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8/26/16 11:34 A

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Angela
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SPARKINGRAMMY's Photo SPARKINGRAMMY Posts: 3,422
8/25/16 8:44 P

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Great advice. Thanks for sharing. I myself don't like clutter, so I try to grow through papers and clutter as often as I can and get rid of what I don't need.

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Marge
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8/25/16 5:07 P

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18 Five-Minute Decluttering Tips to Start Conquering Your Mess



ďThree Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.Ē Ė Albert Einstein

Iíve written a lot about simplicity and decluttering (I canít help it ó Iím passionate about it!) and Iíve noticed that a lot of readers share my ideal of having an uncluttered home or workplace, but donít know where to start.

When your home is filled with clutter, trying to tackle a mountain of stuff can be quite overwhelming.

So hereís my advice: start with just five minutes. Baby steps are important. Sure, five minutes wonít barely make a dent in your mountain, but itís a start. Celebrate when youíve made that start!

Then take another five minutes tomorrow. And another the next day. Before you know it, youíll have cleared a whole closet or a room and then half your house and then Ö who knows? Maybe before long your house will be even more uncluttered than mine. Weíll have a challenge!

For those who are overwhelmed by their clutter, here are some great ways to get started, five minutes at a time.

1.Designate a spot for incoming papers. Papers often account for a lot of our clutter. This is because we put them in different spots ó on the counter, on the table, on our desk, in a drawer, on top of our dresser, in our car. No wonder we canít find anything! Designate an in-box tray or spot in your home (or at your office, for that matter) and donít put down papers anywhere but that spot. Got mail? Put it in the inbox. Got school papers? Put it in the inbox. Receipts, warranties, manuals, notices, flyers? In the inbox! This one little change can really transform your paperwork.

2.Start clearing a starting zone. What you want to do is clear one area. This is your no-clutter zone. It can be a counter, or your kitchen table, or the three-foot perimeter around your couch. Wherever you start, make a rule: nothing can be placed there thatís not actually in use. Everything must be put away. Once you have that clutter-free zone, keep it that way! Now, each day, slowly expand your no-clutter zone until it envelopes the whole house! Unfortunately, the neighbors donít seem to like it when you try to expand the no-clutter zone to their house, and start hauling away their unused exercise equipment and torn underwear when theyíre not at home. Some people donít appreciate simplicity, I guess.

3.Clear off a counter. You want to get your house so that all flat spaces are clear of clutter. Maybe they have a toaster on them, maybe a decorative candle, but not a lot of clutter. So start with one counter. Clear off everything possible, except maybe one or two essential things. Have a blender you havenít used since jazzercise was all the rage? Put it in the cupboard! Clear off all papers and all the other junk youíve been tossing on the counter too.

4.Pick a shelf. Now that youíve done a counter, try a shelf. It doesnít matter what shelf. Could be a shelf in a closet, or on a bookshelf. Donít tackle the whole bookshelf ó just one shelf. Clear all non-essential things and leave it looking neat and clutter-free.

5.Schedule a decluttering weekend. Maybe you donít feel like doing a huge decluttering session right now. But if you take the time to schedule it for later this month, you can clear your schedule, and if you have a family, get them involved too. The more hands pitching in, the better. Get boxes and trash bags ready, and plan a trip to a charity to drop off donated items. You might not get the entire house decluttered during the weekend, but youíll probably make great progress.

6.Pick up 5 things, and find places for them. These should be things that you actually use, but that you just seem to put anywhere, because they donít have good places. If you donít know exactly where things belong, you have to designate a good spot. Take a minute to think it through ó where would be a good spot? Then always put those things in those spots when youíre done using them. Do this for everything in your home, a few things at a time.

7.Spend a few minutes visualizing the room. When Iím decluttering, I like to take a moment to take a look at a room, and think about how I want it to look. What are the most essential pieces of furniture? What doesnít belong in the room but has just gravitated there? What is on the floor (hint: only furniture and rugs belong there) and what is on the other flat surfaces? Once Iíve visualized how the room will look uncluttered, and figured out what is essential, I get rid of the rest.

