CONQUER CLUTTER ZONES
North Olmsted, Ohio... It comes as no surprise that clutter appears to be a constant battle. And whether it's because there's only one real "organizer" in the household, a lack of time, or an abundance of apathy toward managing clutter, there's no doubt that clutter can quickly overwhelm your house.
Moen, the number one faucet brand in North America, surveyed homeowners to unearth the ins and outs of corralling clutter through organization. And although the most-cluttered and disorderly places may not shock you (the garage and kitchen counter, for example) here's a few surprising facts about how we conquer the chaos and (attempt) to get organized.
Did You Know...?
- The average size of a new American home in 1950 was 983 square feet and occupied by an average of 3.37 people; by 2011, the average new home was 2,480 square feet with only 2.6 people per household. Americans now take up more than three times the amount of space per capita than we did 60 years ago -- this means more space to clean up and organize.
- Most homeowners don't strive for perfection; but indicated they would if there was more time available to devote to organizing. Having a home that feels lived in is more than acceptable.
- In fact, for nearly 20 percent of respondents, organization is a very low priority. And in total, this indifference is classified as the most annoying organizational habit of others by those who think of themselves as the household's "organizer."
- Only five percent have brought in outside help to get organized; and only 16 percent outsource the cleaning of their homes on a regular basis, despite having the financial means to do so.
- Families may have the hardest time staying organized; according to a UCLA study on clutter in the American home, each new child in a household leads to a 30 percent increase in a family's inventory of possessions during the preschool years alone. Further to that point, UCLA researchers observed 32 Los Angeles families and found that a mothers' stress hormones spiked during the time they spent dealing with their belongings.
- Think Pinterest would reign supreme for organization inspiration? Think again; traditional media, like programs on HGTV and magazine articles, are the key sources for info on organizational projects, as indicated by 58 percent of respondents. Social media came in second (32 percent) with Pinterest as the most popular online resource.
- Even though technology has infiltrated many aspects of life, only eight percent regularly use an app or other technology to stay organized.
- And when all is said and done, what's the top motivator to get organized? Hosting a special event at home (50 percent).
- The kitchen was tied with the home office as the second most-cluttered room in the house (behind the garage). The biggest pain point being lack of counter space and mail taking up valuable real estate.
- Which kitchen items are considered "acceptable" clutter and are okay to live out in the open?
- Dish towels
- Dish soap/scrub brushes
- Cutting boards
- Small electrical appliances
Controlling the Clutter
So,how can consumers reclaim control and get organized once and for all? Start by creating a "home" for items that live out in the open, like dish towels. Make a tidy work space at the sink by installing a towel bar or ring. Just as these keep towels off the counter and floor in the bathroom, they do the same in the kitchen. According to the National Soap and Detergent Association, getting rid of clutter would eliminate 40 percent of housework in the average home. Manufacturers, like Moen, offer a variety of accessories in styles and finishes to coordinate with your existing kitchen fixtures, to increase your style and organization.
The National Association of Professional Organizers reports that we spend one year of our lives looking for lost items. If you need a little more structure to accomplish your goals, professional organizer Lisa Woodruff has created "The 40-Week Challenge" to help you tackle clutter one week at a time. Throughout the course of one school year, you can methodically organize the entire house. Check out her website, organize365.com, to learn about each week's task; you can also subscribe to her eNewsletter or podcasts to stay motivated week by week.
Lastly, take a cue from other organizers and tidy up more often. Twenty-eight percent of respondents said they straighten up a few times a week; instead, take 10 minutes before bed each night to throw out or put away any items that aren't where they belong. It may not solve all of your clutter concerns, but you'll be on the right track. This new habit will help in the ongoing battle to get -- and stay -- organized.