Assert your right to be free and independent of clutter! This month’s Top Ten are easy tips and ideas about how to start the de-clutter process and suggestions for planning and maintaining the process.
1. Plan the process and start now! Create a plan to de-clutter. Set dates and times of the day to get the job done. Trade de-cluttering tasks with your friends. Chances are they have clutter, too. Allow a year for completion of the plan. Create a vision of how your uncluttered spaces should look. Cut out pictures of cool looking clutter-free space from that magazine you’ll discard. Take stock of everything in your space and make decisions of what to let go based on what it would take to live in your ideally-cleared space. Separate what belongs in each room and put it there.
2. Figure out the paper clutter once and for all .Most homes have miles of files and piles of paper. It’s everywhere. Find a good system to deal with it and be done with it. Regularly recycle newspapers and magazines. Pay bills online.
3. Let go of that which is no longer needed. Children’s art projects, greeting cards with lovely sentiments, souvenirs from magical vacations… all are tempting to keep. Can the idea, or memory, of the art, card, or souvenir be treasured rather than keeping the physical reminder? Aside from the sentimental, look around your living spaces and let go of the excess “stuff” that is keeping the space crowded and cluttered. Sing along with me: “Let it go, let it go, let it go!”
4. Organize what is needed, required, desired. Everything in your home needs a home. Start by sorting like items together. Decide where they will live. Infrequently used stuff should be stored high or in the back of cupboard/closets. For things used often or all the time, keep them close at hand. Sort: like with like. You can’t go wrong with an assortment of bins and containers. They’re great for keeping your stuff together, and labeling them makes items quicker to find. Never underestimate the power of a P-Touch label maker! Oh yeah!
5. One room/closet/shelf/drawer, at a time. Clearing the clutter begins with one area. That’s it. Concentrate on one area. Don’t move on until you finish the job. Then move to the next space. It’s nearly impossible (and altogether daunting) to de-clutter a home all at once! Focusing on one room, one closet, one shelf, one drawer at a time makes the task feel more possible and easy to manage.
6. Keep it out or put it away. A desk only needs a few pens, a dish of paperclips, one stapler, one tape dispenser… a few folders of current work… and not much else. Likewise in the kitchen. If cooking isn’t what you do regularly keep cutting boards and knives in the cupboard. The coffee maker should stay on the counter if you use it everyday. Otherwise, clear some space beneath the cabinet and store it there.
7. Clear the refrigerator. Health reasons aside, too much stuff in your refrigerator makes it difficult to identify what’s on the back of the shelves! Discard expired food. Move the nearly-expired to the front of the refrigerator. Purchase inexpensive storage containers like these at Bed Bath and Beyond.
8. Clear the medicine cabinets. Medicine cabinets are often home to mostly expired medicine, lotions, and all manner of potions. Find inexpensive drawer organizers at Target Bed Bath and Beyond, or Container Store. Keep first-aid stuff close at hand. Use baggies to gather hair clips, razors, nail supplies, etc.
9. Use Wall Space and the inside of Closet Doors. Adhesive hooks and towel racks are great storage solutions for clothing accessories and hanging/folding items. Pocket wall organizers like this many uses it would be hard to list! When using wall storage, everything is visible and can easily be accounted and organized for.
10. Maintaining de-cluttered space. Take photos of the newly de-cluttered areas. Think twice about everything that is brought into your space. Will it have a home? Does it have immediate use? Are you buying it for someone else and do they need it?