Tip of the Day: Lightening-round decluttering

If you’ve ever found yourself thinking you have too much clutter, this is for you.

What you’ll need: 1 garbage bag, 1 box, some time (as little or as much as you want to spend)

Do this a quickly as possible!

1) Take your box, and in as little time as possible collect thirty things from around your home that you will donate (to a church, goodwill, the salvation army, a library, a school…wherever!).

2) Shut the box, and put it in your car – no “rescuing” anything you put in there!

3) Next, take your garbage bag and collect thirty things to throw away.  If you can recycle it, do so. Otherwise, into the garbage bag it goes.

4) When you’re finished, tie the bag shut – DON’T look through it to second-guess yourself! Put it in the outside garbage can or dumpster.

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A few notes on decluttering: if you’re on a mission to shed some object weight and pare down your life, there are two vital rules to follow.

1) PUT THINGS AWAY. Things should have a home, and when you’re done with them put them back where they belong. Instead of putting your clothes in a pile by the bed when you go to sleep, put dirty ones in the hamper and clean ones back in the closet. If you’re reading a book, put it on your “currently reading” shelf and NOT on the bathroom floor or the coffee table!

2) STOP BUYING THINGS. No one can declutter when there is a constant stream of new items coming into the house! To stop impulse buys, if you want something, write it down on a list on your phone or by your computer (or wherever you will remember to write it down!). Look at the list one week later and decide if you really need or want that thing.  If you DO buy it, have a “one in, two out” rule – for everything you bring INTO your house, two things have to go OUT. That’ll help you refrain from buying so much, AND it will result in a net decrease in “stuff”.

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One more great idea – this one for your closet: Today, right now, put everything in your closet backwards. That is, take your hangers and flip them around so they’re facing the “wrong” way.  Mark the date on your calendar, and mark the date six months (or one year) from now. When you wear clothing and put it away, turn the hanger the right way again. On the date you’ve marked, take a look at your closet – anything still on a hanger facing the wrong way is something you realistically don’t need to keep.  Take it to the Salvation Army or Good Will and feel good about donating to a good cause!

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