Smart Ways to Declutter and Stress Less!

Overwhelmed by stuff? Cut down your clutter with these easy tips, designed to help you streamline your storage, get organized, and de-stress!

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Closet Sections
Closet Conquerors

    Closet Clean-Out

    Each spring and fall, do CPR on your closet: Categorize, Purge, and Rearrange. Carefully consider each item. If it doesn't make you feel wonderful or look fabulous, it's a no. Put it in the "to donate" box, and put that box in your car.

Closet Conquerors

    Declutter and Donate

    Keep a donation hamper in your closet. Every two weeks select an item of clothing you haven't worn in the past six months and throw it in. When the hamper is full, take it to a local charitable organization.

    -- Peter Walsh, organizing expert and author of Enough Already!

Closet Conquerors

    Save Your Linen Closet

    Is your linen closet overflowing? Pare down your stock to three towels and washcloths per persons, two sets of sheets per bed, plus a set of each for guests.

    -- Laura Wittmann, author of Clutter Rehab

Declutter Your Paper Piles

    On-the-Go Filing

    Invest in a tabbed wallet for receipts and coupons. It will make your purse into a mini filing cabinet that puts everything you need for shopping at your fingertips. Label the tabs how you like -- by store, by date, or by category.

Declutter Your Paper Piles

    Organized Mail

    Create an indoor mailbox in a central location. Set a time to go through the box once a week. Open everything, pay bills, file important correspondence, and recycle junk mail.

    -- Niecy Nash, host of Clean House on the Style Network

Declutter Your Paper Piles

    Recipe for Organization

    Have a pile of cookbooks gathering dust? Scan and print the one or two recipes you use the most often, then donate the book. Same goes for recipes in magazines. Tear out the relevant pages, then recycle the rest. Put the pages into clear plastic pockets in a three-ring binder. You've just made yourself a customized cookbook with plenty of room to grow.

    -- Lorie Marrero, author of Clutter Diet

Declutter Your Paper Piles

    Centralized Filing

    Give frequently accessed papers (takeout menus, sports schedules, phone directories) a dedicated spot rather than leaving them in a pile on the counter or stuck to the fridge. Three-hole punch all that paper, then store it in a pretty binder with labeled tabs.

    -- Aby Garvey,

Storage Smarts

    Declutter on a Dime

    Shop dollar stores for storage bins and baskets, then buy a bunch in the same color. Displayed in multiples, inexpensive plastic or cloth bins look calm and organized -- and they offer tons of storage space.

Storage Smarts

    Extra Storage Space

    Use the backs of doors and cupboards for bonus storage space. Shallow shelves, hooks, and over-the-door organizers make convenient spots for items that are chronically homeless.

Storage Smarts

    Kitchen Zones

    Create zones for kitchen tasks you do on a regular basis, such as making lunches or baking. Designate a shelf for everything you need for the job, including nonperishable foods and special tools or utensils.

    -- Kathi Burns, author of How to Master Your Muck

Storage Smarts

    An Orderly Nightstand

    Designate your nightstand as a clutter-free zone that's a pleasure to wake up to. Limit yourself to a reasonable number of books. Set out a tray to hold change and jewelry. Park a basket below for blankets or magazines.

Tame Your Junk Drawer

    Well-Ordered Drawers

    The next time you sit down to watch TV, pull out a drawer, any drawer. During commercials, sort the contents into four piles: keep, toss, donate or sell, and items to relocate. Then put back only the keepers, using expandable organizers to keep them tidy.

    -- Donna Smallin, author of The One-Minute Organizer: A to Z Storage Solutions

Tame Your Junk Drawer

    Junk Drawer Strategy

    Tackle your junk drawer first. Remove anything you don't use at least monthly, then sort what's left into compartments of an organizer that completely fills the drawer. You won't have room to stash things that don't belong there.

    -- Jana Lufkin, stylist

Clutter-Busting Habits

    Efficient Cleaning

    Streamline your cleaning products into five basics: all-purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, wood polish, abrasive cleaner for bathroom and kitchen, and floor cleaner.

Clutter-Busting Habits

    Organizational Layaway

    Practice organizational layaway. Keep a box for things you're thinking about getting rid of but aren't sure you can part with. When the box is full, write the date on it and store it. After one year, if you haven't needed or missed anything in the box, it's time to toss or donate.

Clutter-Busting Habits

    Perfect Placement

    Don't get stuck at the grocery store without your reusable grocery bags again. As soon as you unload groceries, put the bags back in your car or on a designated hook by the door.

Clutter-Busting Habits

    Family Effort

    Every three months or so, reserve one Saturday morning for a family cleanout. Set a timer for 30 minutes and have each person find things in his or her space to donate or throw away. Box up donations and drop them off right away, then reward yourselves with lunch out.

    -- Meredith Schwartz,

Clutter-Busting Habits

    Ask Questions

    When you're trying to decide whether to keep something, ask yourself three questions: Do I love it? Do I use it? Could someone else use it?

    -- Claire Kurtz,

Clutter-Busting Habits

    Tailored to You

    A system that's a natural extension of your habits is easier to stick with than one that forces dramatic change. So set up solutions right where clutter collects, such as a labeled pail for each family member's shoes and other equipment in a bookshelf right by the door.

Clutter-Busting Habits

    Play a Game

    Make clutter-busting a family game. Write tasks on Ping-Pong balls. Each person chooses a ball, completes the task, then chooses another one. After 30 minutes, whoever has the most balls gets a prize -- like a no-chores day or control of the TV remote.

    -- Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch, authors of Pretty Neat: Get Organized and Let Go of Perfection


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