May 1, 2012

Control your clutter with a good spring cleaning!

We all collect things.  We move things, use things, and buy things.  The result? Clutter. Here are a few tips for beating it!

1. Set up a place for everything. That makes it pretty hard to lose anything.  A practical solution for keys, cell phones and outgoing mail is a small box or basket that works with your decor and is easy to access; on the kitchen table, on the counter, in the entry. How about this cool key holder?
2. When you bring one thing home, try to send at least one thing out the door. Buy a new shirt? Try to get rid of an old shirt at the same time. If all you do is bring stuff home and you never purge, you will never be able to beat back clutter.

3. Boxes, baskets, bins.  I am a huge fan of storage in the house. Even if you have tons of stuff, having it inside a storage container makes it look and feel more manageable.  Baskets are an easy and inexpensive fix. With off-priced stores, and sales at organizational shops, your options are nearly endless. 
4. Craigslist, Ebay and Amazon are your friends – Sell, sell, sell. Books, CD’s, DVD’s, clothes, televisions, you name it – if you have it, someone else is willing to pay for it.
5. Purge twice a year – Make it a point to spend a day or two twice a year doing nothing but purging.

6. Put stuff away in storage until you need it. I am not talking about paying for storage, but rather your garage or some place like that. Your Christmas supplies do not need to be stored in your closet in the house if you do not have the room for it…it’s going to be 11 months before you need them again!
7. Start small. If you have trouble because you are overwhelmed with the amount of “stuff” in your home, try doing just 10 minutes a day of purging. It makes the process way more manageable and less scary.
8. Unsubscribe from magazines, catalogs, that you do not need. Check out the products on line, read at the library, and if you must receive it, pass it on within a week so it doesn't end up residing with you forever!
9. When you buy a product, buy a multi-function version. A coffee maker that both grinds the beans and makes the coffee. A remote control that runs your TV and your stereo. A blender that is also a food processor. By combining these type of goods, you can reduce the amount of “stuff” you have to find a place for.

10. Make lists. I have a small leather binder that I refill with notebooks. It goes everywhere with me (I'm switching to my Ipad soon) so I can jot down notes, design ideas, and a TO DO list. If you write it down when you think of it, you are more likely to follow through on whatever it is. Lists are an immense help to anyone having trouble with clutter.