Restore some semblance of order, and finally tackle all that clutter with these tips.
1. When you bring in something new, an oldie should go. It’s that simple.
2. Start with one area of a room at a time, like the entryway, a desk, or your closet. Trying to organize the whole house in one day or even one weekend is impossible. Success in small doses will empower and motivate you to go on with organizing the rest of the house.
3. List down all the things you do that occur in your living room or common area, like watching television, playing, and reading. Then divide the space according to specific activity areas. If your space is compact, it’s okay for activity areas to overlap.
4. If you have too many items and you don’t know where to start, group items according to task. Ask yourself, “What do I use these for?”
5. Place small items in large container bins but don’t forget to label them. There’s no point in storing something if you can’t remember which box it’s in.
6. Remove anything that’s not in its proper place and return it to where it belongs. To save time, place a bin in the middle of the hallway where you can dump anything that’s wandered. After all the chores are done, pick up the bin and sort through the pile.
7. Choose only a few pieces to display per room and have the rest placed in storage, or put them in another room, or give them away. A well-edited display has more impact and will give the room a clean and organized look.
8. Have a one-year rule. Throw out anything that you haven’t worn in a year. Chances are they are too loose, tight, outdated, or you simply don’t like them anymore.
9. Maximize closet space by hanging the clothes you wear most often where you can easily reach them, then hang the rest according to type and color for easy identification.
10. Have a hamper near your closet to keep soiled clothes off the floor. Dropping your clothes into a bin instead of on the floor helps them to last longer too.
(First published in Good Housekeeping, July 2009; photo source: sxc.hu)