Take Control of Clutter

A clean and organized kitchen. Shown with shades from MSS Designs Inc. in Charlottesville.



DECLUTTERING IS LIBERATING


You may not realize how stressed and overwhelmed you can become by clutter. But once you start clearing out what you no longer need and organizing what you have left, chances are, you’ll feel a sense of control and accomplishment.

Where to Begin

Start by labeling three storage bins: keep, toss and donate.

Then working through one small space at a time, decide where to place each item.

Now the tricky part — how do you decide what to keep?

A man relaxing on a living room couch.
Clearing out clutter may help you feel more relaxed.



HOW TO DECIDE WHAT TO KEEP


Ask yourself the following questions:

How frequently do you use it? If it’s been more than six months or you didn’t even remember you had it, it’s probably a sign to toss it.

Use the 80/20 rule: Chances are you wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time. Keep those and get rid of the rest. (Exceptions might be outfits you save for special occasions.)

Do you really love it? Maybe you got it as a gift and hung onto it. But is it something you really love?

Does it even work? If you’ve been meaning to get it fixed but it’s been gathering dust, either fix it or toss it.

A woman relaxing on a bench in a clutter-free living room.
Decluttering may give you a sense of accomplishment.



GETTING ORGANIZED


Now, it’s time to organize:

– Immediately toss or recycle the things that aren’t in good enough shape to donate.

– Take your donations to a local charity (or host a garage sale).

– Go through your keep pile. Place the items you want to store long term in labeled boxes and move to your garage or basement.

– For each item you use on a regular basis, designate a proper location.

By making a habit of decluttering, you’ll free yourself to revel in your newfound space.

A woman walking down a hallway.
Start the new year by getting organized!




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