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The Zen Organizer’s Top 10 Tips for Banishing Clutter
Would you like to keep chaos to a minimum during the holidays? Yet, you lack the time to really get organized? Are you hoping Santa leaves my book One Year to an Organized Life in your stocking so that you can start creating a new experience for yourself next year? Take heart as I have 10 quick and easy tips to help you get started. These gems will not only serve you now, they will turn into positive habits that become a part of the very fabric of your life. And now without further adieu ~
Make your bed every morning. The room will feel chaotic if the bed is left unmade. Psychologically, it’s a way to put an end to the previous day and welcome the next. Be sure you set yourself up to win this one easily: don’t pile 400 pillows, stuffed animals and books on the bed. Less really is more. Make life easy for yourself at every turn.
Never leave dirty dishes in the sink. This is especially important before you go to bed at night or leave the house for the day.
You want to start your day and re-enter your home with an inviting atmosphere. Who needs the guilt of an unfinished task staring them in the face? And don’t forget to put those nice, clean dishes away.
Check the trash and recycle containers every day. Empty as needed. In addition to providing a calm visual, it will help fight pests such as roaches and ants. Do you have children in the home? Put them on ‘Trash Patrol.’ Chores help children feel like contributing members of a household. It raises their self-esteem when a job is well done. And it prepares them to manage their own homes, unless of course, your secret plan is to keep them with you forever. I didn’t think so.
Schedule household chores such as dusting, vacuuming and cleaning on your calendar and honor the commitment. A home that is tended to regularly is never going to feel overwhelming to maintain. The neglected one, on the other hand, will make you feel defeated before you begin.
Pick up after yourself. Clothes left strewn about a room can be visually depressing. And the next time you want to wear that special outfit that’s now at the bottom of the heap don’t scream if it’s wrinkled or covered in pet hair. But the same holds true for paper and all manner of clutter. Everything needs a designated spot. Words to live by!
Toss the excess packaging that comes with everyday products. Items will be easier to store and look tidier. This holiday, toss the debris that comes with gift giving. Saving a reusable piece of ribbon or paper is wonderful; saving scraps just because you feel bad about tossing them only creates personal clutter. It’s important to save the environment but that means your living space as well as the North Pole.
Get some plants. They give off oxygen and are pleasing to the eye. Got a black thumb? Adopt a cast-iron plant. (Not a joke!) These plants are popular in malls and resist all forms of torture including trash and cigarette butts. And let’s face it, that makes your home a paradise by comparison. A perfectly organized home with nary a sign of life is akin to living in a motel room. Literally go green!
If you subscribe to magazines, toss the oldest issue when the latest arrives. Scan your list to see if it’s time to cancel a few subscriptions or just read them on your new electronic reading device.
Burn an energizing aromatherapy candle while you’re getting dressed in the morning to leave the house, and use a calming aroma for quiet nighttime baths. Purchase from conscious vendors who use soy wax and cotton wicks. There’s no point polluting the environment you’re trying to make smell good.
Give your children the gift of an organized environment and teach them how to create one. This is the ultimate ‘gift that keeps on giving’ and it’s a great legacy. Buildings crumble, gardens wither and die but a person who can create order and take care of herself can survive and thrive anywhere.
It takes 21 consecutive days to turn an action into a habit. Work consistently with the above and before you know it there will be noticeable changes in your environment. You created what you see now which makes you in charge of creating something new and better in its place. All you have to do is take the first step.
‘The Zen Organizer’
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Professional organizer since 1988
Author of 8 books including New York Times best seller “One Year to an Organized Life.”
Named ‘Best Organizer in L.A.’ by Los Angeles Magazine
Download Regina Leeds’ popular and free guide: How To Organize Your Wardrobe