Now that Spring is here, it is the traditional time for “Spring Cleaning” and these declutter tips are a great place to start. Plus, if you follow them all year, next year Spring Cleaning will be easier and faster. If having a clutter free home is a goal of yours and you are having trouble keeping that goal, read the article, “How to Make Goals That Work” for some great tips.

Home Declutter Tips

by Allison Palmer

The truth is, many of us have very little free time. When you add piles of stuff to the mix it’s enough to overwhelm anyone. I know you’ve been meaning to get organized but let’s face it: if you have an office filled with stuff, you can spend your time and money on organizing and get it all stored away, but at the end of the day you still have an office filled with stuff. And that clutter is zapping your energy – get rid of it.

Where to begin? Get some boxes and label them: recycle, garbage, for donation and storage. What should go into these boxes? Well, for starters, things that you don’t use on a regular basis, clothes you haven’t worn in the past year and anything you’ve been “meaning to fix”.

We often have emotional ties to items – I’m not suggesting that these aren’t valid. They may not, however, contribute to your current emotional well being, and if you are feeling overwhelmed your knik knaks might be contributing to that. So if you have things you don’t use but can’t bear to part with, like that lamp from Aunt Hetty or the t-shirt from college, you have a couple of options.

You can put them in a box and label it “memories”. Store the box in a garage and revisit it in six months to a year. Maybe it’s fine to stay in the garage, or maybe you will want to get rid of some of those items when you realize how little you missed them.

Another option is to take photographs of the things that are important to you. Maybe you want to combine the images with a little story about the memory attached to the item. Maybe the photo is enough.

Once you’ve gotten rid of the clutter, clean as you go – this one sounds obvious, but if you don’t make it a habit you’ll find clutter creeping back into your life. Suddenly your house is a mess again, requiring way more energy to clean. Train yourself to put things away after you take them out and file paperwork on a weekly, if not daily basis. It’s easy to slip into the habit of intending to put things away later, but be diligent. Schedule 20 minutes a day and a couple of hours on the weekend to tidy and organize. By doing it bit by bit on a regular basis, the clutter will be far less overwhelming.

That is very important as we clean clutter to be able to change our thinking while we change our actions. Looking forward to an organized room as you expend your energy and channel your efforts in the cleaning process is a perfect motivator.

While we start to change our thinking, we need to be mindful to the fact that we should open and then trash junk mail as soon as we receive it. We should read our magazines the day we get them or at least by the next day. We should recycle our magazines to neighbors or doctors offices but we need to learn to get rid of them within 2 days of receiving them.

Once we have cleaned the room, added new shelves or curtains, and then replaced the important things that we kept back into our room, we need to be mindful of keeping free of clutter. There are some very good rules to follow to make sure that we won’t end up with a cluttered room again.

We need to put things back where they belong instead of laying them down in a haphazard way or helter-skelter. You know we all were told growing up, “that there is place for everything and everything in its place”, and that is certainly true now that we have organized everything.

Resist temptations when you are shopping and never buy duplicates, never buy on the spur of the moment, and don’t buy one thing unless you get rid of one thing beforehand. That would mean that you need to get rid of something by giving it away or donating it BEFORE you purchase anything new. That is usually the beginning of hording or collecting junk.

Continue to be diligent with your organization by only touching a piece of mail once. If it is trash, throw it our but if it is important, then file it. There are nice filing cabinets that are essential to maintaining order for paperwork. If you have trouble keeping addresses, invest in a rolodex to keep important numbers in and you can add or subtract names with ease.

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