Getting out of hoarding habit

Any mother can relate to the concept of hoarding! The albums, the childhood memories, the small clothes, tiny shoes, special toys, special occasion dresses, first-time-ever memories…. the list goes on.. and suddenly you turn around and look and you can be qualifying yourself as a hoarder!

Once there was a competition for Mothers Day where the host would name an item and if the mother had that in their handbag, she gets a point. I won that competition! On the way home, I decided it was time for change… 🙂

When the moment of realization occurred.. we needed to do something about it.. we first needed to know where to start! The age old technique of clean one room and put everything else in the closet.. yeah.. tried that 🙂 Closets only keep overflowing..! We then tried putting stuff in amazon shipment boxes and stowing away.. alas… ended up needing more storage space and it was even more time consuming to clear the stuff in the boxes! Dividing responsibility amongst family members always had the issue that if one of them could not make it that week – that part of the home was left untidy.. Cleaning companies did not work out to address this issue – as the branded ones typically lift the boxes and clean under it and leave them EXACTLY where they found it.. whats the point!!!

So, after years of working to address this issue… sharing what I have learned thus far…

  1. Going room by room to fix it does not work.. as mess in one room (or part of it) ends up in another room / closet!
  2. Identifying broad categories of stuff and where they need to go in your home is a BIG step! If the category does not have a place, it goes! means – you are ready at that juncture only to have a temporary solution and not a permanent one!
  3. If your kitchen is small – you practically cannot keep carrying over glassware and utensils to host 50 people all the time.. look for smaller temporary solutions and get rid of your excess containers!
  4. Identifying what is the biggest space consuming stuff at home and how you would deal with it – Input, Process, Output helps!
    1. If it is paperwork – setup a place where you put all the things you need to process (daily 2 minute work becomes a 4 hour work which we dont have time for), have a shredder nearby to document and shred post processing and link it to the garbage removal process.
    2. If it is books, deciding who uses the books and sorting it by person is the easiest! Books that belong to no one in particular – check if they need to stay or can be donated away!
    3. If it is clothes, take out 7-10 dresses (full set) for the week and keep them aside. Anything other than that can be stowed away. This includes under garments, socks, accessories etc. First time I tried this, it took me a year to get to a point where I actually could pick them out and keep them ready.. but then, it helps so much by reducing your weekly processing time!
      1. Anything in excess, keep open boxes in every room where clothes that do not fit can be put in it for donation. Every household member does this on a routine basis.
  5. Identify and select 1 category per week to setup a revised process. In 1-2 months, you will have a new way of processing things!

Top few categories that you might want to think about how you deal with the clutter around your house to check if you are a hoarder or not

  1. Books
  2. Paperwork
  3. Clothes
  4. Food
  5. Car
  6. Medicine cabinet
  7. Laundry area
  8. Study desk
  9. Closets
  10. Bathroom
  11. Refrigerator
  12. Deck
  13. Garage
  14. Basement
  15. Attic
  16. Kitchen cabinets
  17. Drawers
  18. Email
  19. Photos
  20. Wallet / Handbag 🙂

Now, as a family we spend an hour collectively on Saturday on each of these areas to sustain the changes we made! Working out well 🙂

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