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How to Declutter

May 14th, 2013 - 3:34 PM

Decluttering Your Home

If you’re moving into a new home, it’s a great idea to have a decluttering strategy determined ahead of time. Are you guilty of having piles of stiff lying around? Are your drawers typically impossible to close because they’re too full? Would you be embarrassed for people to see inside your closet or the “junk” drawer? If I were answering these questions, it would be with a resounding “yes”!  How about you?  Have you reached the point where decluttering is a necessity? If you have, I’ve found some strategies that I think will help. They should work whether you only have 10 minutes or you have an entire weekend to declutter your home. How about we try them together! I would love to hear how they worked for you.

How to Declutter in 10-15 minutes

Sometimes all you have is 10 minutes. And I can totally relate. If that’s all the time you have, there are some things you can do to get ahead of the game. We’ll call it “speed decluttering” (try saying that 5 times fast!). With this strategy, you set a timer and take10-15 minutes to declutter just a small area. When you’re going for this strategy, one thing you’ll want to try to avoid is getting distracted. Have you ever been cleaning off the kitchen counter, picked up a bill to carry into the office, then saw something out of place in the office and started working on that? It happens all the time, right? Try your hardest to focus on your target area and you’ll feel much more accomplished in the end.

How to Declutter in one hour

If you have at least an hour, you can sometimes focus on a larger area and get more done. When you have more time, you might consider taking an area that is full of clutter (say an overflowing medicine cabinet) and do a declutter/organize combo. First, pull out everything in the area and separate the items into two piles: keep and discard. So, with a medicine cabinet you would discard anything out of date or things you don’t need/use anymore. Then determine a system of organizing so the clutter doesn’t return. That may mean organizing medicines into shoeboxes—maybe one for cold meds (cough drops, fever reducer, etc.), one for pain medicines, one for first aid items, etc.  

How to declutter if you have all day

If you have an entire day to devote to clutter, you should be able to organize an entire room. If you have this kind of time, I like the advice of Oprah’s decluttering guru, Peter Walsh. He recommends removing the contents of the room, sorting the items into keep and discard piles, planning the room, then organizing as you put the “keep” items back in. While this is a process that takes some time, it is very effective.  

Get a decluttering system

The FlyLady calls the areas that attract clutter “hot spots,” and I think that’s a great name for them. What are yours? Mine is the sofa table. It’s where we pile remotes and magazines on top, and shoes underneath. It’s always a mess. My plan to combat the clutter is to get a system to control it. I just bought a pencil cup desk accessory to hold remotes and placed it on the table. I’m also going to put a basket and a magazine rack under the table for shoes and magazines. What are your “hot spots”? Is it the kitchen counter where all the lunchboxes, bills and mail pile up? Determine your “hot spots” and figure out how to declutter those areas permanently. It can be easy to control clutter if you put a system in place.

Consider this: If bills pile up and cause clutter, one solution may be to sign up for paperless billing. And if catalogs pile up, you may consider calling to cancel some of the subscriptions.

What decluttering ideas have worked for you?
Do you have other strategies that have made decluttering your home a success? Share them with us! I know our readers would love to hear your advice.
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