When Opposites Attract… Clutter

Whether you find yourself attached, dating or happily single this season, everyone will admit that opposites sometimes do attract. No two people are exactly alike, and as much as they might have in common, they may differ substantially in a couple of areas.

Astrological horoscopes promise to match people based on the broad tendencies ascribed to one’s star sign or the alignment of the planets at birth, while dating services and mobile apps use questionnaires and algorithms to come up with a range of compatible singles.

But what if you and your significant other (or roommate, or family member) differ in terms of #cleanliness and #clutter? And what if we’re not just talking The Odd Couple? What if one of you is Marie Kondo, and the other should be on A&E’s Hoarders?

If there’s no conflict, there’s no problem. Your relationship is probably healthy in other areas, and you likely make up for, or complement each other’s skills and shortcomings. You may already take on different household tasks according to affinity.

But if your other’s clutter causes you to clash, you must tackle the problem head-on. The first rule is to communicate, says Refined Rooms. Ask yourself why the clutter frustrates you or makes life more difficult, and tell them.

#Decluttering is a teachable skill, so consider hiring a professional #organizer to show you how to get a start on getting that stuff in check. Finally, learn to compromise on acceptable levels of clutter or create clutter-free zones in your home.

If, on the other hand, you are the cluttering partner, consider the formative influences that may have made you that way. Are you are ready to let them go or work through them, and actively manage your stuff in order to create a more harmonious home?

ClothingDonations.org can help with a donation pickup whenever you and a partner are ready to get rid of some of the disused and unwanted things in your home. In reselling the extra stuff to benefit veterans, we can also contribute to our donors’ happy relationships.

But “Trying to force anyone — your partner, your roommate, even yourself — to change completely is futile,” The Cut says. “A better strategy is to work together to set realistic boundaries and expectations — a process that starts with each side examining their own motivations for feeling the way they do about clutter.”

Have a happy, healthy and #clutterfree Valentine’s Day!

Don’t Stress About Cleaning — Streamline Instead

Lots of people put off their household cleaning tasks because there are other, more fun things they could be doing. Chores are the work you do voluntarily, and they are often more fun to see completed than they are to do.

With busy schedules, it’s hard to find the time to clean, much less the motivation. But believe it or not, if you can make starting those chores less of an issue, completing them will come more easily.

You may find that cleaning is less of a burden if you put individual tasks on a schedule. This “makes sure that everything that needs cleaning gets cleaned,” Lifehacker says, [and] makes sure that you never tackle too much at one time and get overwhelmed.”

Another strategy is to clean in short bursts every day so that it seems like a routine part of the day rather than an exceptional burden. Dedicate 15-30 minutes to cleaning something — anything — every day, and eventually, everything will be spotless.

To prepare, assemble a complete selection of cleaning supplies for various areas of the home, along with sponges, rags, mops and other implements. Then put on some music or a podcast and begin, and cleaning will happen almost on autopilot.

Once you get into a rhythm, you may find you spend lots of your time moving stacks of papers, dusty knick-knacks and other stuff around in order to clean. That’s #clutter, and if you can get rid of it, household cleaning will become less strenuous.

Eliminate some of that clutter as you clean. Box important papers and put them in storage. Get rid of some tchotchkes you don’t really want to look at (or dust) every day. Fold the laundry, and set aside anything that no longer fits. Bag the castoffs and contact ClothingDonations.org for a pickup.

Without having to work around all that extra junk, cleaning will become easier. Sans clutter, many areas of the home will take less time to clean, and you’ll get more done in the time that you can dedicate to such chores.

When you see the results, you’ll no longer have the stress that a cluttered, messy and dirty home can produce. And knowing that a few minutes every day can leave your home consistently clean and tidy, you may even start to enjoy the chores!

Celebrating the Great Indoors

With record low temperatures throughout the eastern half of the United States and snow falling as far south as Florida, many people are finding they suddenly have a lot of indoor time to fill this winter. You can curse the cold and simply endure it in front of the TV, or you can make the most of that time.

There isn’t as much going on during the winter months, meaning you’ll have lots of time to tackle household projects that got pushed aside during the other seasons. Do you have a shelf to install, a socket to rewire, or a room to paint? Now’s the time to tackle some of those indoorsy tasks.

Consider getting a head start on your spring cleaning—that’s one ever-present indoor project that doesn’t have a minimum temperature. Start with a room or a closet and sort everything in it into “keep,” “donate” and “trash” piles. Contact ClothingDonations.org to pick up the donations, and you’ll help fund veterans’ programs nationwide.

Cold weather is linked to more focused brain activity and greater productivity, so winter is a great time make plans. “Take advantage of the long, quiet, dark nights to review the past year and set relevant, challenging goals for the year ahead,” the Lifehack blog says.

You also can use your extra indoor time to start a new hobby, take a class or try out new recipes (with the bonus of warming the kitchen while you cook). There are lots of activities that can keep you entertained while you’re snowed in, Wisebread says.

There’s nothing wrong with a little hibernating, of course. Embrace the season by following the Norwegian concept of koselig: Build a fire in the fireplace, take a hot bath, make hot chocolate (or hot toddies), and pile on the blankets. Invite your friends over to share in your newfound ski-lodge sensibility.

If you just can’t take the snow and ice any longer, plan a vacation. Not only will it give you a sense of purpose, the anticipation of adventure will make the days go by faster. If you escape to a warm and sunny spot, though, be prepared for the letdown of returning to more frigid temperatures.

Whatever you choose to do with your extra time in the great indoors, simply looking at it as a gift and not a burden will help you cope with the worst that winter has to offer. Stay warm!

Suitcases Aren’t Just for Vacation!

If you are storing suitcases in your bedroom closet, don’t let that space go to waste. Consider storing clothing items in them. Whether they’re things you wear a lot, or they’re pieces you wear on occasion, using your suitcase to store clothing or accessories in small spaces is a great idea!