Keeping the important stuff

Conquering Clutter

Clutter. It creeps into crawl spaces, fills up cupboards and, when we least expect it, overflows into the garage. Whether you’re trying to pare down to down size or stage your home for an open house, it is wise to reduce the number of items you’ll have to pack. The net result is a cleaner, more organized space which appeals to all buyers. Here are some steps to help.

Ask for help

It is a difficult task sifting through a lifetime of objects- many sentimental, many with fond or painful memories attached. Ask a close friend or family member to help you or hire an organizer to assist you with the task. If you are even thinking about downsizing, starting to organize early will be less stressful than having all the other aspects of moving pile up at once.

Work in threes

Working with bags or boxes, place items into one of three piles: keep, donate or trash. You can always sift through the piles later to decide what to recycle or sell at a yard sale.

Start small

The best way to exercise your clutter-busting muscles is to start with a manageable area like a desk drawer or small closet. Give yourself a time limit (15 minutes) and get it done, then pick another area and try to do it even faster.

Reject the need to collect

Just say no to stuff you really don’t need. As hard as it might be, pare down your collection of figurines, matchbooks or Ming vases to five favourite items only. Or, if you can’t bear to part with any of them, make a plan to only have five items on display at one time and keep the rest packed in boxes. Simpler looks and feels better – and having too much of anything out in the open will only require more dusting.

Aim to lose a third

While most professional organizers will insist you cut your belongings in half, try for a third. If you have 30 scarves, trim them down to 20. Four shelves of books? Go for less than three. Do you really need five fondue sets? If getting rid of your items is painful, remember: less is more…more space, more time, more peace. And if you’re moving, more savings on moving costs.

Put it in its place

Once you decide to keep an item, honour it by giving it a designated spot. That way you’ll always know where to find it and where to put it back when you’re done using it.

Use it or lose it

If you can’t think of the last time you used a small appliance (like that bread maker that’s stowed under the sink) or wore a particular outfit (shoulder pads, anyone?), it might be time to give it to someone who can really appreciate it and you will feel good about helping someone in need.

Keep at it

Conquering clutter isn’t something that you can accomplish in a single afternoon; you have to work at it every day. The more often you do it, the less you have to do. Plus, living in a clutter-free home just feels better since you’re not digging through drawers and cupboards looking for lost keys or important warranty documents, and you’re not dealing with piles of stuff everywhere you turn.

As you can see, there’s no one cure-all for clutter, but by applying just a few of these methods you’ll be able to turn yourself into a clutter conqueror!

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