5 steps to de-junk your house (and life)


Is your resolution to get a handle on your cluttered house? Try one of these 5 steps to manage your messes.

1. Set small goals.
Pick the area of your home that would bring you the most peace if it were organized. Is your closet in disarray? Is your junk drawer overflowing? If the task seems too big, break it down: Instead of tackling the whole kitchen, take it one shelf at a time. The sight of even a small clean space will inspire you to keep going.

2. Make a plan.
Create a vision of how you'd love the area to look. This mental picture will help you develop your action plan. Then, figure out how much time you can devote to the project, and stick to that schedule. Be ruthlessly honest with yourself about how much time you can give to the task and how long it will take.

3. Don't blame yourself.
You're not the only one drowning in clutter, so don't beat yourself up about it. Save your energy for making positive changes. If you catch yourself thinking a negative thought like I'm such a slob, replace it with something positive, like I'm taking control. Give yourself credit for trying.

4.Divide and conquer.
Sort your belongings into three piles: "toss," "keep," and "donate." If you're struggling with whether to keep a sentimental item you don't use, ask yourself, How will I feel next month if I give it away? And remember, sometimes the meaning is in the memory, not in the memorabilia.

5. Stick with it.
You did it! To stay organized, set rules on how you'll keep the area clutter-free. Maybe you'll declare the kitchen counter a sundries-free zone; maybe you'll vow to toss flyers twice a week. The more you stay organized, the more you'll feel like you own your space, instead of your space owning you.


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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.