October 22, 2009

Decluttering Tips

This week I had the pleasure of speaking to a lovely group of people at the Montclair YMCA (NJ). Half of the group wanted to know how to organize papers and the other half wanted to know about organizing their closets. They ALL wanted to know how to minimize the clutter in their homes--who doesn't?

So, here are two tips for minimizing clutter and saving time that I shared with them--they'll work for you, too...

1. Give Everything You Own a Home (A Place for Everything and Everything in it's Place)

I know it sounds a little like micromanaging but most of the items you own have logical homes. Your toothbrush lives in a spot in the bathroom. The TV Guide and remote live somewhere near the TV. Unless the item is out of the ordinary, it shouldn't take long to come up with a logical spot for all of your belongings to live.

I'll tell you a little story...

Once upon a time there was a new husband and wife who took their tape measure with them when they went shopping for items for their new home. Upon returning home, they would drop the tape measure wherever it landed and the next time they went shopping they had difficulty finding it. Until one day when the wife (that would be me if you haven't figured that out already) said, "Why don't we just pick ONE spot to house the tape measure? That way, we'll always be able to find it when we need it."

Long story short, that tape measure is still in the same home we created for it almost 9 years ago. It takes us no time to locate it when we need it and it is easily returned to it's 'home' after a day of furniture shopping.

2. Immediately Dispose of Items Not Needed

Clutter is anything unfinished, unused or unresolved. But, it can also be items you just don't need anymore like expired medicine, clothes beyond repair, and food that's turned blue in the back of your fridge. These items have what I call, "The Duh Factor." They require very little thought when it comes to their disposal due to their poor condition. When you see them, you're most likely to say, "Duh, I should have gotten rid of this a long time ago. It's taking up valuable space in my home!" Getting rid of this type of clutter is easy and is a great way to start chipping away at your crammed closets and cabinets.

The best example of clutter that can be tossed immediately is JUNK MAIL. I'm convinced that even if you live in a shack in the woods, catalog companies and charities will still find you. When your mail comes, grab the pile and immediately toss the junk mail in your recycle bin (remove your name and address first). Thanks for saving a tree... ;-)

Take 15 minutes a day to try out these tips. You'll soon see a difference in your home and notice that you have a bit more extra time in your day. Not bad, eh? Well, 'duh...'


shredding San Antonio said...

These are indeed very helpful de-cluttering tips. A lot of homeowners will surely find these ideas useful especially to those who are dealing with paper clutter. Thanks for sharing.

Stacey Agin Murray, Professional Organizer said...

Thanks so much for your kind words. I really enjoy helping people declutter their lives--I hope my tips will bring more trash bags to the curb and unwanted items to people who need them.