Pick a room
Where to start is often the hardest part of any cleaning endeavor. If you are a brave-hearted soul, begin in the messiest room in the apartment. More timid persons may want to start in a smaller space, like a closet. Whatever your choice, be sure you are mentally prepared to be ruthless and have assembled the proper arsenal.
The tools are simple. Arm yourself with garbage bags, empty boxes, magic markers and a dust rag. Now label each box with “donate”, “toss” and “keep” or whatever similar phrasing suits you.
Let the games begin
Your first step is getting rid of things that don’t belong in a given space. Put the ones you want in the “keep” box, and worry about where you will actually put it later.
Your criteria for deciding what to do with the remaining clutter is to ask the following questions: Do I love this? Have I used it in the last year? Do I have two? Am I sentimentally attached? Do I feel sad and guilty when I look at it? Then get rid of everything in the room that doesn’t make you feel positive in some way or that you just don’t need. Either pass it on to someone else who would enjoy it, or, if it can’t be used by another, toss it!
When your garbage box is full, take it outside to the bin and bring in another. Do the same for your donations, sealing each box and taking it to your car as you work. The goal is to get the stuff you don’t want anymore out of your place.
When the “keep” box gets full, pick it up and carry it with you around the apartment, putting each item in the proper room, if not yet the perfect storage place. Go back and keep at it, taking breaks or setting a timer over several days so you don’t burn out on the big jobs.
The daily drill
Flylady.net offers a detailed decluttering method that works for any size household. She advocates daily 15-minute sessions, focusing on cluttered hot spots that collect items, such as entranceways, countertops, desks or catch-all dresser drawers and baskets. For serious cases, also try going through your home daily with a garbage bag and throwing away 20 items, then doing the same process with a box for donations.
There are a number of online resources to help you curb the chaos of your worldly possessions. Use the tips above, or sign up for free emails that offer advice on how to organize your home, such as CreativeOrder.com, and you’ll be sure to stay on the straight, narrow and uncluttered path to happiness.
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