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Decluttering the Closet

Decluttering the Closet

Organizing the closet can be a pretty big job. Closets are for storage. You probably put things in your closet without worrying much about where each item goes. Why worry? You merely shut the door, and the stuff you put in the closet seemingly disappears. Unfortunately, when you need that stuff later, you might not remember where you put it. Or your closet may be such a mess that you can’t find anything much in it at all. So now is the time to declutter that closet. Try to think of decluttering the closet as a treasure hunt. It’s amazing how many great things you can find in a closet that you thought were lost forever. So jump in and clean that closet. You never know what you will find.

Empty the closet

First, take everything out of the closet. If you are cleaning out a bedroom closet, put the closet contents on the bed. That way, you’ll have to finish the closet cleaning project before you go to bed. You will need a box for donations and trash bags. If you are not as strong as Wonder Woman or Superman, use a small to medium sized bag, and fill it full. You don’t want to get hurt lifting a heavy bag full of decluttered items. Some people also have a box for items they want to put in a garage sale or sell at a used clothing consignment store.

Clean the closet

While your closet is empty, wash it down and clean the shelves and floors. Since decluttering any closet is a huge job, you won’t be in a hurry to do it again. So you might as well do a good job and clean the closet while you have it empty.

Reduce your closet clutter by half

While the closet walls are drying, start to sort the clothing in the closet. That way you’ll have a major part of the job done first. Start at the top of the pile and work your way down. Try to get rid of at least 1 or 2 items for everything you keep. Try clothing on, especially if you haven’t worn that item for a while. If it doesn’t fit, it goes into the donation box. Be honest about this. You may keep one item that doesn’t fit to inspire you to lose weight, but no more than one. If you do actually lose that weight, you deserve new clothes anyway.

Out of style clothes

Out of style clothes go in the donation box. If they are seriously out of style and in less than excellent shape, consider throwing the clothing out. Clothes that are pilled, stained even just a bit, and threadbare need to be put in the garbage. If you wouldn’t wear the outfit, neither would thrift store shopper.

If you have a potentially vintage piece of clothing, you may be able to sell it at a consignment store or to a specialty store that features vintage clothing. To be eligible for resale at either of these stores, the article of clothing has to be in excellent condition, and usually need to be a brand name or made by a designer. Both clothing consignment stores and vintage clothing stores are notorious for being very picky about the clothing items they will take for resale. So if your clothing is not in like-new condition, it will probably not be eligible for resale. Remember- your goal is to clean out that closet. So if you have any doubt about the re-sale value of that article of clothing, donate it or toss it.

Comfort is the Key

Do you enjoy wearing that article of clothing? Is it comfortable? How long has it been since you last wore that outfit, toss it or donate it. If you don’t remember why you haven’t worn that outfit, try it on to refresh your memory.

Putting it Back

Only put clothing back in the closet that is appropriate for the season. If you decide to keep clothing that is not in season right now, store it in a plastic container either under the bed or in the basement or attic. Plastic containers will keep bugs and rodents from ruining your clothing.

Next put your clothes back in the closet in a specific order. Put the pants first, then skirts. Next goes short sleeved shirts, then long sleeved shirts. Jackets followed by dresses are next. If you have formal dresses or gowns, they go in last. If you keep your clothes sorted by length, you will be able to find each article of clothing more easily. You could even sort each category of clothing by color, but that is not really necessary unless you the time.

Shoes

Shoes go back in the closet next. Sorting shoes takes the same types of rules that sorting clothing does. If the shoes are uncomfortable or don’t fit, toss them or donate them. Only donate shoes in excellent condition, however. And only donate shoes if you know you don’t have foot fungus or other types of foot problems. Spray the shoes down with disinfecting spray before you donate, as well. You may save one pair of fishing or gardening shoes, but the rest of the worn out shoes need to go.

The Rest of the Closet

Because closet become a catch-all for many different items, now is the time to sort these items back to the place where they belong. If you no longer want or need that shoe box or worn out pair of gloves, out they go. Before you know it, your closet will be clean and organized. You will feel good about the way your closet looks and be able to find clothes and other items more quickly, which will save you time and energy in the long run.

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Decluttering the Kitchen

Decluttering the Kitchen

Kitchen decluttering is a huge job. The kitchen is the center and heart of the home.  Everyone congregates there. Families hang out in the kitchen and guests are entertained there. Because of this, the kitchen has a lot more traffic than many areas of the house. And more traffic often means more clutter in the kitchen.

