), one for each of these:

Once you have worked so hard to clean out your clutter, here are some tips for staying on top of those areas.

Doing any one or a combination of the above four strategies will lessen the chance that clutter will build again. In the words of Peter Walsh, "No matter how large or small, a home should be about the quality of life you want, not the quantity of stuff you can acquire."

If you want more information about this or any other family life issue, please contact Cheri Burcham at 543-3755 or cburcham@illinois.edu

« Back to News Releases