by Jessica Smith, REDBOOK
Want to do a spring-cleaning but can't find the time? No problem. Here are a a few simple things you can do today to help get (and stay) clutter-free all year round:
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1) Manage your mail. This goes for electronic mail too! If your inboxes are overflowing, it's hard to tell what needs your attention first. Apply the 'deal with it once' rule - if you open it, deal with it right then and there.
2) Designate a "catch-all clutter" basket. Spend 5 minutes or less every day doing a sweep up - and put all things that you don't have time to deal with in your 'catch-all' basket. Then, designate one day a week to empty out the basket and return everything to its proper place.
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3) Make a "daily use" drawer. We tend to use the same certain items or objects every single day. Create an easy to access, organized, 'daily use' drawer full of such materials. Organize it in a way that makes it convenient and easy to find what you need, and to store all of your important items without hassle.
4) Date your cosmetics and lotions. Do you have three tubes of mascara in your makeup bag, yet all of them are clumpy and drying? Use a permanent marker and put future expiration dates on all cosmetics and lotions as soon as you open them. Some last longer than others, but once your marked date arrives, throw it out! (Replace mascara every 3 months, liquid foundations after 6 months, and eyeliners lip pencils and lipsticks after 1 year. Lotions and cleansers can last up to 6 months). And, if you notice you aren't using the entire product by its expiration date, consider buying a smaller travel version to waste less and save more.
5) Store shoes by the door. Did you know research shows that your shoes contain an average of 421,000 bacteria, and that 90% (or more) of it is transferred to your floor when you walk around your house in your shoes? Buy a shoe shelf and leave shoes right by the door when you enter. You will always be able to find your shoes, and at the same time, help keep your floors clean.
Jessica Smith is a certified fitness lifestyle expert and creator of the 10 Pounds DOWN DVD series.
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.