5 Tips to Banish Clutter From Your Life For Good

Studies show that 80 percent of what we use comes from 20 percent of what we own. That means that 80 percent of the things in our homes are rarely or never used. Follow these tips to de-clutter your life.

Start the process of de-cluttering. Divide a room into sections. Pick one section (like one drawer or cupboard) and begin de-cluttering. Ask if you consider each item beautiful, useful, or loved. If not, you can probably get rid of it! If you're still not sure if you should get rid of an item, ask yourself, "What's the worst thing that could happen if I toss this?" The answer may help give you the power to discard the clutter. Also be aware of the size of your space, as smaller spaces obviously hold less stuff.

Work with a buddy. If you're having a hard time letting go of the clutter, enlist the help of a friend or professional organizer to offer an objective viewpoint. She can offer support and ask the tough questions like, "Are you really going to use that?" and "When will you ever wear that again?"

Try to touch things only once while going through this process. Quickly make a decision to keep or toss. It will be helpful to have large, dark-colored garbage bags, plus two large boxes on hand: one for items to donate or give to friends, one for items that need to go to another room in your home. The bags are for items that need to go the dump. (The dark garbage bag will keep you from seeing the contents and having "tosser's regret.")

Find an appropriate home for the items you want to keep. Once you've removed all the items that are not beautiful, useful, or loved, you are left with a room full of things you'll use and appreciate frequently. Assign a space (a "home") for each item and make sure to return it there after each use. Remember, if you don't return each item to its home after use, it turns back into clutter and disorganization will occur.

Give yourself a reward. At the end of a de-cluttering session, give yourself a pat on the back and a little treat, such as a bubble bath, a cup of tea, or a professional massage. Also take some time to relish the calm and tidy space you've created.

Copyright 2005 Time to Organize. All rights reserved.

Sara Pedersen, veteran professional organizer, is the author of the FREE e-newsletter "Organzing Dreams." Sign up today at http://www.time2organize.net to receive your FREE quarterly subscription. Then, make YOUR organizing dreams come true by visiting http://www.time2organize.net where you'll find dozens of organizing tips, before and after photos, an interactive quiz and much more.

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