Is clutter carrying you away? Leaving you dazed and confused in the midst of it all? Here are some easy solutions from organization to decluttering.
Contain It And Label it
Baking supplies are a big space eater. Label two storage tubs, one Frosting Supplies and the other Baking Supplies. If it doesn't fit in the box it goes. The boxes stack for easy access and keep everything dust free and all together.
In the movie "The Queen" her assistant places items for her Majesty in the "Queen Basket." Adapt the royal inspiration into a 4 inch deep letter size basket by your front door. Sunglasses, cell phones, unopened mail, random stuff, goes there until the weekend when you can deal with the items. It's limited space you touch often since daily supplies are stored there. This keep bills from getting away, countertops clear and makes things easy to find.
Hang all your clothes with the hanger facing the wrong direction. When you put them back hang them correctly. Now you know exactly what you wear and exactly what you can let go of. If it hasn't been turned around in a year, let it go!
One Of Everything
Clearly one of everything doesn't work for say... socks. However, 3 pairs of pink socks is probably excessive. Where this really makes a difference is in the kitchen. How many knives do you really need? How about platters, tupperware, cups? Keeping a limited supply keeps the dishwasher working while making it easy to access things and put them away.
Only Keep What Fits
Here is where we really wrangle the chaos. Socks seem to be the go to example. You have one drawer for socks. Keep as many socks as fit in that drawer. Period. Same goes for pens and silverware. You only have so many feet and hands!
Broken Equals Trash
Despite best intentions, if it's broken it likely won't get fixed. Short of a car, major appliances or jewelry, bah-bye! If it's torn, permanently stained, missing a part, it's gone. This is a great guideline to inspire children. Once they learn it won't be replaced they are more likely to respect and clean up their own toys.
Sell It or Donate It NOW
We all have stuff we keep that's valuable. We don't like it. We don't use it, but we store it... at an average of $345 a square foot in Boulder County! Even if you pay a service to sell it, you're probably saving money and space while alleviating stuff constipation. If it's not worth selling, donate it. Let someone else pay to store it.
Suntan lotion loses effectiveness, make up breeds bacteria, and expired medication, condiments and frozen food can be down right dangerous. Throw it away. You could save yourself thousands in medical bills.
Take It Out, Put It Back
Now that things have a clear, uncluttered place to be put away, put it away! It's easy to find one minute to return an item to it's home, but it's hard to find a day to put everything away. A convenient location ensures success. Consider a shoe storage system at your front door. Closet systems make great stand alone shoe storage.
Bring One In, Take One Out
This is the hardest and the best. Unless you're living with loads of extra space, it's a good rule. 3 new socks, 3 old socks go. Before kid's birthdays and Christmas talk up all the new toys coming while cleaning out old toys. They can sell them at consignment stores and use the money for a favorite camp or tickets to the zoo.
Trade Parties with Friends
This is so fun. SO FUN, or is that the wine? Pick a theme: kitchen supplies, clothing, kids clothing, nail polish, sports equipment, get creative! It's a swap. Shop your friends' stuff and get rid of your own. If it's something you couldn't get a decent price on anyway, you may find yourself trading into something you really need. Better yet, leave with nothing and have nothing to put away.
The Hotel Clean
Company is coming and the house is a disaster. Pull out the "hotel" clean. Keep cleaning wipes in the kitchen and bathroom. It takes two seconds to sanitize and dust. Hang a reusable grocery bag on the door knob of children's rooms. Drop items left out there. If it gets full, they might need to do a chore to earn it back!
There are so many ways to get help. Trade a friend for a day of help cleaning out closets. In return let them keep any clothes they want. Hire help to clean your Boulder home. There are many affordable cleaning services and college students who would love a few dollars for helping out. By setting a time and financial commitment you're sure to use your time wisely and make a big dent!