Clear Your Clutter in Five Minutes a Day

Getting rid of stuff seems to be the chore we all dread. But when closets are crowded, drawers are jumbled, and shelves overflow, it can really slow you down. Tackle the problem by taking a little time every day to focus on just one or two areas (like kitchen counters) that drive you crazy. These clutter-busting hints will help you dejunk your space - which will save you time and stress.

If you have five minutes...

  • Chuck crummy sponges and outdated cleaning products lingering in your kitchen; clear old leftovers out of the fridge and pitch any expired foods found in the pantry.
  • Do a TV-room makeover. During TV commercials, quickly tidy up the room you're in. Gather all the magazines, newspapers, and bits of trash and put them in the garbage. Straighten pillows and refold throws. Organize your work space. On the next program break, you can even give the den a quick vacuum.
  • Throw away old cosmetics and expired medicines in the vanity drawer or the cabinet over the sink. Sort bath towels and washcloths for laundering or the rag bag.
  • Weed out toys and games that haven't been used recently. If they are in good condition, you can donate them to a shelter, a hospital, or a school.
  • Gather misplaced belongings in a holding basket; later, ask family members to claim their possessions and put them away.
If you have one hour...
When serious decluttering is in store, try the ABC method. Select a cabinet or closet that's been bugging you. Take everything out and arrange items into three piles:
A: always used
B: used during the holidays and special occasions, or seasonally
C: not seen or used in a year or so
Then do a final sort:
Step 1: Toss or give away C items unless they are valuable or have sentimental worth.
Step 2: Return B items to the back of the storage area.
Step 3: Place the A team in the front of the space so those items will be handy for immediate use.

Get more tips for controlling your clutter!

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.