Clean the clutter in 10 steps!
You can kill the clutter in as little as 15 minutes!
If your home is a maze - paths to all the places you need to be, but no empty surfaces, nothing in its place and no place for anything, there is an easy solution. You don't have to do it all in a day - or even two.
It's intimidating - you don't know where to start. It's a constant source of stress, every time you look around, your blood pressure increases.
You can declutter with a minimal amount of time, stress and grief. It doesn't have to be hard, it just has to get done.
How do I know? I'm a third-generation pack-rat. Getting rid of stuff was painful. Fortunately, it gets easier the more you do it. Now I celebrate "more floor!"
The worst part was getting started - there's so much junk, and so little time. Start small, focus only on what's immediately in front of you. And try not to worry about it; tomorrow's another day, with another 15 minutes to spend organizing.
Organized people can't help you!
People who are naturally organized don't understand us. They'll say things like "What do you mean you don't know where it goes?"
People like us, the ones with no "tidy gene," can learn organization, but it's not a no-brainer for us. We can be taught. We can do it. But it doesn't come naturally.
- Get a timer
- Get four bags or boxes - mark them for donate, sell, trash and keep.
- Tell everyone in the home that you'll start uncluttering at a specific day and time. They can either help, put their stuff away before that time, or never, ever complain about what happens to it.
- Choose a place to start. It doesn't matter where. Pick a room, bring your bags and your timer.
- Set the timer for 15 minutes. If you don't have 15, make it 10 minutes. Just do it.
- You only get to touch an item once. If you touch it, it goes into one of the bags. If you're not sure what to do with an item, don't touch it.
- Start the timer. Work steadily for your 15 minutes. Don't agonize, just sort: trash, sell, donate, keep.
- The timer rings - you're done for the day! If you can only manage 10 minutes, once a week, it will all be done one day.
- Put away the stuff in the "keep" bag. Throw out the trash bag. Put the "sell" and "donate" bags where you'll take care of them next time you're running errands.
- Congratulate yourself - you made a great start!
If you can't decide - keep it!
You can always get rid of stuff - you can't always get it back. If there's a question, it's a keeper.
That may defy conventional "organizer" logic - but most organizers don't share our pack-rat nature!
You'll love yourself more in a tidy home!
Tidying becomes addictive. You'll find yourself looking forward to using that timer. You'll celebrate "more floor!" every time.
- Just starting can give you a wonderful sense of accomplishment.
- You'll be able to find the stuff you need.
- You'll stop buying duplicates of stuff you have, but can't find.
- You'll be able to enjoy the stuff you keep.
- You can invite your family and friends over without excuses.
- You can be "house proud" once again!
It took quite a while to "clean up my act" - but my house is now guest-ready in minutes. And one of my favorite places to shop is now The Container Store. I've become an organization addict - I even try to get rid of something daily - even if it's just the receipts accumulating in my wallet.
I've learned to use either clear containers or folders or make sure my label-maker is close at hand. Out-of-sight really can be out-of-mind. I put a bunch of old cassette tapes I'm transferring to digital in a drawer and "lost" them for months. I haven't tried any of the apps available for keeping track of stuff, but that may be in my future.
The most important thing is to start - even if you put one thing away, throw one thing out, donate one thing. It's something. Which is always better than nothing.
Getting some professional help
© 2008 Hope