8.Create a ďmaybeĒ box. Sometimes when youíre going through a pile of stuff, you know exactly what to keep (the stuff you love and use) and what to trash or donate. But then thereís the stuff you donít use, but think you might want it or need it someday. You canít bear to get rid of that stuff! So create a ďmaybeĒ box, and put this stuff there. Then store the box somewhere hidden, out of the way. Put a note on your calendar six months from now to look in the box. Then pull it out, six months later, and see if itís anything you really needed. Usually, you can just dump the whole box, because you never needed that stuff.

9.Put a load in your car for charity. If youíve decluttered a bunch of stuff, you might have a ďto donateĒ pile thatís just taking up space in a corner of your room. Take a few minutes to box it up and put it in your trunk. Then tomorrow, drop it off.

10.Create a 30-day list. The problem with decluttering is that we can declutter our butts off (donít actually try that ó itís painful) but it just comes back because we buy more stuff. So fight that tendency by nipping it in the bud: donít buy the stuff in the first place. Take a minute to create a 30-day list, and every time you want to buy something thatís not absolutely necessary (and no, that new Macbook Air isnít absolutely necessary), put it on the list with the date it was added to the list. Make a rule never to buy anything (except necessities) unless theyíve been on the list for 30 days. Often youíll lose the urge to buy the stuff and youíll save yourself a lot of money and clutter.

11.Teach your kids where things belong. This only applies to the parents among us, of course, but if you teach your kids where things go, and start teaching them the habit of putting them there, youíll go a long way to keeping your house uncluttered. Of course, they wonít learn the habit overnight, so youíll have to be very very patient with them and just keep teaching them until theyíve got it. And better yet, set the example for them and get into the habit yourself.

12.Set up some simple folders. Sometimes our papers pile up high because we donít have good places to put them. Create some simple folders with labels for your major bills and similar paperwork. Put them in one spot. Your system doesnít have to be complete, but keep some extra folders and labels in case you need to quickly create a new file.

13.Learn to file quickly. Once youíve created your simple filing system, you just need to learn to use it regularly. Take a handful of papers from your pile, or your inbox, and go through them one at a time, starting from the top paper and working down. Make quick decisions: trash them, file them immediately, or make a note of the action required and put them in an ďactionĒ file. Donít put anything back on the pile, and donít put them anywhere but in a folder (and no cheating ďto be filedĒ folders!) or in the trash/recycling bin.

14.Pull out some clothes you donít wear. As youíre getting ready for work, and going through your closet for something to wear, spend a few minutes pulling out ones you havenít worn in a few months. If theyíre seasonal clothes, store them in a box. Get rid of the rest. Do this a little at a time until your closet (and then your drawers) only contains stuff you actually wear.

15.Clear out your medicine cabinet. If you donít have one spot for medicines, create one now. Go through everything for the outdated medicines, the stuff youíll never use again, the dirty-looking bandages, the creams that youíve found youíre allergic to, the ointments that never had an effect on your energy or your eye wrinkles. Simplify to the essential.

16.Pull everything out of a drawer. Just take the drawer out and empty it on a table. Then sort the drawer into three piles: 1) stuff that really should go in the drawer; 2) stuff that belongs elsewhere; 3) stuff to get rid of. Clean the drawer out nice, then put the stuff in the first pile back neatly and orderly. Deal with the other piles immediately!

17.Learn to love the uncluttered look. Once youíve gotten an area decluttered, you should take the time to enjoy that look. Itís a lovely look. Make that your standard! Learn to hate clutter! Then catch clutter and kill it wherever it crops up.

18.Have a conversation with your SO or roommate. Sometimes the problem isnít just with us, itís with the person or people we live with. An uncluttered home is the result of a shared philosophy of simplicity of all the people living in the house. If you take a few minutes to explain that you really want to have an uncluttered house, and that you could use their help, you can go a long way to getting to that point. Try to be persuasive and encouraging rather than nagging and negative. Read more about living with a pack rat.


ďWe donít need to increase our goods nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants. Not wanting something is as good as possessing it.Ē Ė Donald Horban


Edited by: HOMEBODY4EVER at: 8/25/2016 (17:09)
Marj. (British Columbia, Canada)

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