First, clear off and clean the surfaces of the kitchen, such as counter and stove tops. You will probably need to put stuff on the kitchen floor until it has been sorted. Kitchen gadgets have been popular gifts for the last few decades.

Every year new kitchen gadgets come out, and one or two of them might have ended up under your Christmas tree, and then on your countertops. Choose the kitchen gadgets you need or use the most, then donate or throw out the rest. This is one type of item your local thrift store loves to receive for a donation. If you decide to keep a kitchen gadget, you must have a place for it in a cupboard, drawer, or stored somewhere else out of sight.

Your goal is to keep the countertop clear of gadgets and other types of clutter. The only things that should be on your countertops are a can opener and coffee pot. Everything else can be stored behind closed doors.

This is a room that really needs to have cupboards and shelves cleaned out routinely. Empty out the cupboard or cabinet you are going to clean.  Wipe off and sanitize the cupboard. Choose carefully what you are going to put back into the cupboard. If the item is broken, or there is only a little food left in the box, throw the utensil or food box away. Also, decide whether or not you use that utensil enough to make it worthwhile storing. If the answer is no, donate it to a local shelter or thrift store.

When you start to put kitchen utensils and small appliances away, put them closest to where they will be needed. For instance, put pots and pans next to the oven. Put cups and glasses in a cupboard next to the sink. Put cleaners under the sing. Then put dishes and utensils as close to the cups and glasses as you can. Store heaver items in lower cupboards and lighter items up higher, to make them easier to take out and use.

Put canned foods together in neighboring cupboards and keep baking ingredients together as well. Have a place for kitchen linens like dishtowels and pot holders. These should be close to the sink if possible. Cookbooks work nicely on that shelf or in that cupboard about the stove, if you have one.

As you are checking each item over before you put it away, check that each utensil works. Also check each food item’s expiration date before you put it back on that shelf. Foods can spoil and be dangerous. Spices also lose their scent and flavor over time. Use a black marker to write the expiration date on spices, so they are easier to see. Throw out foods, spices, or cleaning chemicals whose dates have expired. Then restock your kitchen cupboards with the remaining food items. Be sure you put those with the closest expiration date toward the front of the shelf, so you will remember to use it first.

Also, don’t forget to clean out the refrigerator. This should really be done at least once per week. And check the freezer for old frozen food or frozen food that might have extensive freezer burn. Once you have removed everything from the fridge, clean the surface of it according to the manufacturer’s suggestions. Usually soapy water or water with baking soda cleans the refrigerator and makes it smell sweet as well. Leaving an open container of baking soda in the fridge keeps it smelling clean as well.

Finally, pick up any clutter or items you have left on the floor and sort through them. Find a place to put your special, extra large roaster for that Thanksgiving turkey, and for the crock pot. By the time you scrub the floor, you will have a clean, fresh, organized kitchen that is clutter free.

Thrift stores and shelters really love to get donations from your kitchen. They can get too many donations of clothing, but usually don’t get too many donations of kitchen utensils. And people just starting out on their own love the bargains they can find at a thrift store. So box those unused utensils up and give them away.

Your kitchen will be more organized and you will feel good about your contribution to a good cause.

Decluttering the kitchen is a big job, but it will make your life easier in the long run. You will have fresh products to make delicious meals with, and fresh chemicals to clean with because you organized and decluttered your kitchen. Meals will be easier to prepare because your ingredients are organized and easy to find. And you will waste less time looking for utensils in your newly decluttered kitchen.

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Organizing Photographs

Organizing Photographs

While you are decluttering around your house, you will undoubtedly find photos that have been stuck in some unexpected places. Photographs are one of the many items that end up out of place when our house becomes cluttered.  But unlike many other types of clutter, photographs are undoubtedly more valuable than most types of clutter that you will need to deal with while decluttering.

History’s Mysteries

Have you ever looked through Granny’s photo album? If she didn’t label her photographs, she might not be able to remember who is in the picture, or what the special event was that prompted the photograph to be taken in the first place. Or if Granny has passed away, you may have a collection of photographs of people you don’t know. How unfortunate! Be sure you don’t leave mysteries for your children to wonder about. Organize your pictures and label them in some way. In that way, your children and grandchildren will know what their ancestors looked like way back when.

Get it Together

The great thing about decluttering is that you find treasures that you thought were lost forever. One unexpected thing that makes decluttering worth while is when you find one or two of those treasures. You can find money, jewelry, that lost sock you have been looking for, but one of the best of the treasures you can find is a photograph that you thought was gone forever.

