Clutter is such a harmless little word, but the stuff wreaks so much havoc in our lives. It creates piles of papers, dishes, shoes, and toys. It creates overstuffed closets, messy drawers, and most of all stress.
So how do we get control of it? Baby steps. Baby steps. Remember the more of it you have, the more of your time you will have to spend getting rid of it.
Step 1 Deal with Paper Clutter As Soon As Possible.
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The faster you deal with paper clutter, the easier it is to avoid those piles of paper clutter that tend to pop us around your home. One of the biggest sources of paper clutter is your daily mail. You can check out my Simple Ways to Manage Daily Mail Clutter here. For all other pieces of paper you will want to choose one of the following steps:
- Toss it
- Shred it (if it has sensitive information)
- Recycle it.
- Respond to it. Put a response in the mail, send papers back to school, etc.
- Mark it On Your Calendar.
- File it.
Step 2 Purge All Non Paper Clutter
The first step to doing this is to choose an area that you wish to organize and purge. Small areas like a desk drawer are easy. Entire rooms are much more difficult, so I suggest setting aside some time and purging one area of the room at a time. You will also need to set aside an area to place the items that are leaving the space. I set up containers and divide the items into the following categories.
Trash is for anything worn out, broken or unusable. These items should not be given to charity.
Charity is for anything that is in good condition that another person could benefit from. These are items that are would not benefit a friend or family member and are not valuable enough to sell.
Sell is for any item that you believe would make you a decent amount of money if you sold it. You could sell it online, in a garage sale or in a consignment sale. Any item that you do not sell or forget to sell within two months should be put in the charity pile.
Repair is for items that will have to be fixed by taping, gluing, sewing, or need to be taken out for repair. You should only put items in this pile if you will actually fix them or take them to get repaired. If you know that will not happen, the item belongs in the trash.
Relocate is for items that need to be moved to a more appropriate space in your home.
Re-home is for any item that you want to give away to a family or friend that you believe would benefit them. Do not use this as an opportunity to pawn items off on friends and family that you don’t want, because you feel guilting donating them to charity. If it will not make your family or friend’s life better, they don’t need it. Any items that you do not re-home within two months goes to charity.
Keep This is the pile of items you are keeping. These are the only items you will put back in the space.
Step 3-Set Clutter with Emotional Attachments Aside
This is where so many people get stuck when purging clutter. They come across an item that has an emotional value to them for some reason and they just get stuck. When you are doing a quick purge you need to set these items aside and schedule a time at a later date to go through them.
Step 4-Don’t Create Clutter.
This seems obvious, but many people don’t follow it. The best way to get rid of clutter is not to bring it into your home. If you cannot avoid this, then you must get rid of something else to make room for new items. Need more help managing daily clutter?
Related Post: 5 Simple Rules for Conquering Daily Clutter Here.
For more help with clutter and for tips on minimizing your stuff I recommend these books: