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Sunday, May 8, 2011

10 Ways to Keep Home Clutter-Free

Minute Makeover: 10 Ways to Declutter Today
by Sylvie Branch

We respect the power of paint and a great piece of furniture. But if you want to makeover your space, decluttering your home will make the biggest difference. And yes, it's free.
Clutter is one of those incredibly annoying problems that we know the solution to but still can't quite kick it. It's like weight loss: Yes, everyone knows diet and exercise are the key but that doesn't mean there aren't a million programs that package it in different ways. So here's my take: Follow these simple tips for inspiration and remember: Even if you just try it for a week, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised. 

Decluttering Tip #1: Take 5Getting rid of clutter may seem like a mammoth task, so break it down. Five minutes a day spent de-cluttering an area is surprisingly effective.

Decluttering Tip #2: Two For One Don't allow things into the house in the first place. If something new does make it's way in, make it a rule to give two things away in it's place. 

Decluttering Tip #3: Donate Choose a local charity to donate all the items that you decide you no longer need, but would hate to throw away. Go a step further and sign up to volunteer at a shelter or a food pantry, seeing how much need there is in your town, may inspire you to pare down your belongings. 

Decluttering Tip #4: Box It Up For all the items that you resist giving away, consider putting them in a box. Seal and date the box for six months or one year in the future. If at that time you haven't needed to break the seal, give the entire box away. 

Decluttering Tip #5: Start With The Kitchen Sink A clean sink goes a long way in making your home feel more organized. Decide that you will always have a dish-free sink and that clean feeling will spill over to the rest of the house. 

Decluttering Tip #6: Corner First Tackle a room by starting in the corner and working your way around. Taking two trips through each room will do wonders for the overall appearance. The first pass is for gathering up all the items that don't belong in that room. Place in a laundry basket for now, if you start returning each to the proper place there is a distinct possibility of getting distracted. The second time through wipe down surfaces and touch up the floor with a vacuum or broom.

Decluttering Tip #7: Less Storage That may seem like a backwards tip, but it's true: Having less baskets and bins and special storage containers reduces the amount of stuff in your home. Of course that will happen only if you let it.

Decluttering Tip #8: Old Is Not Always Gold Be realistic about the stuff you have been saving because it might be worth something someday. If that is the only reason you are hanging on to something -- meaning you don't love it or need it -- give it away. You can also find out exactly what something is worth with a little research. Check on ebay.com or ask a local antique dealer. 

Decluttering Tip #9: Use The Buddy System An excellent way to spend time with your best friend is to bond over your clutter. Ask a friend if they would be willing to help de-clutter and organize your home one weekend, and then return the favor. Cleaning together eliminates distraction and helps keep you from saving ridiculous items. 

Decluttering Tip #10: File don't Pile Be ruthless with paper clutter. Clear out the existing paper by simply tossing what you don't need and filing the rest. Taking a few minutes each day to contain this monster is the only way to control it.

Follow these ten tips for just a couple of minutes each and your home will soon have a lot more clean, clutter-free spaces.

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