10 Creative Ways to Declutter Your Home

2016-02-21 08.36.0710 Creative Ways to Declutter Your Home

“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” —Dale Carnegie

Becoming Minimalist / by  

The idea of living a simplified, uncluttered life with less stuff sounds attractive to many. They have considered the benefits of owning fewer possessions: less to clean, less debt, less to organize, less stress, more money and energy for their greatest passions. They are ready to declutter but some get quickly tripped up by the very next question… where in the world do I begin?

Many begin to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and defeated around the idea of decluttering their homes. That’s too bad. The decluttering journey doesn’t need to be as painful as some make it out to be. In fact, there are a variety of people who have come up with some pretty fun, creative ways to get started.

Consider this list of 10 creative ways to declutter your home:

1. Give yourself 5 solid minutes. Leo Babauta at Zen Habits recommends 18 different 5-minute decluttering tips. Pick one today that sounds appealing. Or better yet, pick a random number 1-18, read the specific tip, and commit 5 minutes to completing it.

2. Give away one item each day. Colleen Madsen at 365 Less Things gives away one item each day. Over the past several years, she has experienced quite a transformation simply reducing her stuff one day at a time.

3. Fill one trash bag. Early in our journey towards simplicity, one of my favorite decluttering techniques was to grab a simple large trash bag and see how quickly I could fill it. While much of what I collected was trash, this could also be used to fill a bag for Goodwill.

4. Try the Oprah Winfrey Closet Hanger Experiment. While this idea didn’t originate with Oprah, she was the one to help give it notoriety. To identify wardrobe pieces to clear out, hang all your clothes with the hangers in the reverse direction. After you wear an item, return it to the closet with the hanger facing the correct direction. After six months, you’ll have a clear picture of which clothes you can easily discard. This experiment could also be applied to a number of clutter areas in your home (cleaners, toys, linens, tools, hobbies and craft items).

5. Make a list. Dana Byers recommends creating a list of places/areas in your home to declutter beginning with the easiest… which doesn’t sound all that creative until she adds this note, “When you’re done with one area, STOP.” This list could be made as easy or difficult as you desire based upon what areas of your home make up the list (drawers/closets/rooms). And could easily fit into any schedule.

6. Take the 12-12-12 Challenge. A simple task of locating 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate, and 12 items to be returned to their proper home can be a really fun and exciting way to quickly organize 36 things in your house. On more than one occasion, this challenge actually became a quick competition between my wife and me… and your kids don’t have to be too old to participate as well.

7. Change your perspective. Unclutterer offers a powerful approach to decluttering when they offer a number of strategies to help you change your perspective and begin to notice some clutter you may have missed. Among their ideas: take photos of your house, invite over a toddler, or ask the boss to meet in your office. With all of the examples, the hope is to cause you to see your home in a new light.

8. Experiment with numbers. For example, Courtney Carver invented Project 333 to challenge people to wear only 33 articles of clothing for 3 months. If 33 articles of clothing seems too little, adjust the rules as you need by picking a new number. The important thing is to challenge yourself to live with less and see what you learn from the experiment.

9. Use your imagination. Psychology Today recommends using your imagination to help declutter objects that may seem difficult to remove. Try asking yourself unique questions like, “If I was just buying this now, how much would I pay?” These creative techniques may prove to be very helpful for some with difficulties removing unneeded clutter.

10. The Four-Box Method. As we first set out on our journey to minimalism, this was the technique most often used in our home. As I set out to declutter an area, I brought four boxes: trash, give away, keep, or relocate. Each item in every room was placed into one of the four categories. No item was passed over. Each was considered individually. Some projects took an hour… others took days or weeks. But the technique and principles remained the same.

No matter what you choose to help you get started – whether it be one of these ten or one of countless others – the goal is to take your first step with excitement behind it. There is a beautiful world of freedom and fresh breath hiding behind that clutter. How you remove it is up to you.

***

Special thanks to each of you who purchased a copy of Simplify: 7 Guiding Principles to Help Anyone Declutter Their Home and Life. We are excited to announce it recently debuted as the #1 Self-Help book on Amazon. 

