I get a lot of calls to consult with clients on Decluttering. Clutter seems to be an American epidemic. Each home and client presents different needs and challenges when it comes to tackling their clutter, but there are some universal tips that I'd like to share, along with some great resources for those that need a little more help and inspiration.
Tip 1: Tackle your clutter in small chunks. Make a list of all the things that need to happen in a room and do one item per day. Or clear out one drawer or one shelf. While you might want to get the entire office clean and clear, tackling the whole room can quickly lead to burnout and kill your motivation. Take baby steps and reward yourself after each completion.
Tip 2: Everything you bring into your home must have a home. If you don't know where it will belong when you acquire it, it will probably end up in the pile on the desk, kitchen counter, or floor. If it doesn't have a defined home, don't bring it in.
Tip 3: When you get home and unload your stuff, or you finish using something, it must be put back in it's home, immediately. MUST and IMMEDIATELY are the key words here.
Tip 4: All items you keep must be either Beautiful, Useful, or Sentimental. If it doesn't fall into one or more group, it must go. Now, these feeling must be true. If your friends say that lamp is beautiful, but you hate it or think it's too dim, then it's not truly beautiful to you. Toss it. Sure those skis are useful, but you haven't skied in 10 years and your knees are shot, and you don't really like the cold. So those skis aren't truly useful to your life and how you really live. Donate them. Aunt Sally gave you that vase and even though you never liked it, you wouldn't want her to come over (10 years later) and not see it prominently displayed. That's not sentiment, that's guilt. Get rid of the item and that negative energy around it.
Here are some great articles full of tips and inspiration to keep you going.
Fight Household Clutter, from HGTV
4 Simple Tips for Decluttering Your Home, by thedailygreen.com
Zen Habits is a great blog and has fantastic articles on clutter and organizing here are a few:
Zen Mind: How to Declutter
18 Five-minute Decluttering Tips to Start Conquering Your Mess
15 Great Decluttering Tips
6 Simple Steps to Make Mail & Paperwork Painless