While you are decluttering, be sure to have a box, basket or drawer for the stray pictures you might happen to find. Eventually you will have decluttered the entire house, and will have found all of your pictures. There are few treasures that compare to this! Think what fun you will have going through those pictures and putting them in order. And while you were decluttering, you may even have found a couple of unused or partially used photo albums.

You may also find small photo albums lying around the house, especially if you are a proud grandparent. Put these together with your loose pictures. Eventually you will decide what to do with all of those pictures, but for right now, just find them all and get them in one place.

Photo Storage

Now you have all of your pictures together. Your next job is to go through each picture put as much information on the back of it as you can. Put the date, place, occasion, and all of the names you remember or know on the back of the picture. Then decide how you are going to organize your pictures. Lots of people like to put their pictures in an album in chronological order, much like a family history in pictures. Other people like to have a scrap book or photo album for each person. These are only two of the ways that people organize pictures. You may be able to come up with your own unique way of picture organization. Let your creative juices flow.

This is one of those fun sorting jobs for a rainy or snowy day, or for a day that you need to rest from other more strenuous types of decluttering. Pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea, put on that extra long movie you haven’t seen for a while, relax, enjoy, and sort pictures.

Next stack your pictures in the order you’d like them to appear in your photo albums. You could spread them around on a table, but stacking them in order keeps them neat in case you suddenly have to leave your project for some reason. Have a couple of those hundreds of rubber bands, you found handy to keep the stacks of photos together. Round up your photo albums and start putting your pictures in.

Another fun thing to do while you are sorting your pictures and placing them in an album is to put some sort of label under the pictures. You probably don’t need to label every single picture, but labeling lots of the pictures will keep you from taking the photos in and out of the album, and risking tearing or damaging the photo. You may have found some extra labels you can use while you were decluttering. Or you can use other types of paper, like index cards that you cut and paste into the album, instead of using store bought labels.

Even if you have hundreds of pictures that need to be put into an album, you can do this organizational job quickly and enjoyably. If you think you will need several sessions to complete your photo organization project, put all of your materials in a box next to your favorite TV viewing chair. Then you can work on it every time you watch TV. Before you know it, your photos will be organized and safely in an album. When your children and grandchildren view the pictures in years to come, they will know who is in the pictures, when they were taken, and what the event was. Not only are photograph albums a gift you give yourself, but the people you love will enjoy and appreciate them long after you are gone.

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Top Ten Items to Keep Your Home Organized

Even the most frugal person I know will occasionally splurge on an item that will help her keep more organized.

Here are some of my favorite organizational tools for the home.

1)  Lazy Susan

Thanks to the soul who invented this little item!  They’re cheap, and help keep spices, bottles, and condiments neatly arranged and at your fingertips.  Use them in the pantry, in cabinets, on the kitchen table – they’re absolutely life savers when it comes to staying organized.

2)  Plastic Basket for Lids

Plastic containers – a double edged sword!  One the one hand they keep me organized and save tons of time in the kitchen, especially.  But searching through ten thousand lids that don’t fit can drive a person nutty.  I use a plastic basket for all my lids so they’re in one spot when I go looking.

3)  A Triple Swing-out Towel Holder

Put these under your kitchen and bathroom sinks to save space and keep your sink area uncluttered.  Use it to hold towels, cleaning rags, trash bags, etc.

4)  Place a few strong adhesive hooks in the laundry room – these can be used for hanging coats, clothes, etc.  Hooks are great to hang up mops, brooms and other cleaning supplies, too.

5)  Plastic Baggies with Zipper Locks

How did our ancestors survive without them?  Baggies are perfect to store small toys, puzzle pieces, and any little items that go together in one spot.  The  two-gallon sized ones are my favorite.

6)  A Labeler

These don’t have to be expensive to work.  And having containers and shelf spaces labeled is a great way to help children keep their items organized, as well as yourself.  Do yourself a favor – use a labeler for a week, and you’ll wonder hoe you ever lived without one.

7)  A Compartment Tray for Your Junk Drawer

Occasionally, I actually open my junk drawer to search for something!  Having miscellaneous items in little compartments of the tray will save you time and frustration when you go searching.

8)  A TV Remote Holder

How much time have you wasted looking for this little item?  Make or purchase a holder for your remote, or put velcro on the back and stick it someplace near the couch.

