Pack Rat Day: Mrs. Cunningham’s Guide to Dealing with Clutter

 May 17th is Pack Rat Day– no one wants to throw out our sentimental baubles, so how do we de-clutter to keep a home as neat as Mrs. Cunningham’s?  With teenagers at home it couldn’t have been easy to keep everything so tidy. Though it’s been 30 years since we’ve seen Happy Days, we can apply Mrs. C’s wisdom to unburden ourselves with junk.

Mrs. Cunningham: Trying is a part of failing. If you are afraid to fail then you’re afraid to try.

Throwing out our mementos is difficult. But if hanging on to things is causing clutter it could be indirectly causing stress. Don’t be afraid to let go. Use the following ideas to help you.

  • Throw out one useless item a day.
  • When you walk into a room, throw out the first useless thing you see.
  • Make use of your useless items.
  • When you pick up a useless item, weigh the joy it brings you vs. the joy a clean home brings you. Then throw it out.

Try to de-clutter and you will certainly succeed.

Mrs. Cunningham: I hope you weren’t offended when I got a little peeved at you the other day. 

It was rare to see Mrs. C upset because her house was always so neat – and mess sometimes leads to stress. In a survey taken by The Huffington Post, a home not being organized or clean was one of the top five stressors among those who were surveyed. If there are too many items around the house you don’t need any more it can be visually stimulating your brain in negatives ways. If you find yourself needlessly stressed out, it may be time to take inventory of your home and de-clutter. How else would Mrs. Cunningham stay so jovial all the time?

Mrs. Cunningham: Howard, we’ve been married twenty-one years. You can stop apologizing now.

Don’t apologize for your treasured trinkets. Not being able to get rid of useless items is fairly common. According to a study published in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, about 20% of the US population has trouble throwing away things we don’t need. Mr. Cunningham doesn’t have to apologize for his mess, and neither do you.

Mrs. Cunningham: Don’t you think we should move the bathroom somewhere else so that, when people drop in, it won’t be the first thing they see?

Don’t keep your mess in a place where everyone can see it. Put it away. Even when it doesn’t seem like you have enough space, there’s always a way to create storage. There are plenty of hidden areas under the sink and in drawers to use as a depository.

Mrs. Cunningham: We can survive with good taste.

Nothing is trash if it’s well coordinated. All those old photos in your desk drawers become a wall gallery. Old credit cards become guitar picks. An old ladder becomes a bookshelf. There are millions of ways to turn the things you don’t need any more into things you need. Just do it tastefully.

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