Cut the Clutter: Time to Organize your Home

It’s time … time to get to that in-home project you’ve been putting off for a while. You know: That clutter in your house, apartment, condo or townhome.

Now is when you need to either find a place for those things in your home, find a new home for those things, or trash or recycle them. Don’t feel overwhelmed. You’ve got this! Here’s what you need to do:

Set the mood

Reserve a block of time to tackle this task. If you are more productive late at night, plan to do it then. If weekends are when you generally knock off items on your at-home to-do list, than slot some time then to do this.

If a cool breeze helps you focus, open a window or patio door. If music keeps you on task, or injects some fun in the project, the crank up your favorite tunes. But avoid these things if they distract you. Avoid anything that distracts you.

Cut the Clutter

Now, it’s time to overcome the clutter. Start by purging what you don’t need, want, or don’t have room for in your home or storage space. Establish three piles of “keep,” “sell, give away to friends, or donate,” and “trash or recycle.” Doing this first – making the tough choices of what you should keep versus what you want to keep and what you have room for – and you’ll spend less time and effort finding places for the things you choose to keep.

Remember: The idea is to have as few things as possible in your “keep” pile. Once you’ve done the sorting, revisit your keepers once more. Follow these steps and suggestions when applicable:

For clothing: Ask yourself a few questions. Have I worn this item in the last two years? If not, why not? Does the clothing fit me, and if so, does it flatter my figure or physique?

If your desire to keep this clothing item is more about sentiment instead of wear-ability, ask yourself whether your memory of the sentiment can remain intact if you get rid of this piece of clothing? Maybe you can maintain your sentimental tie to the item by keeping only a piece of the item – like, a button, or a small piece of the fabric.

For tools, or small office or home appliances: This category also includes exercise equipment, also known to some people as “the place to drape clothes and jackets that don’t make it to the hamper or back in a drawer on or a hanger.”

Ask yourself these questions. When is the last time I used this item? Do I have other items like this or that do the same job? If it’s broken but fixable, do I really want to go through the effort, time, and possible expense of fixing it?

For bric-a-brac, figurines, books, magazines and photos: Yes, some of us actually still have hardcopy hold-in-your-hand books, magazines, and paper photos! With these items – items other than clothing, or tools/appliances/utility pieces, there tends to be some sentiment tied into it. That makes purging more difficult.

Why not make technology work for you? Consider getting digital copies of some of your books, and making digital files of some of your photos (saving them on a backup portable hard drive, in the cloud, etc. – use multiple storage solutions, if possible). Many people already do this for most of their music. This especially makes sense for those pieces of memorabilia that you don’t look at very often, but want to keep forever.

The same is true for random pieces of paper that may be part of your clutter. If it’s important, you may want to scan it into a digital file. But first, check out the info on those pieces of papers. The importance of the info may have decreased over time, and it may be time to pitch those pieces of paper.

If those papers are receipts, or other papers containing information you may not want others to get their hands on – for example, your social security numbers or credit card numbers – shred the papers. Either invest in a small, sturdy cross-shredder or take your papers to a professional shredding business.

Store your keepers

Once you’ve used these tips to reduce your total clutter and sort your things into the “keep,” “sell/give away/donate,” and “trash or recycle” pile – and you have significantly downsized your “keep” pile, the focus shifts to storage. Where are you going to put all of those things you feel that you must have on hand? You can’t just pile them up in a corner or drape them over the exercise equipment (even if you are keeping the exercise equipment). You have to find a place to neatly store them.

Don’t forget the obvious storage solutions, which include shelves, baker’s racks, wall-hung organizers, plus entertainment units with doors and drawers.

Another good idea is dual–purposed furniture. Some ottomans, nicely crafted benches and chairs, plus some coffee tables have space to neatly store things. Just don’t try to cram too much in there. Unlike suitcases, these storage spaces are inside of structured pieces of furniture which has very little capacity for stretching to add space.

But do the sorting and organizing BEFORE purchasing furniture and other organizing solutions. Assess what storage you need by what’s left AFTER your sorting is completed.

If you have big items, like a Christmas tree or a big wedding dress, to store consider paying for off-site storage if you can afford it. For more ideas on organizing and de-cluttering your home, visit https://www.theplancollection.com/house-plan-related-articles/new-years-resolution-organize-and-declutter-your-home .

Tackle that clutter, and it will appear that you have boosted your square footage of your home without paying more money for a bigger place. And think of the space you’ll have for parties or smaller get-togethers!

Next task: Deal with that junk drawer in the kitchen. Uh, how about we do that some other time?

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