10 Tips for Getting Rid of Excess Clutter
by Holly Tashian
1. Deal with your clothes. Clean out closets and dressers. Sell, consign, give away or toss anything that you no longer love or that no longer fits you. If it’s beyond repair, out of style, unflattering, or useless (like one sock only), then let it go.
2. Clear out your attic and cellar clutter. Let go of those old love letters, broken chairs, 10 year old tax records, old baby clothes, moldy rugs, useless tools, old towels and sheets, extra blankets, anything you no longer need. If you haven’t used it for the past 2 years, chances are you don’t need it, and perhaps someone else could make use of it.
3. Address the kitchen clutter. Remove everything from your kitchen counters that is not essential for every day cooking (blenders, mixers, jars of dried beans, rice, flour, etc.). These items should be stored in cupboards. Clean out the food storage areas and refrigerator to make sure nothing is expired, moldy or rotten. Clean out under the kitchen sink.
4. Organize your desk & office area. Keep your desk cleared off at the end of each work day. Create active files for all paperwork. Eliminate paper clutter by keeping one notebook for all notes, rather than post-its. Keep your Rolodex current. Handle mail once – toss catalogues that aren’t essential.
5. Recycle paper clutter. Magazines, junk mail and newspapers should be tossed out weekly. Books – especially paperbacks that you’ve read can be donated to the library. Keep only books that are essential and irreplaceable. Old textbooks, paperback classics, children’s books (when your children are grown) can be given away to book fairs, garage sales, libraries and friends.
6. Clear away garage clutter. Broken items, scraps of wood, rusty tools, parts of appliances, electrical equipment that no longer works are all candidates for the recycle bin, trash bin or Goodwill. Fix it, use it or let it go.
7. Put consciousness into bathrooms. Clean out medicine cabinets often. Keep a minimum of towels out. Make sure the linen closet is up to date and neat. Toss out any "dead soldiers" (empty shampoo, hairspray, and cologne bottles stored on the shelves). Keep magazines to a minimum of 1 or 2.
8. Stop clutter at the front door. Only buy what you need and have a predestined place for. Stop going to garage sales, throw out junk mail before it settles on the kitchen table. Accept other people’s stuff only if you really need it. If you acquire a new piece of furniture, let go of a piece of furniture that someone else can use. Recycle cans, bottles, papers, and plastic at least monthly.
9. Clean out your car. Since most of us spend considerable time in motor vehicles, it is wise to apply these guidelines to the car, RV or truck.
10. Ask yourself these questions:
Do I love it?
Do I need it?
Is it essential?
Does it enhance my life?
Then: Sort your things into 3 piles – (boxes)
Yes – I love it and I need it, it works and it’s useful
No – Someone else can have it
No – Toss it out