Clutter Control: The First Step in Getting Organized

The A & E reality show Hoarders is a shocking look into the lives of people who  have let clutter take over their loves. Granted these are extreme cases, with many underlying problems, but it doesn’t take very long before clutter can get out of control and become overwhelming.

How to Take Control of Clutter

The best way to get control of the clutter is to not allow it to get out of control in the first place. The old adage “A place for everything and everything in its place” is the key to being organized. Nothing is more frustrating than spending time looking for an item OR buying another black turtleneck sweater because you can’t find it in your closet.

Sort & Purge

It is best to tackle an organizing project one step at a time. Don’t expect to do every room of your house in just one day. Do it in small manageable bits. For instance, your closet: Go through your closet and pull out old clothes that no longer fit. Yes, I know, you are going to lose weight and wear those jeans one day.  And yes, that sweater may come back in style.  But do you really want to sacrifice valuable storage space for a 12 year old sweater with big shoulder pads?

  1. Make 4 piles: KEEP  DONATE or SELL   TRASH.
  2. The KEEP pile is for everything that you can use right NOW or within the next 6 months. Parting with your possessions is the difficult part of the process for many people. But consider this:
  3. Donating  those gently-worn  baby clothes and children’s toys  to a local charity will help someone less fortunate. Contact the Goodwill, Salvation Army or other charities. Many of them will pick up large items, such a furniture.
  4. Earn some extra cash by SELLING  items like electronics, old vinyl albums, DVDs and CDs at a garage sale or on Ebay com. (Even old magazines can be sold on Ebay. I once sold a 2 year old issue of a fashion magazine for $12.00.)
  5. Scanning or copying files onto a CD or storage drive will save tons of space in your office file drawers.

Organizing Your Stuff

Once you have eliminated the items you no longer need, you can begin to organize your new uncluttered space. There is an unlimited selection of products that can help you. The Container Store is an excellent place for storage boxes, baskets and shelving. Behind Closed Doors can create a shelving system that can transform a closet or home office. I also really like the Whitmor Storage Cubes at Target. They are great for storing toys, magazines and clothes and they come in a variety of colors.

You don’t have to buy a lot of specialty storage containers to keep your space organized. Simply folding and hanging clothes neatly in your closet will make it seem as though you have much more space. Now you are on your way to living an uncluttered life.

This is the 2nd post of a 4 part series on Getting Organized in 2010. Next week, we will discuss how automation and establishing a routine for regular tasks can save you time and money. Why not subscribe to My Personal Valet to receive updates.

Related Articles on Getting Yourself Organized

Planning Your Closet Makeover from The Container Store
Conquer Your Biggest Clutter Challenges from Real Simple
Uncluttering: Appreciate the Journey from Simply Stated
Five uncluttering things you can do in your office right now from UnClutterer

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