Is clutter invading your house and mind? Here are five tips to help you through the decluttering process.
1. Prepare to purge Central to the success of your de-cluttering mission is your willingness to let go of what you don’t need. Photograph each room and be firm about deciding what needs to be cleared away. Think about the big picture – you may have strong sentimental ties to that wobbly wooden chair, but does it really work in your modern living space? Take it to your local charity store bin once a month, or as soon as its full.
2. Everything in its place Whether you have kids, pets or passions, or live alone and are a total hermit, you’re likely to have accumulated a wide range of weirdly specific stuff. Look at your ‘before’ photos and think about what storage solutions might work for each space. Try to organize like things together in a convenient location. Keep your dog’s leash and bags in one area near the front or back door. Gather all your hats, gloves and slippers into a basket in a closet near the entranceway, so you can do all your winter layering in one spot. Use canisters, baskets and adjustable shelving to organize your linen closet, separating items according to room. Pack your decorations away in boxes according to their holiday, and rather than dismantling centrepieces and wreaths, wrap them in tissue or bubble wrap and cover with a plastic bag
3. The randoms Some things seem harder to organize then others…like the impossible knot of necklaces in your jewelry box or the bulging box of mementos that overflows more every year. Hang bracelets and necklaces on jewelry trees or other elegant hanging stands to stop them from getting tangled. Also separate expensive and cheap pieces and silver and gold jewelry into separate stands or boxes. As for those keepsakes, you can display treasured pictures and cards in a wood and glass display box, or transfer them to an organized file folder with labeled tabs.
4. Create storage space Asses your unused wall, door and floor space, to see where hooks can be hung, storage boxes hidden, and bulletin boards erected. Sturdy, inexpensive baskets are great storage option for the under the bed, or if you’re looking for a new bed, consider one that has a bed frame with shelving built in. In the foyer, you could consider a seating bench with built-in cupboards.
5. Get your papers in order Piles of paper can bring on existential stress in anyone, so get your documents under control with a filing cabinet. It’ll save you time and sanity at tax time, plus filing cabinets have come a long way from the boxy, metal towers of two decades ago. To further cut back on paper, file your recipes in a clear plastic binder or store them electronically and recycle the yellowing hard copies. Donate or recycle old books and magazines when you’ve read them, and keep a central in tray to prevent post from piling up around the house.