Five Easy Ways to Reduce Junk and Live an Organized Life


If you spend the majority of your time at home, you’ve probably noticed more and more junk piling up.

A cluttered home, office, or workspace can have negative effects on our well-being. It affects our behavior and decision making, and in worst cases, can also affect our relationships with others.

It creates a stressful environment for us, and studies show that workplace stress alone costs Americans over $190 billion every year. Now, you might not be a large corporation, but a cluttered workspace can still have negative effects on your day-to-day life.

A cleaner space makes it easier to do everyday tasks, so here are five easy ways for you to reduce your junk and live an organized life. 

1. Adopt an “I’m here anyway, so I might as well” mindset

Most of us end up with heavily cluttered homes because we tend to put away the cleaning later.

A sink full of dirty dishes? “I’ll do it after dinner.”

A room filled with dirty clothes? “I’ll put them all in this corner right here and clean them up this weekend.”

When the time we set for ourselves to clean up is about to come, we dread it. And when it does come, the work looks so overwhelming that we put it off again.

It’s a cycle. The result is that we clean up only when we really need to, and it takes away a lot of time.

If you found yourself relating to those statements, you should try adopting an “I’m here anyway” mindset.

If you pass by the kitchen on the way to get a mug for your coffee, you might as well clean the 2-3 plates that are there while the water is boiling.

If you’re on the way out of the house, you might as well take the trash out.

A good rule of thumb is: if it won’t take you more than five minutes, do it now.

Five minutes is not much, and if you take a few minutes off your everyday tasks to do small decluttering work, you save yourself the hassle of dealing with a major cleanup project that can take hours. 

2. Look at your home as a first-time visitor would

We spend so much time in our homes every day that we barely even notice when trash and junk slowly pile up.

It’s like the hour hand of a clock. You don’t notice it moving every second, but when it’s moved after a few hours, the change is noticeable.

That’s also how it works for our houses. That one additional plate on the sink every night might not look startling until you’re suddenly faced with a stack of ten plates.

To remedy this, try looking at your house from a different angle. Imagine yourself as someone visiting your home or room for the first time.

Visitors have fresh eyes, so they’re more likely to spot anything that looks off.

If you were visiting your house for the first time, what would stand out? Does that stack of documents look out of place? How about that huge pile of laundry that hasn’t been touched in two weeks?

By looking at your house from the eyes of a visitor, you’re taking away any bias that you may have, letting you spot junk and clutter more easily. 

3. Use the four-box method

The four-box method is simple and has been used for many different purposes, including decision making. You can also use it for your home decluttering.

Get four different boxes, and label them. “Trash,” “Donate,” “Keep,” and “Relocate.”

Now go through everything in your house and put them in different categories. Without this method, your brain might automatically relegate everything into “Keep.”

But using four actual boxes forces you to really place a category on every item you find. By actually putting in the time to decide where an item goes, you’re more likely to make a decision with less bias and more honest thinking.

If you haven’t seen something for months, and you only remembered its existence when you were decluttering, you probably don’t need it. In that case, it could probably go into the “Trash” or “Donate” box.

Of course, essential items like documents and IDs should go into “Keep.” Make sure to place them in secure locations.

The four-box method helps you stay away from keeping unnecessary things “just in case.” Since you’re being forced to make a decision, you’ll be surprised at how many things you realize you don’t really need.

If it’s taken you some time and you’re still unsure where an item should go, you can try putting them in the “Relocate” box and place them in a sort of “revisit” category.

Once you use the four-box method again, you can then decide if you still want it or not. 

4. Keep less stuff

The best way to reduce junk is to not have it in the first place. If you are an impulsive shopper who keeps buying things because you saw them online, you’re more likely to be surrounded by stuff you haven’t been using in ages.

Before buying or getting something new, ask yourself if you really need it and if you’ll be using it frequently.

Most of the things we no longer need are used only once or twice, and they’re usually bought out of impulse.

Take the time to decide before bringing new stuff in, and you’re well on the way to having less junk to deal with in the future. 

5. Keep your items organized

A cluttered home looks cluttered because everything is everywhere.

By grouping similar items together, your space can look more organized and make you feel better.

This also makes it easier for you to find stuff because you know that everything in a certain category can be found in one place, and applies to everything like kitchenware, tools, and even documents.

By designating a proper space for everything, you’re more likely to maintain an organized life because you’ll want to put things in the right place after using them.

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