Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you find some helpful hints for organizing your time and space. My passions are to help you make home a refuge instead of a crisis center, and to help you function in peace rather than chaos - at home or at work. I have switched my main blog to 1-2-3 ... Get Organized on WordPress, so please visit me there.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Dozen Tips for Staying Clutter-Free in 2011

Hope you had a nice three-day weekend. Ours was pretty quiet other than having the stomach flu visit us for the third time!! A different person each time, thankfully. On to our post for today ...

Here are a few hints for staying clutter-free in 2011:

1. Deal with your mail as you bring it in. Sort your mail over a paper recycling container (a box or paper bag will do), a trash can, a shredder, and near the place where you keep bills and mail that must be acted upon. 

That way, you get rid of most of your mail and put the essentials where they belong. Instant decluttering instead of a stockpile of mail!

2. Reduce the mail coming into your house. 

Lifelock gets rid of credit card offers and other solicitations while protecting your identity. There is a fee for this service. 

Catalog choice allows you to opt out of the catalogs of your choice and other solicitations. This is a free service.

Yellow Pages Goes Green allows you to opt out of both white page and yellow page phone books that are left at your door.

Unsubscribe to newspapers and magazines you do not have time to read. 

3. Determine how much art work and school papers you will keep for each child. At the end of each week, cull through their papers and together decide which ones are keepers. Do the same at the end of the month, further reducing the stockpile. You are training your child to be discerning and not to hold on to everything. Send some to relatives or military personnel as a nice way to purge.

4. Have a giveaway box in your home. When you discover outgrown or unused articles, toss them in the box. When it's full, take the box to your favorite charity.

5. Keep a container in your car to hold returnable items - library books, borrowed items, purchases that need to be returned, etc. Even though dry cleaning is not a returnable item, it could be kept in the box, too. You're more likely to return those items while you're out.

6. Change clothes near the laundry hamper. Better yet, have five laundry hampers - whites, lights, darks, towels, delicates. When one basket is filled, wash what's in it - no sorting necessary!   

7. Hang or fold clothes as they come out of the dryer. Clothes are unwrinkled and you don't end up with stacks of laundry to fold. I consider laundry clutter - it's constant and can become overwhelming if not taken care of regularly.

8. Clean up as dishes are used. It takes little effort to put dishes in the dishwasher rather than stack in the sink. Train other family members to do the same - you are not their maid! Divvy up clean-up chores after dinner - floor, counters, putting food away, dishes. Even toddlers can help! 

9. Before bedtime, have everyone clean up what they've messed up or pick up what belongs to them. Tomorrow will start on a pleasant, uncluttered note!

10. Have a place for bookbags, briefcases, purses, keys, coats. Train everyone to store these items in the proper location - hooks, a closet, shelves, cubbies - whatever works for you to eliminate the after-school-after-work explosion!

11. Have a container where you place things that people have left around. I have a yellow Rubbermaid container in the bottom of our coat closet. Our foster daughters are deterred from leaving their stuff around for fear that their precious possessions will be put in the "yellow bucket" with someone's stinky socks! I have heard of others who charge the owners a fee to take something out of the container, or require the item stay in the container for so long. 

12. If you find items lying around that do not have homes, create a home for them, so they are not just moved from place to place. 

More on decluttering:

Announcing: Declutter Any Room in 3 Weeks!

Clutter and the Brain - Dr. Peter Whybrow

Quick Decluttering Tips