Sunday, July 19, 2009

7 Clutter Cleaning Tips to Save Time, Relieve Stress and Get Organized!

Have you ever watched those clutter clearing TV shows and found yourself crying along with the homeowner when their new clutter-free room is revealed to them?!

It reminds you to never underestimate the power of organizing a space! Living with a lot of clutter can be energy draining and can sometimes weigh you down, both emotionally and physically. You owe it to yourself to take the time to reorganize your space. You will be amazed at how much more energy and enthusiasm you have when you live in a clean and clutter-free space.

If you have a significant amount of clutter, don’t despair; begin with the room that you use the most. Once it is organized you will feel a great sense of accomplishment and it will motivate you to organize other cluttered rooms in your home. Here are some organization tips to help you along the way:

1. Schedule
Schedule the time you need to clear your clutter as you would an appointment outside your home. Then enlist the help of a family member, friend or professional organizer, who will also be your cheerleader. Depending on your situation, it may take a weekend, a week, several weeks or even months to completely remove your clutter. Don’t be discouraged. Take small steps and schedule 2-3 hours at a time. If you remain focused, you will get through it.

Tip: Don’t underestimate the time it may take to re-organize your space. Schedule the time on your calendar for weekly sessions, if possible.

2. Sort
Set up stations or use containers labeled “Keep”, “Donate”, “Discard” and “Recycle”. If you plan to hold a yard sale or sell online, include a “Sell” container. Also, if you are dealing with paper and mail, include “Action” and “File” containers. Begin with tabletop surfaces and the floor first, before tackling cabinets and closets. The key is to clear as much of the visual clutter as possible before moving onto the hidden clutter, such as closets, drawers and cabinets.

Tip: Your sorting containers can be anything you have on hand, or purchase simple containers for the job and label them accordingly.

3. Purge
Do you really need to have 25 cookbooks, or would you rather get recipes online as you need them? Must you keep every item your child brings home from school? Also, be realistic about your appliances. If you haven’t used your bread maker in 6 months, you probably will not use it again. Donate it to your favorite charity or give it to a friend. Maybe your friend can bake you a loaf of bread as gratitude!

Tip: Purging can be difficult, especially for pack rats. A supportive friend or professional organizer can help you to make quick decisions when sorting your items.

4. Stay Positive
During the process, if you become tired and frustrated, take a break. Have a drink or light snack and remind yourself of your goal for the space. If you are exhausted, then it’s time to stop for the day. Remember to schedule the next clutter clean-up session on your calendar.

Tip: Try not to overdo it, especially during your first session. Otherwise you may feel overwhelmed and decide not to continue.

5. Reclaiming Your Space
As you are going through the process of sorting, categorizing and purging, think about how you want to use the space. For instance, if you are organizing the kitchen and are confronted with a pile of unopened bills and mail, decide if you even want to do your bills in the kitchen. Maybe you would prefer doing your bills in the office or another space in your home? Also, keep similar items together and in a location that is convenient and makes sense to you.

Tip: During the process of finding a place for each item, begin thinking about storage options that you will need to purchase to help keep everything organized.

6. Shop!
Now that you can see what you have left, it’s time for the fun part - shopping! Purchase shelf organizers, clear containers, baskets, drawer organizers and more and label everything. You may even decide to replace some major pieces of furniture for your newly overhauled space!

Tip: Save time by shopping online at a one-stop organization product store.

7. Maintain
Now is the time to marvel in all the work you have done. Don’t let it go to waste! Plan to spend about ten minutes a day putting things away. This will avoid clutter accumulation.

If you need a helping hand, consider hiring a professional organizer. Hire someone who is going to educate you on the process of organizing your space so that you can maintain order in your home long after the work has been done. A professional organizer will provide non-judgmental, unbiased and confidential assistance. Be organized for life!

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