Mar 13, 2013

Do you hate clutter?

When your belongings control your time, your happiness and your house, it's time to de-clutter and free yourself from the burden of storing, moving, cleaning, organizing and managing it.

I do like things neat, but like everyone else, collect things, forget to pick up after myself, and procrastinate.  When inset a system in place, like in the garage and my closet, things do stay uncluttered and organized.  My secret:

1. Keep a hamper, bin, basket or shopping bag for discards. In the garage it's a large box, and in my closet it's an old hamper.   If I try something on that didn't fit right, needs repair or isn't the right style, I add it to my hamper.  My husband does the same with clothes that look too worn.  When the container is full,  I go through to be sure I don't want to salvage something, put it all into my reusable shopping bags and take it with me to work.  As I pass a donation location or goodwill center, I drop it  off.

2. Don't buy storage containers until you really intend to use them. You'll usually end up storing stuff you really don't need or have extra containers once you pack them up.

3.  Do a bi-annual purge of your two largest clutter areas.  Usually it's the children's toy collection and the garage.  If the children have outgrown a toy or don't  really play with it anymore,, pass to a friend or neighbor, or donate to a church, charity or community organization. I use tools and garden, so I am more conservative about what I purge in the garage.  Old paint, extra nails and screws, lumber, and extra canned goods all get reviewed and dealt with.  The old bike that never got repaired, the bowling balls my husband used in 1999 and assorted items we don't use, don't make the cut.  You have your own list, I'm sure!

4. Organize and label  everything you store away.  My favorite storage method is stackable bins with chalk labels. I can stack them in the floor six high, and can easily read what the contents are.   A good  shelving system is essential so you don't have stacks of stuff you can't access.

5. Start de-cluttering with your shopping habits.  When you're out looking for clothes, kitchen items, cleaning supplies, or just about anything, think twice before you buy an item.  Can you remove one thing you don't need and replace rather than add to your collection? Do you have the space, use and desire to maintain it?  That's stopped me from buying yet another black sweater top, a kitchen accessory I really didn't need.