We’re getting close to the end. The holidays are almost here! You’re almost done uncluttering, you’ve come so far! These next two rules don’t come easy, but you’ll be glad to have implemented them.
A place for everything, and everything in its place.
Obviously your parents thought of this rule before we did, but maybe that’s just another reason why it’s so important for getting rid of clutter. Some clutter is just stuff that belongs someplace else. Whether it’s the kids’ toys strewn through the house, a closet full of clothes that no one in the family wears any longer, or stacks of paper on the desk…these items are clutter as longs as they’re not in their proper place. Clearly, the decision to put everything in its place is easier than actually doing it, but the flip side of this rule means that if everything is in its place. You can find an item precisely when you want it, which can even sometimes make your day.
Items displayed in the house have to pass a test.
You have only so much space in your home. It’s only fair that the items taking up that space should justify themselves. It’s not a complicated test. They just have to have a valid reason for being there, involving function or form. For example, if the antique clock on the coffee table no longer works, it has lost its function. But it may still be quite beautiful to you and therefore has an attractive form. No problem. It passes the test. But it doesn’t pass just because someone put it there “for now” five years ago, or because someone gave it to you who might notice if it’s gone, or because you don’t know where else to put it. The best way to implement this rule is to walk through each room of your house and quickly test each item displayed on buffets, end tables, coffee tables, nightstands, counters, mantels, shelves, or anywhere else. Examine each item as you come to it. Ask questions such as: Why am I keeping it? What is it doing there? If it has a function, does it work? Am I sick and tired of dusting or cleaning it? Do I have others like it stored elsewhere? For the form side of the test, ask if you enjoy seeing it as you enter the room. How does this item really look sitting there for all the world to see or to use? Use your critical eye.