Here, There, and Everywhere

Time management and organization skills from an ADD expert

11 Tips on Clearing Clutter

Make it easier to clean out your living space.

Clutter can cause "visual stress".  When you see stuff everywhere, you can feel run down, tired, and frustrated.  You may have even put off having people over because of the clutter in your home.  Having a clean living space gives you room to relax, and the comfort of feeling confident about your living space.  Here are 10 tips to help you declutter.

1. Don't tackle cleaning by yourself.  If you are able to afford a cleaning service, by all means do so. It saves a lot of time and aggravation.  If not a cleaning service, then have a friend or family member help you out.  Consider bartering services - for example, if your friend helps you declutter your house, offer to watch her kids.

2.  When you are cleaning up after clearing clutter, use the "top down" method. Start by cleaning the highest places (ie. the tops of bookshelves) and work your way down to the floors. By the time you get to the floors, you will also be cleaning up dust that fell from the upper places.

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3.  Clean in 15 minute increments. Set a timer and make sure to take a break when the timer goes off. This decreases your chances of burnout.

4.  Get four large cardboard boxes.  Label one "To Keep", "To Give Away", "To Donate", and "To Throw Out".  Sort items into each of these boxes.  Spend just a second with each item.  The longer you hold on to something before making your decision, the more likely it is that you will keep it.

5.  If you aren't sure if you should get rid of an item or not, put it in a box and put it in a closet, the basement, or the attic.  If you haven't used the item in a year, give it away, donate it, or throw it away.  Of course, if the item has sentimental value, it is okay to keep it.



6.  Get an ottoman that doubles as container space.  If friends or family are on their way to your house and there is clutter on the counters, toss the clutter into the ottoman and close it.   Make a note to yourself to go back and sort through those items. 

7.  Put items where you are most likely to use them.  This is called placing items at the "point of performance".  If you use your serving utensils on a daily basis, keep them at arm's level, not on a top shelf. 

8.  When sorting through the clothes in your closet, get rid of anything you haven't worn in a year.  The exception to this are sentimental items.  Also, only keep clothes that fit you now, not clothes you hope to fit into someday, or clothes that are too big for you. 

9.  Get vaccuum-seal storage bags.  These bags will store a lot of clothing items/linens in a small amount of space.  Just put your items in the bag and use your vaccuum hose to take the air out of the bag.  One brand name for this type of bag is Space Bag.

10.  Remember the "Law of Usage".  If you don't use an item, chances are that it will be neglected.  If you aren't going to use it, give it to someone who will.  When you make room in your life for the things you truly want, they just seem to appear. 

11.  Take one, get rid of one.  For every new item of clothing or gadget that you bring into your house, sell/donate a like item.  This keeps the amount of clutter in your home to at least a stable level. 


www.stephaniesarkis

Copyright 2012 Sarkis Media LLC

Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D., N.C.C., L.M.H.C., is the author of Making the Grade with ADD and ADD and Your Money. 

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