9)  Laundry Sorting Bin

Less than ten bucks, these bins help keep your dirty laundry organized, so that when you’re ready to wash the whites, they’re all in the same spot.  No more digging through a giant hamper to find the right clothes!  This makes laundry time so much simpler!

10)  Two-tiered Spice Racks

These cabinet organizers save time and hassle in the kitchen.  How many times have you searched for the oregano – behind the cinnamon, no – the nutmeg…Wait -where was the nutmeg?  You get the idea.

These items are by no means all the great organizing tools out there, but they’re my choices for time saving and hassle free living!

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Why is my house cluttered?

Why is my house cluttered?

Why is my house cluttered?

Some people are naturally neat people. They have a place for everything, and everything automatically goes back to its rightful place. Some people seem to have been born organized. Most of us, however, need a little help in the organizational department.

Sometimes we can keep things looking nice. But other times our houses, offices, and lives in general get disorganized. We take on one too many projects, and soon we are unable to keep our lives and homes in order. We wake up one morning, and the house is piled with clutter.

Okay, so the clutter didn’t really happen overnight. And maybe we just got busy, and didn’t keep up with our cleaning. On the other hand, clutter can be a sign of other problems in a person’s life. You really can judge how your life is going by how your home looks.  If you have piles of junk everywhere in your home, something is wrong.

Here are some of the basic issues that can cause clutter, and some quick suggestions on how to deal with the issue.

Too Much Stuff

Other people may have been sick or incapacitated for a period of time. They really couldn’t clean and control clutter as well as they would have liked to. As soon as they are feeling better, they will regain control of their clutter problem. And their clutter problem will probably stay under control as long as they are healthy enough to deal with it.

Some people are extremely busy, and have a hard time finding the time during the day to clean and declutter. Not only is their home disorganized, but there is a good chance their schedule is overly full and disorganized as well. These people need to get organized and stay organized. They may need to give up an activity or two, at least until they get organized at home. They also need to monitor what they bring into their homes once they are organized, so the whole cycle of clutter doesn’t start over again. These folks will need to be extremely vigilant by putting their things away immediately, and finding a routine where decluttering is a regular part of their day

Most people have a cluttered home or office because they just plain have too much stuff for their home. If your home is small, you’ll need to be careful what you bring into it, because it will fill up fast. But some people seem to have clutter no matter the size of their house. These people need to be more careful about what they bring into their home. They also need to get organized in the first place. They may be able to do this on their own, but might need help cleaning and sorting. They may also need some extra discipline and a routine of decluttering to keep their lives from becoming cluttered once they declutter.

For a few people, clutter is a sign of mental illness. Depression manifests itself by the inability to function in many areas of life. Clutter and a general lack of cleanliness are often one of the signs that these people aren’t doing well mentally. This is nothing to be embarrassed about. For lots of people, medication and therapy help them gain control of their physical space and helps them feel better mentally, as well.

For another very few people, clutter can be a form of obsessive compulsive disorder. These folks are commonly called “hoarders.” Perhaps your neighborhood had a hoarder. They have newspapers and magazines piled up to the ceiling. They never throw anything away. They have “collections” of junk that make it nearly impossible to walk through their houses. Usually there is a path from room to room, but not much else for floor space or living area. This is a big problem that needs to be addressed by medication and therapy. Hoarders have created a dangerous living space, because usually their homes are unsanitary and have lots of fuel for a house fire. These folks need some serious help, because the problem they have goes way beyond mere clutter.

For most of us, however, clutter problems are more about disorganization and lack of discipline. Hard work and some good advice on decluttering are all that is needed to get us organized, and get our clutter problem under control.

Lots of people with cluttered houses are perfectionist. They would love to clean and organize, but can’t do it until they can make their home perfectly organized. Since there seems never to be enough time or energy to make their home perfectly organized, they don’t organize at all. These folks need to realize that organization is a process that happens over a period of time. They need to pick an area of their home to organize, and just get started. Soon, their house will look tidy and be organized. They will know where their possessions are, and feel good about the way their house looks.

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Decluttering the Entire Family

Decluttering the Entire Family

Decluttering the Entire Family

You will be able to make many changes to your home while decluttering that feel good to you. Some parts of the house are community property. Therefore, it is okay if you move items in those areas, or throw some of the stuff in that area away. But some of the areas that need to be decluttered are a family member’s personal space. You can try to declutter these areas yourself. But woe be unto you if you accidentally throw out a treasure that looked like junk to you. In these cases, you can assign the person to declutter their own space. They may not be as excited about being organized as you are, however. Procrastination and arguments may be the result of you insisting that they clean their room. You can agree to leave the door to that room shut in some cases. Or you can work with that person to get them organized.

