(Editor’s Note – Today we are joined by our friends from MyMove. )
Most of us have heard the basic clutter-clearing tips:
- Start with one room, or even one drawer, taking 30 minutes a day, or a few hours each weekend, to clear the clutter
- Create three piles: donate, sell, throw away
- Create a place for everything in your home, using storage solutions that work for your lifestyle
But no matter how many times we’ve de-cluttered in years past, clutter comes creeping back, sometimes worse than before! Whether you’re preparing for a move, have just moved in to a new home and your goal is to keep it clutter free, or you just want to make this the year you kick the clutter habit, here are three steps to a clutter-free lifestyle… for good.
1. Recognize your clutter patterns.
What do you typically collect? If you tend to buy home decor items, knick-knacks, clothing or even appliances that you only use a few times a year, it may be time to limit your spending. Before you make an impulse purchase, leave the store. Wait two weeks. If you are still thinking about the item, have a place for it in your home, and can really see yourself using it, only then make the purchase.
If it’s kids’ schoolwork and art projects that you can’t bear to part with, recognize that it’s okay not to keep every work sheet that comes in the door. Save special pieces in a folder labeled with each child’s name. At the end of the year, snap photos of all your favorites, and then save only one or two truly special pieces of artwork.
2. Get a handle on paperwork.
While a true “paperless office” may be a far-off dream, there are ways to minimize paper clutter in your home. First, sign up for electronic billing for all your accounts to reduce mail. Then find storage solutions, whether it’s hanging file folders, file boxes or three-ring binders for the rest, including work and school papers and receipts. Sort everything as it comes in to your house, or keep a box in your home office and go through it weekly. Shred junk mail and store the rest. The trick is to tame paper clutter before it turns in to a beast.
3. Get your whole family involved in clearing clutter.
Whether it’s the kids or your spouse, family members can sabotage your best attempts at keeping a home clutter-free.
- Take toys kids haven’t played with in months and place them in a box in the attic, garage or basement. Six months later, if they haven’t specifically looked for anything in the box, take it out. Ask if there’s anything they’d like to keep before you donate the contents to Goodwill. (If your children are under 5, go ahead and donate the box after six months; it won’t make you a bad parent!)
- Institute a policy of “get one, give one”: when your child gets a new birthday or Christmas gift, he or she has to give away an old toy to a charity.
- Hold a garage sale and let every family member keep the money they earn from selling their own items. This will encourage everyone to clear the clutter from their space to earn extra cash.
Visit MyMove.com for a customizable checklist, tips and hand-chosen deals to make your move more affordable and less stressful.