America has a “stuff” problem. More than half of all Americans say that they feel “overwhelmed” by their own clutter. And 78% of us say we have “no idea” what to do with it all. No matter how hard we try to clean and organize, things get out of hand.

If you’re in a battle against clutter, read on. You’ll find an arsenal of good ideas and tricks for making the most of your space and shrinking your piles of clutter.

Learn how to handle tough downsizing decisions

Most Americans have too much stuff, and most of them know it. The solution, then, ought to be easy. Get rid of some of it.

That’s only part of the job, of course (as we’ll soon see, you can be more space-effective with the stuff you simply can’t part with), but it’s still a simple and straightforward way to gain more space. So why is it so hard?

People get attached to their stuff. It’s hard to part with something that we fear we may someday need or want. Having it is the status quo, and change is scary.

That’s why any downsizing plan needs to come with smart strategies and real commitment. Start early, consider hiring help, and use a technique like Marie Kondo’s KonMari method or the three-box method.

Go digital

America’s clutter crisis comes at an odd time. After all, American homes have been getting steadily bigger over the years — shouldn’t more room mean that it’s easier for us to stay organized with more stuff? Meanwhile, computers and the internet are making it easier for us to eliminate some things in favor of their digital equivalents. But these options are only useful if we choose them. Learn how to transform some of your stuff into a digital alternative, and you’ll have more space.

Photos are a great example. A family photo album or two is nice to have, but boxes upon boxes of old photos are not as useful or as attractive. Still, you can’t bear to part with them. So what can you do? You can digitize them, either by using a scanner yourself or by hiring someone else to do the job. Then you can keep your photos on a computer or, better yet, in “the cloud” — a secure online storage solution that makes your photos available from anywhere. And online photo storage is a great way to share photos with loved ones, and uploading new photos will be easy if you simply use a digital camera — like the one built into that smartphone that you almost certainly own.

Invest in a storage space

Do you have too much stuff for your home? Then the answer may be as simple as investing in storage space outside of your home. Self-storage is a common solution in college towns and crowded big cities, but it can also be a useful option in sprawling suburbs and rural areas.

Take Fort Worth, Texas, for instance. It’s a big city, but not a densely populated one like New York City. There are homes with lawns in Fort Worth, Dallas, and all throughout the suburbs in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex area. Some homes have big closets, and others have sheds outdoors. So are self-storage units often necessary? Well, actually, yes! There’s a lot of demand for self storage in Fort Worth, because storage units are the perfect places for stuff that homeowners and renters only need access to once in a while: Sports and camping gear, for instance, or clothes that are only worn on special occasions. 

What’s true in Fort Worth is true all over. Storage units are an extremely effective option for gaining space without having to dramatically downsize your lifestyle.

CategoriesHow-To