While flipping through the channels, I occasionally happen upon an episode of the popular reality show Hoarders. The intrigue and dysfunction draws me in. But unlike most, I only watch for a bit and then change the channel. Because as I look around I see collections I have started and piles I have yet to sort through. As the mix of innate understanding and fear mix, I start to wonder if soon I will find my fifteen minutes of fame digging through the box of undone craft materials in my garage.
While my clutter isn’t to a clinically significant state (at least in my opinion), any clutter in your living space can fog your mind and create stress in your life. A great way to improve your living space, and outlook on life is to tackle the clutter. With a few tips, you can make a lot of progress in a short period of time.
1. Pile it up
My first step to organizing is to gather as many wash baskets as I can find and start filling them. Load the baskets with all the superficial clutter laying around on tables and countertops. Wash baskets are great because they are stackable and portable. Once the basket are full, you can pick a comfortable location ( i.e. the couch) and begin sorting through the mess.
2. Paper is the enemy
Grocery lists, receipts and all the other paper that you really think you must save, are suddenly drowning you. Grab your paper shredder and start shredding! Most bills are not necessary to save. Be proactive and sign up for paperless billing so prevent the piles from getting bigger. Sort through all the paper and get rid of as much as possible. Take what is left and organize it with folders and file in a secure location. Plan on doing this every other month to minimize the paper pileup.
3. Learn charity
Donating items is a fantastic way to both de-clutter and do good! Any clothing that no longer fits, or you haven’t worn in over a year needs to go. Any appliances that are no longer used (think your old tv or cd player) can be useful to others. Gather up everything that you can part with and find your local Goodwill or Salvation Army. If you itemize on your taxes, be sure to get a receipt for a tax deduction!
4. Set it free!
Charity is a great options for some items, but others are too bulky to move or won’t be accepted by most charities. Extra furniture is a good example. If you can gain space by getting rid of these items, then set them free. Post on Craigslist under free items. If you leave in the suburbs, placing the item on the curb with a free sign will work wonders! You’d be surprised the kinds of things people will take if it’s free!
A cluttered house creates a cluttered mind. While you may not be approaching Hoarders standards, everyone has extra “stuff” that can be gotten rid of. With a free weekend and these tips, you can quickly find space you never knew you had!
15 Great Decluttering Tips. http://zenhabits.net/15-great-decluttering-tips/. Accessed January 5, 2011.