4 Ways to Toss Things With No Regrets

You need to take back your space. Here's how to set your mind to the task.

Posted Apr 29, 2015

Source: MJTH/Shutterstock

Clutter is an insidious housemate, threatening to take over your space from the closets to the countertops. No matter how much you say you want clutter gone, it may feel impossible to make a dent in it. Clients regularly approach me asking for tips and strategies to help them declutter. If you feel like you just cannot get rid of it, here are some of my favorite tips for winning the war once and for all:

  1. Start with what most bothers you. When you decide to attack clutter in your home, do not to try to do everything at once. Start with the pile, area, or room that causes you the most stress—usually an eyesore that you have to look at daily. You will get the most relief from getting rid of that and feel deep satisfaction to motivate further decluttering.
  2. Identify and change the root of the clutter. Consciously change the habit that perpetuates the problem. For example, I used to accumulate my recycling in a closet. After finally clearing it out, I started bringing it outside every day when I took my dog for her morning walk. Now it goes directly into the container from which the city collects it. Identify your behavior habits and modify them to help prevent clutter.
  3. Fight for your surfaces. Keep surface areas clear and do not let piles form. Piles are the enemy of sanity and clarity. When you have an item in your hand, store it where it belongs immediately. If you must make a pile, categorize by similar items and store it somewhere out of sight to avoid stress. I have a basket I keep stashed in a cupboard for receipts to sort later. 
  4. Give lots and lots of stuff away. "But what if I need it someday?" This is a common decluttering obstacle. To get clarity on whether or not to hold on to something, ask yourself, "If I saw this in a store today, would I buy it?" If not, get rid of it.

    Last year, one of my year-long Club members proudly kicked 70 boxes of excess stuff to the curb where they were picked up by a local charity. I challenge you to beat that!

Dr. Susan Biali, M.D. is a medical doctor, health and well expert, life and health coach, professional speaker, flamenco dancer and author. She has been featured as an expert on the Today Show as well as other media outlets, and is available for keynote presentations, workshops/retreats, media commentary, and private life and health coaching.

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Copyright Dr. Susan Biali 2015