As trees shed their leaves, our thoughts often turn to the unwanted stuff we need to shed to make our homes and lives feel freer, easier, and more spacious. But how to begin the daunting task of ridding our homes of clutter?
Many people are turning to professional organizers for help; in fact, the author of this article paid hundreds of dollars to consult with one. But you can save your money! He shares three sanity-saving tips that can help you get your house in order, for free. Find out what they are, right here:
1. Start with one small step. Rather than follow his organizer’s advice to make long lists of things to keep, the author learned that it’s better to start with actually tackling something small and attainable, like cleaning out a closet and getting rid of what you don’t need. This way you don’t get overwhelmed and the sweet feeling of success will give you the incentive to do something bigger.
2. Keep only what you need and use. Take time to decide what you really, truly use and need, and be ruthless about donating or recycling the rest. This is the crux of true organizing. Follow William Morris’s dictum that everything in a home should either be beautiful, useful, or both.
3. Dealing with Mystery Boxes. We’ve all got ‘em: those storage boxes filled with who-knows-what. The organizer suggested that the author take photos of the top layer of stuff inside each box, so that the photos could be displayed on the outside. But it would be a far, far better thing to simply go through the boxes one by one, getting rid of anything unwanted and organizing the rest by type (kitchen utensils, tools, etc.), placing these in new boxes that are clearly labeled with the contents. No more mysteries!
Adapted from “Organic Style Magazine” (Rodale Press, October 2004 issue).