One thing that should be on EVERYONE’S resolution list…

#1 Resolution: De-Clutter. 

Regardless of what else you need to work on this coming year, all of those things could only be enhanced by de-cluttering your living space, work space, car…

Clutter, ironically, seems to cause anxiety for a lot of people.   I’m guessing because at the root of the problem, they don’t know what to do with “it” or how to organize “it”.  Usually when I have anxiety about a situation, it’s because I don’t know how to tackle it.  That makes it seem overwhelming.  But the psychological effects of a good purge really have a ripple effect.  But, with a couple easy steps, you can declutter your entire house AND organize it by spring (yes, I think it takes that long because when you set out to tackle a whole house at once, it’s too overwhelming).

What to do: start with one room a week, no more.  And here’s why…you need to access every single item in that room (yes, EVERY item...for example, in the kitchen, that means every spice bottle, because yes, they do go bad and lose their potency).

Step 1: Start in one corner of the room and move clockwise.  Pick up an object and ask, “Do I use it?” or “Do I love it?”  If the answer is yes, you can keep it.  If the answer is no, then it goes in one of three places… garbage (if it’s broken), donation (if it’s still useable to someone) or sell it (if it’s too valuable to give away).  Have boxes ready for the donations or the sell items.  Throw out the trash. Get rid of the donations as soon as you’re done with that room.  And make a list of how/what you need to do to sell the items (list on eBay, find a specialty buyer, etc.). 

Then, Step 2: Organize what you’re keeping.  The easiest way…put like with like.  In the kitchen, all things related to baking (cupcake liners, cookie cutters, rolling pins, etc.) go in one drawer or cabinet.  If you’re tackling a closet, put like with like first, THEN, if needed buy storage containers once you see the size of that category. Do it however it makes sense to you, organize clothes by season (my preference) or by color.  Whatever is the easiest for you to maintain.  If there are things you love, but don’t use (momentos, gifts you have to keep because the giver would be upset if you didn’t, etc.) pack them up nicely in boxes and label them.  Don’t allow things you don’t use to clutter the space of things you need to get to often. 

Step 3: Access the room after the declutter.  Do any light fixtures need new light bulbs?  Does any furniture need repair?  Anything need new batteries?  Whatever it is, make a list and do it before moving on to the next room. 

It’s best to give yourself a week to do one room because you can easily get overwhelmed, especially in a closet.  Sometimes you’re going to have to walk away from it and come back to it later with fresh eyes.  But depending on the size of your house, you can easily get it done within 2 months…BTW, “house” includes the garage and basement.  Once you do a major sweep of the entire house, it’s pretty easy to maintain.  Every 6 months, go into a room and quickly access what’s there.  Do a mini purge (20-30 minutes) so things don’t build up.  And if you’re really hard core, stick to the rule of 1 In, 2 Out… for every one new thing you buy, get rid of 2. 

It’s a lot of work but what else can you do in January and February?  Football is over and "The Bachelor" is only on on Monday nights.  That gives you tons of time to lighten up and declutter by spring!  Happy Purging!