Tuesday, December 11

Cut the clutter

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If your home is a mess or your life feels unmanageable, these are the steps to follow

Expert: Nicole Anzia, professional organiser at Neatnik

Q My husband is driving me mad. He keeps newspapers in our joint study for months and they are cluttering up our home. My frustration is boiling over as I have little space in which to work. Help.

A Compromise is the answer. Reaching agreement can be difficult, but once it has been achieved, there’s usually a healthy level of competition for each person to keep up their end of the deal. One couple I work with decided the husband could keep newspapers for a week. After that, they had to be be recycled. Another client compromised on the number of shoes she stores in the cupboard she shares with her husband. She’s agreed to discard shoes that have not been worn in a year and store her out-of-season shoes under their bed. 

Q I have mental overload and feel completely overwhelmed. I have to manage my household, my children’s lives and my own life. I pack and unpack for my travelling spouse and deal with ever-changing calendars, and I am having difficulty coping. What can I do to help make my life more manageable? 

A I see this often, where spouses work long hours or travel frequently for work, leaving partners with most of the responsibilities. I tell them this: Many people are struggling with the same thing, and no one does everything perfectly. Sometimes good enough is good enough. One woman has found that waking up 30 minutes earlier so she has time alone to map out the day makes her feel more in control. Another keeps a bin of extra snacks and water bottles in the boot of her car, removing two items from her long to-do list each afternoon. Another woman has become devoted to significantly editing and limiting what enters her house. When you have less, there’s less to clean and organise. Good luck. 

Read: Saving the sofa

          Strike a balance

          Splash of colour

Q My partner has passed away and I am finding it difficult to get things back to some form of normal routine at home. Bills have piled up, laundry bins are overflowing, and every surface is stacked with things that haven’t been put away in their proper place. Where do I start? 

A It can be hard to know how and where to start getting things organised again when your surroundings feel chaotic. When you feel overwhelmed and distracted, it is best to set small achievable goals that will help you stay motivated. I recently helped a woman pare down after her husband died. We set up several two-hour appointments, and each time tackled a specific project (for example books, a cupboard, medical supplies, artwork and collectibles). Instead of trying to do everything at once, focus on one thing at a time. In your case, set aside a weekly laundry day. Small steps.

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