By Adam Saball of Sterilite Corporation
On July 1, UCLA released findings from a four-year study revealing that the contemporary suburban American family possesses more material objects than any other society throughout history. At some level this seems obvious to me. Still, reading it had me thinking, why do we have so much clutter? What sets us apart in 2012 from our grandparents a few generations back? My conclusion points to technology as the culprit.
Advances in modern technologies allow us to live faster than prior generations. We are exposed to so much information that trends seem to emerge and disappear faster than ever before. Yet, we still buy clothes for the job, for working around the house, for exercising or for a night on the town. Those of you with children know this first hand. No sooner does a child get new clothes, a new toy or video games, do they all have to be replaced by the next current “thing.”
Technology enables us to work faster, and as a result, more work is expected of us. With many families having two working parents away from the house, everyday chores are often pushed to the side. When the parents arrive home from work, they are focused on the family’s different schedules and cooking dinner. The impact of technology in our everyday lives has led to us having more stuff, and less time to deal with it. So how does one address this issue? Simple, by being and staying organized.
Amidst the chaos of everyday life, being organized is if nothing else, the one aspect of our life that can grant us some peace of mind. The hard part for a lot of us is getting organized and staying that way. It doesn’t need to be hard though. By keeping a few steps in mind, you can stay organized and start taking back some of that piece of mind.
Organize your space
Everything you own should have a home. From your laptop to the extra paper towels, there should be one place in the house where everything belongs. Assign those places and use them.
Group the small stuff inside your drawers
Always keep like items together. Be it utensils, notebooks or colored pencils, separate and group the similar items. Keep them together using small baskets or an appropriate cutlery tray. I use the Sterilite Storage Trays in my drawers at home and keep my small items neatly together without mixing in with one another.
Donate and throw away
If you haven’t worn it in over a year, you probably won’t wear it again. Donate the clothes that no longer fit or have become artifacts in your closet. Throw away or shred old documents you haven’t looked at in some time. Personally, if I find bills or receipts from anything older than a year ago, I will get rid of it. The exception to my rule is tax and retirement related documents. Those I hesitate to ever get rid of. I like the Portable File Box for my paperwork. When it’s full, I know I have too much and should shred or throw some of it away.
When you use something, put it back
This goes without saying... if you don’t put back what you use, the clutter will quickly sneak back up on you. When you use something, be sure to put it back in its home. I have two stacking bins for magazines at home. I keep my men’s magazines in one, while my girlfriend keeps her women magazines in the other. If we take one out to read, it must go back when were done, otherwise it will end up an afterthought on the coffee table and begin the snowball effect.
By being aware of the stuff you own and staying on top of where it’s kept, organization can be an easy way to control your clutter, even when our fast paced lifestyles offer little time to address it. Now it’s your turn. I ask you, the readers; is UCLA correct in their findings? Is your stuff closing in on you? How have you successfully addressed this issue in your homes? I look forward to reading your responses!