You may have some family pack rats. These particular messy person or people can be your significant other, children or other family members. These people will need to help decide which of their belongings should stay, be donated or tossed. You will need to set aside more time for decluttering projects with family members, because you may need to negotiate whether some items go or stay. Most people are agreeable to help cleaning and organizing. They may actually be relieved that they are finally getting their personal space organized. But they want an element of control over their space. They may become upset if they can’t find something they need right away. That is why you should work together with a family member to get their possessions organized. Hopefully the final result will be worth the effort that the two of you put into decluttering that family member’s space.

Happily, family members sometimes follow your positive example. If they see you decluttering, they may decide to get in on the activity themselves. Or sometimes a child might want to help you declutter. This is true especially when they see the positive results of your organizational efforts. But, in many cases, one person is the head organizer of the house.

You may have a person in your family that has some real issues with clutter. Collecting things is fine as long as the collection is stored neatly or displayed appropriately. But when your home becomes a dumping ground, you and those you live with are in trouble. Someone, probably you, will need to take some action. And for those living with people with a hoarding disorder, medication and counseling may well is in order. Compulsive hoarding can be treated. Thankfully, most of us don’t have such a serious issue with our possessions. We just get behind in our cleaning and need to rethink our stuff.

Throughout history, parents have had issues with getting children to clean their rooms. When a child is very small, you will need to help them clean their rooms quite a bit. Eventually, however, you want your child to be able to keep a neatly organized room of his or her own. Many children don’t want to clean their room or deal with the clutter.  One of the ways you get yourself to declutter is by using a timer and a bit of reward or bribery at the end of a cleaning session. This method will probably work well for your child, too. Sit down with your child and decide what reward he or she will get when they have finished a sorting or cleaning project in their room. If their room is really quite messy, you might have to break this room cleaning adventure into several smaller projects, just like you did with some of the large household decluttering projects you may have tackled in other areas of the house. That is fine.  Just be clear about what is expected of the child when they declutter. Also be clear about the reward they will receive. You may need to redirect a child several times, depending on their age. But even a toddler can pick up his or her toys and put them in a toy box.

Be sure to compliment them on their hard work when they are finished. And remember, you may need to help them do the actual deep cleaning portions of cleaning their room, to be sure that they have a healthy environment to sleep and play in. Hopefully the child will grow to appreciate a clean, organized bedroom and play area, and will be able to do much of the organization on their own.

Working with any family member to declutter a home or a portion of a home can be frustrating at times. Foster a loving relationship with the person rather than creating strife over how clean and organized the house is. Family teamwork is important, and everyone should be able to pitch in and help keep a home looking nice. This type of family teamwork can also build pride and self esteem among family members.

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How to Keep Potential Clutter Out of Your Home

How to Keep Potential Clutter Out of Your Home

Be Aware

The key to keeping clutter under control is to bring less stuff into your house. It’s just that simple. Remember all of the hours you spent getting the clutter out of your house. Then think at least twice before you bring that extra knick-knack or pair of shoes into your home. Remember, the less stuff you bring into your house, the more space you will have. And the less you will be responsible for cleaning and putting away.

Once a person has their house decluttered, it is important for them to be vigilant. Sometimes people with clutter issues at home also have other issues as well. They may need to take a good look at their workspace and declutter there, as well. And some people judge their happiness and mental health by how their home looks. Don’t forget the old adage “Cleanliness is Next to Godliness.” Does being organized make you more holy?

Who knows? But you can judge your happiness and the healthiness of you and your family by the way your home looks. Your home doesn’t have to be perfect. But you should be able to find what you need in your home without sending out a search party. And you shouldn’t have so much stuff that you spend more time taking care of things than you do of yourself and the people around you that you love.

Shopping and Clutter

Limit yourself when you shop. This is a good idea in general, because you can keep your budget and your household clutter under control if you set limits as you shop. Perhaps you can really get by with only one shopping trip per week.  Get the gas for your car at the same time. Also, never shop without a list. Lists save you both time and money in the long run.

