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Top Ways to De-Clutter

Once we hit Labor Day weekend it can feel as if we’re in a race dictated by other people and the media not to mention our own inner demons of perfection and procrastination.  The pace is relentless.  The demands are punishing.  The goal is the New Year.  What’s a person to do? Well, there is no question in my mind the more organized you are the easier this time of year is going to be for you. If you are a methodical person who likes to take your time and master the challenges before you I suggest One Year to an Organized Life.  But you may not want to devote a lot of time to getting organized.  You may want the ‘organizing lite’ experience.  For you I wrote The 8-Minute Organizer.  You’ll get fast results with minimal effort.

Here are some quick ideas to get you started:

1. Make a Decision.

Piles are stacks of items whose fate you have yet to decide. From the clothes on the back of your bedroom chair to the myriad piles of papers around your kitchen and office there’s no shortage of examples of delayed decisions. Everything needs a home. Here’s how it works: you don’t have to pay a bill the second it lands in your mail or in box.  You do need to put it in a folder where all bills are kept.  You don’t have to contact the retailer who sent you an incorrect item this very second.  You do want the related documents in a To Do folder.  Get the idea?

2. Establish Positive Habits

The best way to build organizing self-esteem and influence those with whom you live and work is to start doing little things that carry a big punch.

Here are my favorite repeatable actions (aka habits):

  • Make your bed every day.
  • Wash that dirty dish or put it in the dishwasher: don’t let dirty dishes stack up in the sink like ersatz art work.
  • Put clean dishes away when dry whether that means unloading the dishwasher or clearing the drain board.
  • Check the trash every day and empty when appropriate.
  • Put your keys in the exact same spot the second you enter your home.  (And establish a home for your glasses and that roaming remote while you’re at it!).

3. Edit with Abandon

A good editor will help a writer delete the words that are not necessary to tell the story or make the point. A good organizer edits out of the environment everything that is no longer used or wanted.  But this isn’t a wholesale dumping of everything that was once sacred to you.  It can be quite a creative endeavor as you decide the fate of each item in turn.  Will it be tossed, recycled, repurposed, donated or simply moved to the area in the home where it belongs? You can have fun with this step. As the space clears out You’ll be amazed how much easier it is to breathe, think and of yes make decisions.

4. Create Categories

When related items live in the same spot you have immediate inventory control.  Never again will you buy batteries, toilet paper or chicken soup unless you are running low. Think of the money you’ll save!  You’ll also save time.  Gone are the days of: “Gosh, I was sure I had another xyz around here somewhere!”  If you have the item it will be with its brethren in the designated area. Finally you save physical and emotional energy.  You can focus them on more positive endeavors than missing keys or reading glasses!

A New Day Dawns

We humans so easily fall into the same old/same old trap that they’ve done clever commercials about our insanity.  It takes a little time and some effort to change but what have you got to lose? This just might be the year you send the kids off to school with everything they need to succeed including a quiet place to do homework; enjoy the big holiday meals; get your shopping done early and save time, money and energy in the process. I came across this quote and thought it was the perfect close: “A year from now you will wish you had started today.” – Karen Lamb

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