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10 From GEM: 10 Easy Ways To Declutter And Organize Your Stuff

Lilly's Cleaning Service Inc.

Creative Commons/Lilly’s Cleaning Service Inc.

10 From GEM:
10 Easy Ways To Declutter And Organize Your Stuff

 

Quick, what’s the first question that pops into your mind when you want to declutter, organize, and simplify your possessions? If you’re like many people, your question is, “Where do I start?”  The problem is, this question stumps people so much that not only is it not answered, but it’s an excuse not to get started on the very important business of clearing your space. As always, GEM is right here for you with 10 easy ways to declutter and simplify your space.

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1. WHERE DO I START?

Creative Commons/J Laraine

Creative Commons/J Laraine

Everybody starts here when the cleaning and purging task is staring us in the face. What bothers you the most? If the mud room or foyer annoys you every time you walk into your home, that’s a good place to start. Junk drawer got you down? Head there first. Take care of the most bothersome things right away and you’ll feel motivated to continue the task.

Read more: 10 From GEM: Easy Indoor Activities For Big Kids

2. USE YOUR IMAGINATION

Creative Commons/Mukibubb Shannon Marckx

Creative Commons/Mukibubb Shannon Marckx

Psychology Today suggests this very cool trick when it comes to getting rid of things you just can’t seem to part with: ask yourself, “How much would I pay for this if I was buying this now?” If the answer is “Not much” or “I wouldn’t pay for this at all,” you might want to consider tossing the item.

Read more: 10 From GEM: Spring Cleaning How To: What Needs To Go In 2013

3. TAKE THE 12-12-12 CHALLENGE

Creative Commons/Weigh to Fundraise

Creative Commons/Weigh to Fundraise

This is super simple. Decide on 12 things to throw away, 12 things to donate, and 12 things to return to their proper place. Your life is 36 things simpler. If everybody in a family of four does this, that’s 144 things gone in less than an hour!

Read more: Holiday Cleaning? 3 Quick Tips To Make A Bah-Humbug Chore Easy! (VIDEO)

4. SET A TIMER

Creative Commons/Lynda Giddens

Creative Commons/Lynda Giddens

Cleaning and organizing is such an overwhelming task when you look at your entire house. You know you can’t get it all done in a day. Who says it has to be? Set a kitchen timer for an hour or whatever amount of time you can spare and get to work. Repeat the next day or the next week.

Read more: 10 From GEM: 10 Ways To Make Cleaning Quick And Cheap!

5. TAKE PICTURES

Creative Commons/immsm

Creative Commons/immsm

Do you really need your teenager’s preschool drawings or her third grade science project? What’s the reason you want to keep it? If you can’t come up with a compelling reason to keep stuff other than the memories they evoke, consider taking pictures. It’s quick, easy to do, and even easier to save in multiple locations.

Read more: Mediocre Mom Manual: Cleaning – Yeah, I Suck At That Too

6. YOU COULD SELL, BUT…

Creative Commons/debjo1

Creative Commons/debjo1

Sometimes it’s not worth the time or effort to sell unwanted items. Consignment shops may not need the things that you think are valuable. If you advertise on Craig’s List, you have to decide if you’re comfortable with strangers dropping by your home. A yard sale may not be worth the effort with set up, haggling with prospective buyers, and having to get rid of everything that didn’t sell so that it doesn’t go back in your home. Save yourself some stress and just donate and give away unwanted items.

Read more: What Matters Most: Expectation vs. Reality…This Is NOT What I Signed Up For!

7. BOOKSHELVES—NOT JUST FOR BOOKS

Creative Commons/almostbunnies

Creative Commons/almostbunnies

Bookshelves are handy and you probably have several scattered around your home. Use the lower shelves for baskets where you can put magazines, newspapers, toys, and any other items that will be used frequently and need to be stored easily.

Read more: 10 From GEM: 10 Super Easy Ways To Green Clean Your Home

8. DO A SEASONAL SWEEP

Creative Commons/franzi8555

Creative Commons/franzi8555

This month is the perfect time to free yourself of some of your old winter gear. Think about it—you’re going to be storing these things away, so you can be more critical about what needs to go. It’s psychologically easier to let go of things that you know you aren’t going to use for another nine months anyway. Has that coat outgrown its usefulness? Have you worn that bulky sweater every winter for the last five years? Time to rethink what you’re storing and why.

Read more: 10 From GEM: 10 Easy Ways To Simplify Your Life

9. MAXIMIZE CLOSET SPACE

Creative Commons/Foxy Belle

Creative Commons/Foxy Belle

Every closet in your home should have multiple clear storage boxes that are labeled. Use as much space as possible. The boxes should go not only side-by-side, but also nest together and go up as high as they safely can. At the bottom of that stack, you can store little used things like Christmas or Halloween décor and seasonal clothing.

Read more: 10 From GEM: Spring Break Edition: 10 Ways To Maximize Your Staycation

10. CREATE A MAINTENANCE PLAN

Creative Commons/marius toader soare

Creative Commons/marius toader soare

Now that you’ve cleaned up and cleared some space, how will you maintain the order? Create a plan so that you don’t fall back into old habits. Decide on the easiest and most efficient ways to store and organize so that your home stays clear, or at least clear enough that the next round of cleaning is relatively painless.

Read more: 10 From GEM: Quick Ways To Burn 100 Calories

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What are your ideas for decluttering and simplifying your space? Share your thoughts below?

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picmonkey alexis

Alexis Trass Walker lives in Gary, Indiana, with her husband and four children. She is managing editor of Good Enough Mother. Read more about Alexis on her blog www.lilliebelle.org or follow her on Twitter @LillieBelle5. You can email her at alexis [at] goodenoughmother [dot] com.

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