If you don’t have a list, chances are that you will probably forget something you meant to pick up at the grocery store. Then you will have to waste time and gas money to go back to the store to by that item. Shopping and errand lists keep you honest, as well. If you stick to your list, you won’t bring extras home that you really don’t need. And shopping lists improve your chances of ignoring impulse buys that might tempt you.

What if you get to the store and don’t remember if you need an item or not? Do you have enough masking tape around the house for that painting project you want to start? Can’t remember? If your house is decluttered, you probably know how much masking tape you have, because you worked hard to sort through a pile to find it.   If you really don’t know, don’t buy more. Wait until your next shopping trip, and check your supply at home.

Avoid cluttering your home with duplicate items, and save yourself money as well.

Do you have a place to put that impulse buy that is calling to you from that shelf?

Or would you rather have that bare space you worked so hard for? Usually the choice is clear. You really don’t want to reclutter after you went through all of the work of decluttering that spot.

Most of us have something we either collect or have too much of. Yarn is an example of that. If you have boxes and boxes of yarn stored somewhere neatly in your house, good for you. But you really don’t need more. So plan on avoiding the craft store or yarn department all together. If you have a room full of die cast cars, think hard and long before you add a new one to your collection. You really don’t need another one. And that bare spot you worked so hard for is easy to clean and nice to look at, too.

If you bring something into the house, take something out of the house. If you buy a new outfit and have a closet full of clothes, get rid of at least one old outfit. Throw it away, give it away, or donate it to a local shelter. If you are a book lover and need to read the latest murder mystery by your favorite author, choose the 2 or 3 books you are going to give away, sell, or donate before you buy the new book. Think about the number of unread books you have at home, as well, before you decide to buy a book just to kill some time. You probably already have lots of books like that at home, already. Don’t succumb to the temptation to buy more. By the way, do you have room on your bookshelves for another book? If not, don’t buy more until you do.

Take a little time to think about buying before you bring a new item into your home. Know exactly where you are going to put a new item in your home before you bring it into the house. If you can’t think of a spot, don’t buy the item. Do you have space for more stuff? Do you want to make space for more stuff? Do you really want to waste the time or energy dusting or cleaning new stuff? If not, go home and reward yourself for being a strong shopper who wasn’t influence by impulse buying.

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Why Declutter ?

Why Declutter ?

Stress Reduction

If you feel stress in your home and life, one way to reduce that stress is to reduce the amount of clutter in your home.

Clutter causes confusion. A space full of clutter makes one specific item hard to find. If you can’t find something in your home or work space, you might feel powerless. You could fee that powerlessness both at home and at work, adding to your feeling of stress. If you are constantly looking for something and can’t find it, you have more stress in your life. Plus, you are wasting time that you could use doing something fun just to look for items you can’t find in your home. One example of this is if you are frequently late for appointments or work. If you can’t find what you need before you go to work, you’ll probably be late. Hunting for keys, gloves, homework or other miscellaneous items that are not in a specific place is a waste of time and energy. And the more you have to look for stray stuff, the more stress you have.

Clutter is also a waste of money. How many times have you been unable to find something, like tape, and had to run to the store to buy some. Sure enough, as soon as you get home, you find 2 or 3 rolls of tape that you didn’t know you already had. If you had a specific place for each item, you’d know what you have. You wouldn’t accumulate duplicates that are unneeded as well as a waste of time and money to buy and store.

Less Stuff

Let’s face it. If you have less stuff, you have less stuff to keep track of and clean. You don’t have to worry about where to store extra stuff. And if you have an organized home, you won’t have to spend time looking for stuff, because you’ll already know where your belongings are. So less stuff equals less stress.

Causes of Clutter

Maybe your life has been out of control. One way to tell if your personal and spiritual lives are in control is to look at your living environment. When people are mentally healthy and happy, their homes reflect this by being organized. When people are physically ill, it shows in their homes. You or someone you love may have been sick recently. If you were busy caring for that person, you might not have had enough energy to do much else but care for the ill person.

Clutter piled up because you or someone in your family was ill. It happens. One way to build back strength is to slowly sort and declutter your home. Set a small amount of time to clear off your kitchen table or counter. Do not overdo while decluttering. If all you do is sort and toss for 5 minutes, that’s great. Give yourself a rest. Then do more if you feel up to it. If not, that’s okay, too. Wait until later or tomorrow to work on more decluttering. Eventually you will build up strength and get your house back in order. It didn’t get cluttered overnight, and won’t be decluttered overnight. Be patient.

