2. Play clutter cop. The better you are about keeping things out of your home, the less likely things will pile up inside. Take freebies. It's nice to get a T-shirt or coffee mug, but will you really use it? Enjoy it? If not, decline it. Or let's say you're a voracious reader.
3. Do some detective work. Periodically scan your home for clutter hot spots, and spend some time figuring out why stuff accumulates there. Often, it's not what you think. Once you understand the problem, you'll find it easy to devise a solution.
4. Hold off on container shopping. Clutter victims often think the solution is to stock up on organizing products, so they head to the nearest superstore and stock up on bins and boxes. Big mistake. Shop for storage items only after you've done some de-cluttering -- to understand the scope of the problem, the specific cause, and an appropriate solution.
5. Dump duplicates. Why have two nonstick spatulas when one is enough? Why have six hairbrushes or 17 coffee mugs
6. Beware nostalgia. If you're a doting parent, it's not easy to discard a child's creation, whether it's pastel drawings from the second grade or that cooler-sized medieval castle. But if you're serious about minimizing clutter, you must. Take a picture of your child with the creation, and letting that be your keepsake.
7. Weed out your wardrobe. Sort through your clothes, and your children's, at the end of each season. Does a particular garment no longer fit, or maybe it's uncomfortable? Toss it into a box. Then take the box to a favorite charity or a consignment store. And don't hold onto things because you think you might need them someday. One key to de-cluttering is getting rid of things, not simply rearranging them. Tidying up is not the same as organizing.
8. Look for simple clutter control solutions. Often, there's an easy solution to even stubborn clutter problems. To add storage space in a crowded room, consider adding a shelf just below the ceiling. Overrun with CDs? Take them out of their jewel boxes and store them in a CD binder.
9. Think home organization "kits." Buy some clear plastic shoebox-sized containers, and use them to create kits where you store all the items you need for a particular task. For instance, you could create a shoeshine kit, a bill-paying kit, a manicure kit, and so on. That way, you can easily find everything you need to accomplish everyday tasks.
10.Stick to a schedule. Some spaces, like kitchen counters, need daily de-cluttering. Others can be tackled weekly or monthly. When that time comes, be systematic. Take all the items in a defined area (a cabinet, a desk drawer), and spread them out so you can see what you're facing. If you're de-cluttering the drawer where you keep kitchen utensils, for example, spread them on the counter, and then sort into two piles: utensils you use regularly and those you don't use. Be patient -- effective de-cluttering takes time. "People tend to underestimate how much time it will take," says Leist. If it looks like a two-hour job, budget four. And don't get discouraged if de-cluttering takes longer than you think it should.
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