Apply the one in, one out philosophy
It’s amazing how much one person or small family can accumulate over time, without even realizing it. Before you know it, your kitchen drawers are spilling over with random items, old bills, string, rubber bands, kids toys, and who knows what else. Colleen Madsen’s (of 365 Less Things) clutter reduction blog came up with the one in, one out rule. So for every item that comes into your home, something else should go out in turn. She writes, “The one in item does not need to match the one out item, although to make a difference it would need to be of a least equal size or, better still, bigger. Although it generally works out that they are similar items because it is usually that you are replacing one item with another.” Sounds easier said than done; we say give it a try, you might be surprised.
Take the 12-12-12 challenge
If you really want to get serious about organizing your home or workspace, Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist asks you to consider his 12-12-12 challenge. This relatively simple task — in theory, at least — asks you to locate “12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate, and 12 items to be returned to their proper home.” Becker says he likes to turn this challenge into a fun competition for the whole family.
Learn how to see the clutter
Sometimes your home or workspace can be what my husband likes to call “aesthetically clean,” which really means it just looks the part, but secretly clutter is lurking behind closed cupboards, drawers, and hidden doors. Unclutterer says it can be difficult to “see” the clutter in our spaces. “We sense clutter, but as we move through our regular lives we lose sight of it,” writes editor in chief Erin Doland. They have listed several strategies to help you spot the clutter in spaces, such as inviting your friends over for a party. When you know that people will be in your home, it helps you really think about how you want them to feel in that space and what you want them to see.
Clear out your pantry and start from scratch
There’s nothing worse than loose half-opened spice packets, condiment bottles with a lick of sauce left, and flour that hasn’t been transferred to a container and subsequently sprays dust everywhere each time you retrieve it. With holidays around the corner, it’s time to get organized once and for all. According to organizing and de-cluttering guru Nicole Anzia of Neatnik, that means clearing everything out and starting from scratch. “The best way to restore order is to remove everything, wipe off the shelves, toss expired items and then begin restocking,” she told The Washington Post. “Categorize and sort items. Nuts, rice, noodles, dried fruit and other things that come in upright sealable plastic bags can be held together in long rectangular containers. Snacks for kids and lunchbox items should also be grouped together and put in bins to make them easy to find.”
Throw away the visual clutter — immediately
There’s nothing more distracting than clutter you can see. For some reason, all those bits and pieces just make a room feel so chaotic. To prevent this from happening, Janet Schiesl of Basic Organization says you should get rid of the things you don’t want or need immediately. “Since you won’t be sorry to let those things go, get them out of your house first,” she said. That means throwing out unsolicited mail as soon as you take it out of the mailbox because it doesn’t deserve to be on your kitchen counter or side table.
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