Clutter and Relationships

Maybe you have had a recent life change that has left your life cluttered. Your mind is probably feeling cluttered, too. So now is the perfect time to declutter. Birth, death, separation, and starting a new relationship are all lifestyle changes that can make you aware of the clutter in your life. If you have recently ended a relationship, you can ease your heart and clutter situation by sorting through belongings that remind you of that person. If you think the person would really like that item back, by all means find a way to give the item back. But if your significant other left some time ago, you can go ahead and get rid of their stuff. Throw stuff away that reminds you of that person.

Or if you think someone could get some use from these items, donate them to a local shelter or thrift store. This activity can be of benefit in at least 2 different ways. In the first place, you can remove your ex’s possessions from your home, which can be mentally very therapeutic. In the second place, decluttering your ex’s stuff from your home is great physical exercise, and may sooth your broken heart as well.

Clutter and Grief

Removing the possessions of a deceased loved one is more that merely decluttering, but is still a necessary activity after a person had died. Be honest with yourself about what is junk, but be sure to save a few things to keep for sentimental reasons. And people in need always appreciate donations of good used clothing and household items. If you really can’t decide whether or not to get rid of something, store that item for a while. When a little time has passed, you may be better able to make decisions about how to dispose of your loved ones belongings. Here again, the act of decluttering the possessions of a loved one can be therapeutic. Enjoy memories that come to you while you sort, toss and donate. Choose something to keep as a memento if you are allowed to. And the physical exercise of decluttering a loved one’s home helps you work through your grief as well.

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Entry Organization

Entry Organization

Most people have an area just inside their front door that is a transitional place between the outside world and their home. Usually this area collects clothing, shoes, purses or backpacks and pet items like leashes.

This area collects belongings as well as dirt and wet clothing. Some call this area the mud room. And mud surely does collect there. You actually want some item s to collect in your entry way. You want your cat and keys to be right where you and find them on your way out the door. Unfortunately, this area can become a pot of piles of coats and other outerwear rather quickly. Here are a few tips to keep your front entryway organized and neat.

Outerwear

Outerwear should be neatly hung with extra space available in the area so coats and jackets can dry if necessary. You may want to install a rack of coat hooks in on. But any kind of hangers will do. You could use a coat stand or hall tree for hanging coats and jackets, as well. Shelves are great for storing hats, scarves, gloves and purses. If you don’t have shelves or can’t install shelves, use a chest of drawers or other drawer system as a place of storage for your mittens and gloves. This chest of drawers can be an actual dresser or some plastic drawers that you can purchase for very little money. Besides, if you have been decluttering, you may have created an empty dresser or other type of storage or furniture that you can now use in your entry way.

Coat stands and hall trees also make a great place to hang coats, jackets and other wet outerwear. This is especially true if you don’t have a built in closet by the front door.

Keys, Mail and Other Potential Clutter

Baskets placed close to the door can help you sort items before you bring them into the house. You might need a basket for keys, sunglasses, loose change, and a larger place to put your mail of other important papers.

Before you even come in the door, you should have some kind of welcome mat so people can wipe their feet before they even enter your home. This foot cleaning mat will keep your entire house cleaner in the long run.

If you live in a wet climate, you will want a special place to put your umbrella. You don’t need to go out and buy an umbrella stand, however. Just find the right shape of garbage can or basket, and you have an umbrella holder. You may have discovered just the right container while decluttering in another part of the house. And if you need a place to store canes or walking sticks, your umbrella holder can multitask and do that as well.

Shoes and Boots

Shoe storage is an important part of any entry way. You can buy boxes to store shoes in, or use found boxes for the same purpose. Any plastic or wooden low shelves or cubicles will do. These also make a good place to dry wet or snowy shoes, as well. A stash of recycled plastic bags goes well in this area, especially if you might have to carry shoes or other items with you. Just stuff your old plastic grocery bags in an empty tissue box for easy dispensing.

Purses and Bags

Purses and bags can be either hung in the coat closet or placed on the closet floor. If you don’t have a coat closet, hang your purse with your coat, or put it on top of the dresser you put in the front entryway. You could even put it in one of the drawers you put in the front entry to collect scarves and gloves. If you have a gym bag that you routinely use, put it next to your gym shoes, or store it where you put your purse or briefcase.

Pet Supplies

Pet supplies placed near the door make leashes easy to find when you want to take you dogs for a walk. Any kind of pet or coat hook will work well. And if your pet has a coat, you can hang his or her coat there, as well. A towel hung in the entryway helps you dry off your dog if they get wet or snowy outside, too.

