Every Little Step
Starting the decluttering process can sometimes seem so overwhelming that just getting started feels like a Herculean effort. Start with the room that needs the least help, like your living room, and only worry about that one space. The sense of accomplishment you’ll feel finishing an easy room will spur momentum to tackle the trickier rooms. In the living room, recycle or donate out-of-date magazines and old books. Keep a cute basket for current magazines and catalogs, a pretty tray for your collection of remotes.
A proper plan can help you tidy up in no time. Make a list of the rooms to tackle so you can slowly chip away at the clutter. Grab three trash bags (or boxes) and commit to filling them with either trash, recycling or stuff to donate. Use the like-minded method to organize anything from your pantry to your clothes closet to your office by grouping similar items, i.e. all cans culled in rows, tops hung together, paper clips contained in one jar, etc.
Winter has us pulling out hats, scarves and gloves along with our warmest coats. Make sure you have a space to hold these essentials, so you don’t have to hunt to find them when it’s time to go. If you are fortunate enough to have a coat closet, place baskets in the closet to hold and separate your winter wares by family member or type. No closet? No problem! There are lovely cabinets and benches that provide wonderful storage to separate and stow the necessities. Don’t forget a spot for your handbag!
While the kitchen may seem daunting, it’s actually easier than you think. With food expiration dates, it’s pretty cut and dried as to when something should be tossed from the pantry or fridge. Be realistic about what you really will eat. Once you’ve gotten rid of old and never-to-be eaten foods, use the like-minded method to rearrange. An organized pantry will make it easier to check what ingredients you need before heading to the grocery. Be wary of big box, buy-it-in bulk stores, especially if you don’t have extra storage space. The money you save is not worth the space you forfeit, or the food you may have to throw out.
The bathroom can quickly become a cluttered wasteland of half-used beauty and personal care items. These products have a shelf life to ensure efficacy and safety, so discard old items you no longer use. Try organizing your remaining fresh beauty care on a lovely tray. Don’t forget to properly dispose of expired medications. Don’t flush them, look for a National Drug Take Back Day or contact your local police department to see if they have a year-round disposal program.
Once you’re organized, one of the easiest ways to keep clutter from reaccumulating is to follow the one-touch tactic. For instance, put your dirty juice glass right in the dishwasher, not on the counter, so you only touch it once. When you get the mail, sort it and recycle it right away. Bills in the bill bin, magazines and catalogs in the reading basket, etc. You can also sign up for online e-bills and auto pay with many utilities and credit card companies, saving the paper pile from amassing.
As we’re clearing away the physical clutter, it’s also a good time to sweep away the mental clutter bogging us down. Creating a list of your to-dos frees you from having to commit it to memory. After the craziness of the holidays, it’s nice to declutter your schedule by not stacking the days with too many things to do. Be choosy about what you schedule, so you can slow down and enjoy a little “me” time. Yoga and meditation can not only free your mind, but also relax and tone your body, too.