Declutter Tips

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Clutter can happen to any home. From collecting stacks of mail, newspapers and magazines to piling up "yard sale finds," you may not be aware of your problem until it is out of control. You can't solve a clutter problem overnight. Clutter is a collection that is built up over time and it takes time to sort everything out. By following a few tips, you can start the process of decluttering.

Start In One Room or Area

  • The decluttering process has to start somewhere--it is best to start in one room or area that can be sorted and cleared out quickly, such as a kitchen counter top or entrance hall. Keep one rule in mind: Nothing can be placed in the area that doesn't belong. Everything must have a place in that room or area, and if it doesn't belong there, remove it. Create a box labeled "Doesn't Belong" and place items in it that don't belong to that area or room. Then set up another box marked "Donate." Any items you haven't used, don't want or don't have a specific place for, give to your local thrift store or charity center, such as Goodwill or Salvation Army.

Set Up a Decluttering Weekend

  • Pull out a calendar and designate one weekend per month as Decluttering Weekend. Gather all members of your family and/or friends to come and help you sort, clean out and declutter your home on Saturday. Purchase enough trash bags and collect enough boxes to hold the items you are planning to donate or throw away. Have a yard sale on Sunday and sell any items you no longer want or need.

Picture the Room or Area Decluttered

  • When you first walk into a room or area that is cluttered, picture it clean and organized. Put a photo of the room in your mind the way you would like to see it---clean workspaces, nothing on the floor, window treatments fresh and clean, and items in storage bins and organized. Now, grab a trash bag and start tossing any trash or broken items in the space. Next, grab your "Donate" box and toss in any items you don't want or use. Finally, start working on making the photo in your mind a reality.

Buy Only What You Need and Use

  • Decluttering starts with you. Make yourself a rule---only buy what you need and what you will use. Don't buy items because they are on sale or they are "cute." Resist the urge to use shopping as therapy. Instead of buying more items, deposit the money you would have spent into a savings account. Then reward yourself with a present at Christmas or a vacation to a place you always wanted to go.

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