Unclutter your storage spaces with “a thing a day”

Many people new to uncluttering will begin the process with a simple technique called “a thing a day.” (I learned about the method a few years ago in the Unclutterer Forum.) There are a couple of positive aspects to using this simple method in an effort to clear clutter. First, it’s not overwhelming. If you choose to focus on one thing, it’s likely to be a lot easier and quicker to complete every day. Second, it’s also a momentum builder. By doing one uncluttering activity each day, you get an opportunity to practice creating order, so that it feels like a typical part of your life, rather than a chore that you dread doing. And, as your space becomes free of unwanted items, you’ll be able to create a plan to keep it organized.

Another benefit of using ATAD is you can begin the process wherever you’d like. Your one daily thing can be retrieved from any room of your home. As this becomes a regular part of your routine, you might look for one thing in several or all rooms, though based on a recent study done by IKEA, you may want to start with your clothes closet. The results showed that despite the fact that the average person owns 88 pieces of clothing, only 25 percent of them are actually worn. This may be because most people are reaching for their favorite (or most comfortable) items frequently and leaving other pieces for another time.

If you find yourself in this situation, you can likely free up a bit of space by selecting specific articles of clothing that you hardly reach for as your first items in your ATAD journey. Sure, you’ll have some things that you may only wear on special (infrequent) occasions, but you may want to take a look in your closet for specific items that you haven’t worn in two seasons or more. You might want to focus on removing one thing every day over the course of several weeks so that you can systematically go through each piece of clothing.

Would you be surprised to learn that the same study also found that a large number of Americans say that having a laundry room is high on their wish list? As it turns out, that’s not the only room that they covet — just about any room with added storage capacity seems to be highly desired.

When looking for new homes, a whopping 93% of Americans want a laundry room, 90% want linen closets in their bathrooms, and 85% want a walk-in pantry.

That’s probably no surprise as many people often feel that a lack of storage is the root cause of overstuffed and cluttered spaces.

While changing the size of your closet (or adding more storage) can be a huge undertaking, selecting one thing that you can part with will be much less daunting. As you start thinking about how you might include ATAD in your day-to-day life, have a look at the rest of the IKEA findings.

Image credit: IKEA

10 Comments for “Unclutter your storage spaces with “a thing a day””

  1. posted by Annie on

    Brilliant study. I love the stat that 80 percent of clutter is not from lake of space but disorganization. and that less clutter means more money, more happiness and less time cleaning the house (that’s what I’ve been trying to explain to my messy husband!). And that’s why I read unclutterer!!

  2. posted by Robyn on

    This is one of my daily rituals, and it helps, especially combined with the “one in/one out” rule (if I buy something new, something old leaves).

  3. posted by Christine on

    Actually, 25% of the clothing goes UNworn, meaning 75% is worn – based on the IKEA graphic.

    Both hubby and I nodded our heads as we read the information in the poster. We are in the middle of a massive decluttering/reorg due to upcoming major life changes (baby 4 and starting homeschooling). I am sure I waste so much time looking for things! I am looking forward to the 40% reduction in housework!

  4. posted by Jessica on

    What the heck are people putting in their junk drawers if the average value is $2200? Gold bars? My “junk drawer” contains supplies I use for making grocery lists, assorted receipts I keep until my next card statement and a few other odds and ends.

    I spend perhaps 3 minutes per day looking for things (things usually misplaced by my husband or a kid). Does that mean that somebody else is spending nearly 2 hours looking for things? That figure also seems high to me.

    The rest, I agree with.

  5. posted by jdb on

    I’m not understanding how a laundry room has anything to do with extra storage. But maybe because that’s because I don’t have one.

    I would love one so I could have some of those fold-down air-drying racks and wouldn’t have my drying laundry draped all over the house. I rarely use the dryer, just for sheets and towels. It would also be great to have a place to fold and a place to iron. And I’d like a place to do hand-washing that isn’t the sink in the single bathroom we have.

  6. posted by junior on

    I recently went through my closet. It had been so jammed with clothes that I DIDN’T wear, that the clothes that I DID wear had to be stacked on my dresser or handing from doorknobs, bedposts, etc.

    I filled a large moving box (and then some) with folded clothes for donations or tossing. Now the clothes I DO wear and the clothes I still hope to wear… still fill the whole closet! At least it’s not JAM-packed anymore! :)

  7. posted by Anne on

    I wish I had a laundry room. Our equipment is in the garage, and going out to move wet laundry from the washer to the dryer in the winter is miserable. I had a laundry room in a former home and I loved it. A counter for folding, and a sink for hand-washing (with a rod to hang wet clothes on right above the sink), were much more important to me than storage. Though the extra storage was nice!

  8. posted by John Hupp on

    My clothing strategy is to put the clean clothes at the back or at the bottom of drawers and wardrobes, then more or less practice FIFO. That way, I get to wear a wide variety of outfits, and the stuff I’m avoiding floats to the top, so I can easily separate things to give away. (It probably helps that I live in an extremely temperate climate and haven’t gained or lost weight recently.)

  9. posted by Pat Benson on

    When I retired I decided to look for one thing a day to throw away or give away. I’d walk into a room at random and ask myself what thing in here I could do without. I kept it up for about a year and a half. It was a fun, gradual way to reduce clutter without making a big project out of it.

  10. posted by Suzan@kingston storage on

    It’s amazing how much having clutter can wear on your subconscious! I remember one day I was feeling anxious and upset for what I thought was no reason, so I channeled the energy into making myself do some organizing and cleaning, And like magic I felt better. Just being in a cluttered area had been enough to change my state for the worse. Nice information to keep clutter away for good! Thanks

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