After more than two years of seeking to live with less stuff, I have to tell ya: I've never going back.

One of my goals over the past couple of years has been to finally become an "organized person." WAIT. I'm not sure that will ever be a reality. However, since I tend toward clutter-chaos, I am AT LEAST looking for ways to manage my tendencies so I don't always feel like my stuff owns me.

I've read Marie Kondo, I've been working toward embracing a minimalist approach to home decor, but still I can feel my stuff-clutching tendencies kick in like an old scar that still aches sometimes.

But truth be told: having less stuff, at least for me, means less stress. It's fascinating to see how open spaces and clear counter tops can have such a profound effect on the psyche.

The good news is, in my struggle, I have managed to find a few things that have been helpful.

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As hard as it is to believe, you don't necessarily have to spend all of your time continually de-cluttering your home. It's actually much simpler if you put a few "rules" in place that you can follow every day so you don't find yourself under a giant heap of "what the heck is all this stuff anyway" on a random Saturday. Here's what some of the pros have to say:

Put your clothes in the closet. Hmm. Seems pretty straight-forward, doesn't it? At the end of a long day it's always tempting to just drape your coat on a chair. If you can, do your best to put those clothes where they go asap. If they're dirty, put them in the laundry. Otherwise, put them back in the closet.

Deal with paperwork immediately. This isn't what we want to hear. We may think that by stacking all that paper we get in the mail and dealing with it "later" will work okay, life happens, and before ya know it, your desk is covered with bills, etc from weeks or even months ago. In the long run, it's much easier to deal with it when it arrives.

Make sure your bathroom counters are free of clutter. We spend lots of time in the bathroom--bathing, grooming, etc. You'll feel so much better in the morning if you've taken a moment--even just 60 seconds--to clear it off before you go to bed.

Deal with the toys. Literally, take 60 seconds to help your kids return their toys to where they belong. Not only will you feel better when the house is free of random Legos and plastic what-nots, you are also ingraining behavior in your kids that will make their lives easier down the road.

Wash the dishes every night. As much as we don't wanna on some evenings, if you can discipline yourself to this, your mornings will already feel more organized. This is a biggie.

Make your bed. So granted, making the bed isn't actually de-cluttering. However, I know for a fact that when you do, right after you get out of bed, you already feel more on top of the day.

What other de-cluttering steps would you add to this list?

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Stacker used data from the 2020 County Health Rankings to rank every state's average life expectancy from lowest to highest. The 2020 County Health Rankings values were calculated using mortality counts from the 2016-2018 National Center for Health Statistics. The U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey and America's Health Rankings Senior Report 2019 data were also used to provide demographics on the senior population of each state and the state's rank on senior health care, respectively.

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