Getting Rid of Clutter
Content Updated October 3, 2007
If you have a hard time keeping your home clean, you may just have too much stuff. It takes time to clean clutter. The more you have, the more you have to clean. Plus, a cluttered home, no matter how much you clean it, always tends to look messy. So start de-cluttering your world.
Pick a place to de-clutter
Closets, junk drawers, and bookshelves are usually the easiest place to start, but if you are more concerned about a more prominent area (such as your living room) it may be best to start there. Don't feel that you must work on your entire home at once. De-cluttering your world is an ongoing process, so don't bother giving yourself deadlines either (unless some important event that requires an attractive, organized, clutter-free environment will be taking place in your home).
Set up your sorting system
The "Trash Bag"
If it's obviously trash, throw it in the trash bag.
The "Recycle Bags"
I can't stand watching those organizing shows where everything ends up in the trash bag. Take a little effort to help our environment by having bags for recyclable paper, plastic, and metal. Some people like to throw everything into a trash bag during the de-cluttering process, then sort through the trash bag to separate all of the recycling items, but I prefer to just sort everything at once during the de-cluttering process.
The "Get Rid of It Box"
This is for stuff that is still useful, but you just don't want it anymore. You may want to try to sell these items at a yard sale or give them directly to charity and get receipts for your tax deductions.
The "Return to Owner Box"
We all seem to have something that belongs to somebody else, so make sure you have a box of items that you need to return.
The "Errand Box / Basket / Bag"
If you have items that need to be returned to the store for a refund, taken to the repair shop, or require some other similar errand, stick it in the "Errand box." Alternatively, you could use a decorative basket or bin if you tend to have a lot of items that require such errands on an ongoing basis, or you can use a tote bag that you can just pick up on the way out the door.
The "Misplaced Box / Basket"
This is the box for all of the items you find that don't belong where they are found. Your daughter's baseball glove that you found hiding behind a pile of magazines on the bookshelf would go in this box. Alternatively you could use a decorative basket or bin that you can leave out all the time for quick access (since you will most likely find misplaced items almost every day) without the shame of having an ugly cardboard box in your family room. Have your family members go through the box and pick out there stuff when you're done. Anything that doesn't get claimed gets given to charity or sold at a yard sale.
The "Undecided Box"
So it's definitely not trash and it doesn't require an errand, but you're just not sure what you want to do with it. Should you get rid of it, put it in a different location, or try to jazz it up with some decoration? Stick it here until after the de-cluttering process.
Plan on spreading out the work
Don't try to tackle everything in one day. Just do something every day to make progress, such as one drawer a day or one shelf a day. Of course, you can always do more if you feel like it.