7 expert secrets to rid your home of clutter

October 9, 2015

Getting organized can seem like an insurmountable task, but it doesn't have to be. These seven expert-tested secrets to rid your home of clutter can help you enjoy a cleaner, more streamlined life.

7 expert secrets to rid your home of clutter

1. Set small goals

Reasonable goals are the secret to not feeling overwhelmed. Plus, they're much more doable if you're not overloaded.

  • Try ridding one room of clutter each week, or at least tackling one shelf or one drawer per day.
  • To start, set aside bags and boxes labelled "Trash," "Donate" and "Belongs Elsewhere." This way, you break down a big pile of clutter into smaller, more manageable tasks.

If you try to organize your entire house in a single weekend, you'll get so discouraged that you may quit altogether.

2. Put together work centres

Define important, clutter-producing activities such as paying bills, sewing and other crafts, or indoor gardening. Then, create centres (or clearly defined workspaces) for these activities.

  • Fill your centres with the necessary organizational tools and stay on top of the clutter. For crafts, that means using bins to organize your materials. For paying bills, you'll need folders and a small filing box in which to store documents.
  • Make sure you have a wastebasket near each centre so you can toss away what's no longer needed.
  • Similarly, have a recycling bin at arm's length for any stuff that can be recycled.

3. Balance your closet

For your own peace of mind, it's important to regularly clean out and organize your closet to the point that it satisfies you.

  • You may be surprised that you have six black sleeveless dresses, three cooler chests, nine blue ties or four flashlights lurking in the clutter. The aim? Keep the best and get rid of the rest!

What helps after you've finished cleaning is whenever you buy anything new, give away a similar item – such as your old winter coat or sandals.

  • Though your closet may need straightening every once in a while, this approach will help it to remain at equilibrium, never again bursting at the seams.

4. Make regular donations to charity

Got too much stuff? Donating to charity is a win-win situation: you get rid of clutter and your old stuff gets a second life where it's wanted, needed and appreciated.

  • Items to donate include furniture, clothes and household items.
  • Donating not only allows you to stay on top of clutter, but you may be able to claim a tax deduction for the things you give to charity.

To make this strategy work, make a run every month (or as needed) to your local charity's drop-off centre.

  • Research specific charitable organizations in your area to discover their needs. Some groups collect everything from old prescription eyeglasses for children in developing countries to barely-worn interview outfits for moms on public assistance.

5. Purge the fix-it pile

Fixing stuff is admirable, but hanging on to broken household items until you find the time to repair them clutters your mind and your home. And frankly, when was the last time you "fixed" anything from the fix-it pile?

  • Once a month, evaluate the broken items in your "someday" pile and either fix them immediately, throw them away or pay to have them repaired. Otherwise, they'll continue to sit and collect dust.

6. Have a yard sale

Whether you call it a yard, garage or tag sale, it's a terrific way to dispose of messy clutter in your house and turn unwanted items into cold, hard cash.

  • Planning a garage sale is a good incentive to go through closets, cupboards and storage boxes to gather material for the sale.
  • Picking and advertising a date, too, should give you a reason to not procrastinate.

7. Think about future purchases

Having too much stuff at home isn't without a cost: clothes must be laundered, dry-cleaned and mended; knickknacks have to be dusted; toys need storing, cleaning and fixing, and home offices required tidying, organizing and sorting.

  • As you buy items, mentally add this extra "cost" to the purchase price of the new item. It may actually persuade you to buy less and save money.

Getting started on de-cluttering, especially without a plan, can be overwhelming. That's why it's best to set specific goals and do a little at a time. Before you know it, your home could be filled with a lot less junk.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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