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June 20, 2022

An Organized Life: Part 4 of 4

By Mary Klaebel

The final stage of organizing your home is to organize everything that hasn't already been covered. While paper seems to be the most challenging thing to control, knick knacks and generalized clutter create more problems in the main living rooms of our homes. In order to get these items under control, I will lay out the foundation of my program which you can apply to any room, closet or even your car and your desk at work.

Let's get started. The first and one of the most important steps you need to take is to choose a specific space to unclutter. It is unrealistic and can be overwhelming to try to declutter an entire home or an entire desk all at once. Instead, begin with a specific room. If the room you want to unclutter is overwhelming in and of itself, section it off and do one section at a time.

Once you have chosen a room, closet, drawer, or section of a space to declutter, it's time to gather the supplies you will need. This will not require a trip to the office supply store for fancy or expensive so-called organizers. What you need is a marker, three boxes or laundry baskets, and a trash bag. Or two if you think you will need both.

Now the fun starts.

Step One:

Gather all the clutter you are trying to sort out into one big pile. Put this pile in a place where it will force you to deal with it.

Step Two:

Label the three boxes or baskets: Keep, Store and Give. If you have them from previous projects, reuse your Keep and Give boxes.

Step Three:

Quickly and without too much analysis, sort all of the pile you have made into one of the three boxes. However, if the item is broken, it goes in the trash bag.

Step Four:

Throw away the trash in the trash bag right this minute. Not in the house, either. Take it outside, pour used coffee grinds in with it to reduce any temptation to retrieve items in the bag. Haul the bag outside, to the dumpster, wherever it will be least likely to be reopened.

Step Five:

Haul the contents of the Give box to your local Goodwill or other charity. You can feel good about providing nice things you don't need to those who couldn't otherwise afford them.

Step Six:

Mark the Store box with the date one year in the future. Put the box away in the attic, in off-site storage, or anywhere where you have to work a bit to get at the contents. If you haven't touched the contents by the marked date, take it all to Goodwill. Don't even look at the stuff.

Step Seven:

This is the final step. Put the contents of the Keep box away where you want them. The area you've decluttered should look clean, serene and pleasant to the eye.

That's it, in a nutshell. Apply this formula to most every part of your home, and clutter will be a thing of the past. Keep in mind, however, that to remain uncluttered, you must exercise some discipline in weeding out the old as you purchase or receive the new. If you declutter the kitchen, and receive a new toaster oven, you must get rid of the old one. Give it away or throw it away. But get it out of your home.

Between this simple system and your desire to keep your uncluttered life, never again will you look at your home and desire to be elsewhere simply to escape your material possessions.

Thanks for sticking with me through this series. I've enjoyed sharing this with you and hope you've benefited from it as much as I have.

By Mary Klaebel (Writergypsie), author of Affirm Yourself as a Writer, available now on Lulu.com, Amazon.com and BN.com.

Article © Mary Klaebel. All rights reserved.
Published on 2005-06-27
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