Have you been dominated by clutter? Are you afraid to invite people over because your place is always a mess? Do you feel like your weekends are spent cleaning?
It’s time to turn the tables on clutter, and take back your space!
The SAR Method
Search and Rescue (SAR) squads look for clues and missing persons using a grid pattern. Walking in a line, focusing directly on the area immediately in front of each of them, nothing is missed.
That’s what you do to clean a room, too.
Twenty extra guys and a grid pattern might be overkill in a 400 square foot apartment, but basically it’s the same deal. You need pick a spot, focus on it, and then move to the spot next to it. Compact the mess. Stack it neatly by type in one spot where you don’t have to step over or around it, then move to the next thing. When you have manageable piles and floor space you can then go through the piles.
So you need these 4 containers:
- Garbage Can
- Elsewhere Basket
- Laundry Basket
- Charity Box
Have a garbage can with a bag in it next to you, and pitch the trash as you go. Also, have a laundry basket or box near you to put things that belong elsewhere. We’ll call this the ‘Elsewhere Basket’. (clever, huh?)
How the Elsewhere Basket Works
When you take each thing one at a time to where it belongs it’s easy to get distracted and not finish what you’re doing. You’ll wear yourself out running back and forth.
When the elsewhere basket is full, put it all away, or at least into the room where it belongs. If it’s clean laundry that is foldable, fold it and put it away or hang what needs to be hung.
You can start a load of laundry while you’re at this, if a lot of your clutter is dirty clothes. Divide the clothes into types of care/colors/whites so they’re ready for loading. Don’t walk on them. Put them out of the way. When each load is done, fold it, put it away right then. There is no later anymore.
Donate Your Surplus
Some people also have a container for things they want to give to charity, which is a great idea. For now, though, you’re not doing a full-blown reorganization, you’re making things livable so don’t get too militant, ok?
Garbage Goes Straight Out.
Keep taking the garbage out as it fills, don’t overflow it, or fill bag after bag and put it in the front hall for later, unless later is as soon as you have 2 bags full, one for each hand.
Remember, trash can, laundry basket, elsewhere basket, charity box. Start in one corner of the room and just start putting things in containers. This systematic method is how the pros do it.
Good job! You’re on your way to conquering clutter!
Next we’ll talk about some easy everyday habits that will make all the difference going forward. I would really love to see some before and after pictures, as well as how well you think this worked for you! Did you find you need any other containers?