With holidays (and guests) coming in the next few weeks, now is the perfect time to start some de-cluttering. Soon you will be adding to the chaos with decorations and new “stuff”. So clearing some items now will make the next few months flow a little easier.
Not only does a cluttered house cause some panic at the thought of friends and family dropping by, but a cluttered and disorganized home is much more difficult to keep clean and healthy. And I am not even talking about the ongoing stress of never being able to find what you need! Cleaning is much harder – whether you are trying to keep on top of it yourself or have us coming in. Clutter collects dust, pollen, pet hair, and keeps us from getting everything totally clean. And make sure you have a place for everything. Ever tell your kids to put something away and they ask, “where do I put it?” – and you don’t have an answer??? That is how clutter starts!
According to my friend, Anne Fleming who owns OTAPTNIS, an organizing and decluttering company, the fall is a great time to get your home in order. Cooler weather lets us get up in attics as well as make sure all our “treasures” can make the best use at many donation centers. Her advice is to start slow. Set some goals and make sure you commit to actually getting rid of things – not just moving to another area. Focus on one area at a time and accept that it will get worse before it gets better. She suggests starting in one corner and working your way around the room. Here are some other quick decluttering ideas!
- Declutter for 15 minutes every day. It’s amazing how much you can get through if you just do it in small increments like this. Set a timer for 15 minutes and see what you can accomplish in that time. Do this every day and watch the clutter start to disappear. Send the kids to their rooms to do the same. Just 15 mins.
- Pick one closet – empty completely. Then decide what NEEDS to go back in. Donate the rest.
- Walk around your cluttered house with a decent sized box and determine to FILL IT with stuff you will donate to a charity (and then make sure you drop it off or arrange pick up right away!)
- Fill a garbage bag with items to discard. Don’t stop until it’s full.
- Create a mail center. An “in-box” for your incoming mail ; bills to be paid, items that need actions, and things to be filed/shredded.
- Learn to file quickly. Paper clutter adds up very fast. Consider a scanner and switch as many bills/statements as possible to electronic files. Keep the paper from coming into your house
- If you have “too many” special knick-knacks, choose a certain amount to display and rotate through your stash throughout the year. For example, every 2 months, switch them up!
- Clean the floor… the whole floor. This will force you to get everything up and off of it – the perfect reminder to put stuff away instead of putting it back down where it was.
- Dump everything out of the junk drawer and only put back in the things that truly need to go there. Put everything else away in the proper spot again.
- Sort through your medicine cabinet and dispose of all of the old medications, beauty products, and the other misc. that find their way in there.
- Write a basic menu for the next 2 weeks to use up the build-up in your pantry.
- Recycle the catalog pile. You can find what you need online. And they will send you another one next week J
- Have a place for everything. Invest in more organizational and storage supplies so that everything truly does have a place. I have some great totes, file holders, and organizers to create a functional and attractive room or closet on my other site (yes – we needed one more business. This one specializes in keeping you organized so you can then keep your home cleaner). You can personalize them so everyone knows what goes where. Check out my other site for totes and bins to simplify your life….
- Whenever you’re boiling water, watching the broiler, or making coffee (something that keeps you in the kitchen) , declutter. If the kitchen is tidy, tidy up the next room – it’s only 3 minutes but it keeps you on top of everything.
- Clothing rule: If you haven’t worn an item in 6 months, sell or donate it.
- Love this idea – The One-Year Box. Take all your items that you unsure about getting rid of (e.g. “I might need this someday…”), put them in a box, seal it and date it for 1 year in the future. When the date comes, and you still didn’t need to open it to get anything, donate the box WITHOUT OPENING IT. You probably won’t even remember what there was in the box.
- Declutter one room (including any closets, desks, cabinets, etc.) before starting on the next one. Spending time in that room will feel *so* good, and it will be so easy to keep clean, that it will motivate you to do more!
- Have someone else (who you trust!) help you go through things. They don’t have the (sometime’s irrational) emotional attachment that you might have, but can still recognize if something should be kept. This might be when you want to call in an expert like Anne (410.221-0330). She empties it all out, sorts out, then sees what you need to keep. She will also discard items and take the rest to worthy donation sites. Easy.
- Call us to have your house cleaned. It is amazing how motivating that can be. And a super clean home is a wonderful reward for all your hard work!
Visualize your clutter-free home room by room, and work hard so you can enjoy your home once again. You’ll never again have that panic feeling when you have people drop in unexpectedly, but instead will open wide the door and say “come on in” with pride! And you will enjoy your home so much more.