Keeping Your Entry Decluttered

Take a moment to enjoy your newly decluttered entryway when you are finished decluttering it.  Then make a point to put items away where they belong every time you come in the house. You will always know where your glasses and keys are. Your wet coats and mittens will have a place to dry and be ready for their next use. And you won’t have to look for your gloves, because you will know right where they are.

Once you find a place for everything in your entryway, be sure you keep everything in its place. In that way, visitors will have a positive opinion of your house on their first impression when entering your home. And you will save time and energy because you don’t have to look for your keys, gloves and leashes. Your life will be less stressful and you will feel organized.

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Reusing Clutter to Declutter, Part 2

Reusing Clutter to Declutter, Part 2

Here are more ideas for reusing items for storage and décor.

Plastic Bags

Use tissue boxes as plastic bag dispensers. You may want to save several sizes of tissue boxes for different sizes of bags. In that way, you recycle both the boxes and the bags and keep the bags from becoming clutter.

Some people use plastic bags for crafts. Plastic bags can be braided into rugs. They can also be braided and used like Styrofoam bases for crafts. One way to use plastic bags for wreaths is to braid the plastic bags, then shape them into a circle. Next, hot glue a brown paper bag to the circle to form a wreath base. Use more hot glue to glue pine cones and other Christmas decorations on the wreath base. Soon you will have a beautiful Christmas wreath created from recycled materials. But beware! Store the plastic bags for crafts appropriately, or the bags turn back into clutter.

Rubber Bands

Do you have thick rubber bands lying around the house? If so, you can use them to help keep the straps of spaghetti strap dresses or blouses on their hangers. One source of closet clutter is the blouse or dress that has spaghetti straps and won’t stay on its hanger.  Rubber bands wrapped around the ends of hangers keep straps from falling, and keep you clothes off of the closet floor.

Jewelry Organization

Organizing jewelry can be done using several different recycled objects that you might find around the house. You can hang necklaces from decorative hooks on the wall or from a closet door. Hanging your necklaces from decorative hooks keeps them from becoming tangled, as well. Untangling necklaces takes time that you could spend better elsewhere.

Clips and Clothes pins

Magnetic clips and clothes pins can double as clips and holders for many different household items. Both work well as recipe card holders. Magnetic clips can be attached right on to the hood of your stove for easy reading. Clothes pins can be put at the top of you rolled up potato chip bag and help keep them fresh.

Jars

If you found pretty jars while decluttering, you can use them for storage and even sometimes for décor. Glass baby food jars are frequently used to store small items. But don’t keep lots of them around just in case you might need them some day, or they turn into clutter. You can use glass baby food jars to store anything from pins to beads to nails and staples. If you decide to use baby food jars or other jars for candles holders, put a few drops of water at the bottom of the jar. The wax will come out of the jar much easier if you do.

You can use a small collection of glass jars or vases that are a similar color for decoration. Group them together for a designer vase look. This color scheme idea makes even the most unusual items look like a collection.

Small jars are frequently used to organize bathroom clutter. Bobby pins, hair ties, cotton balls and tons of other bathroom or make up items can easily be sorted into small jars. These containers make good organizers for the home office, as well. Rubber bands, paper clips, and staples sort into these easy to store containers and are easily put into drawers.

Boxes

Small boxes and small plastic containers make excellent storage containers for bathroom items such as ear swabs and cotton balls. One example of the type of containers you can use is berry boxes from the produce department of your grocery store. Depending on what the box was originally used for, you might need to spray it with disinfectant. Grouping similar types of boxes together makes those recycled boxes look more like a fashion statement and less like an accident, as well.

Vases

Vases are good storage for many household items. You may have a cupboard full of vases from flowers you have received down through the years. It is always nice to keep a few of these around for flowers from your garden. But after a while, vases too become clutter. You can use vases to hold office supplies such as pens and pencils. Crochet hooks and knitting needles can be stored in vases for a decorative look. And a very large vase may just be what you have been looking for to use as an umbrella holder for your front entry.

Need Shelves? Try This!

An easy way to give yourself some extra shelving is to use crates or smaller shelves inside larger shelves to give you more storage. Remember those plastic milk crates? Stack them and use them as shelves. Put crates or boxes on closet shelves or on the floor of a closet and use them as shelf space. Boxes work for this as well, especially if you need shelves in a closet or place where no one will see the boxes.

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