4 Tips for Organizing your daily schedule

The Key Habits of Organization : zen habits

time managementOrganizing your daily schedule is something that you know needs to be done, but where exactly does one start? A lot of people see time management as a super-power – there’s surely no way that a mere mortal could fit it all in between 9 and 5! But effectively organizing your daily schedule at work is simple if you have a plan, and it’s a skill that anyone can learn. These four guiding principles will help you while organizing your daily schedule.

Think Before You Act

What does the start of your day look like? Do you come to the office, sit down at your desk, and have no idea where to begin? Or perhaps you simply grab the first to-do on the top of the pile, regardless of its urgency or importance? Neither is a particularly effective way to get the day rolling. Investing just a few minutes to plan your daily schedule – reviewing your meetings and appointments, figuring out which tasks are your top priorities, and actually plugging them into your calendar so you know the important chores aren’t going to fall through the cracks – makes all the difference in how much you have accomplished come the close of business.

Start with Something Big

Many people waste the first hour or two of their day on “busy work” (checking email, surfing the web, opening mail, etc.) instead of creating a daily schedule. It’s easy for these kinds of “easy” to activities suck up your time, leaving you feeling as though you’ve wasted the entire morning. Pick one big task to tackle as soon as you get to the office. It should be something that you’ve been procrastinating on, that has an approaching deadline, or that has simply been hanging over your head. Get it out of the way first thing, before you do anything else and even if you don’t accomplish anything else, you will still have had a productive day!

Break Your Day into Blocks

In today’s fast and furious business world, multi-tasking has become the norm – people often feel that they aren’t being productive unless they are doing 15 tasks at the same time. But you will actually accomplish more if you can devote a chunk of time to a single activity, give it your full attention and actually finish it before moving on to the next task. Figure out how much time you need to complete a to-do, and block it off in your calendar. Then try to schedule any other meetings or activities that might interrupt your work for a different time during the day. If you have an appointment with yourself, you need to respect that as much as any other commitment in your calendar.

Quit Before Quitting Time

When the whistle blows at 5PM, it’s natural for you to want to jump in your car like Fred Flintstone and tear off for home. But taking just a few minutes to plan your daily schedule the night before can mean the difference between organization and chaos the next morning. Stop work about 15 minutes early, tidy up your desk, and put away any loose items. Review your to-do’s and go over your daily schedule for the next day to decide which project you plan to tackle first thing. Place the materials for that task on your desk. You will be able to hit the ground running as soon as you arrive, with no time wasted asking yourself, “Now what do I need to get done today?”

By: Ramona Creel, Professional Organizer

 

How to Easily Clean & Organize Your Digital Files

An Organized Life

Everyone’s digital life and needs are different. Consider this a very basic guide on how to do a little digital cleaning and organizing of your computer in a couple of hours so you can have a system that runs a little smoother and so you can find files you need a little easier.

1. Backup now!

Before you start doing any deleting, fiddling, cleaning or sorting — backup everything important to you, whether in the cloud, by syncing with another computer or by using an external hard drive.

2. Start by cleaning out

How you go about this step will depend upon the type of machine you have (PC or Mac), but you can start by going through your computer and deleting files you just don’t need. You can also uninstall programs you don’t use. You can empty your recycling bin. You can use what came with your computer (Disk…

View original post 670 more words

Organized Paperwork & Finances: What to keep, What to Toss


This is a great time of the year to get rid of unnecessary or outdated paperwork and to organize your records in preparation for filing your tax return in the spring. Here’s a checklist of what to keep and what to toss out, along with some tips to help you reduce your future paper accumulation.

Toss Out

  • ATM receipts and bank-deposit slips as soon as you match them up with your monthly statement.
  • Credit card receipts after you get your statement, unless you might return the item or need proof of purchase for a warranty.
  • Credit card statements that do not have a tax-related expense on them.
  • Utility bills when the following month’s bill arrives showing that your prior payment was received. If you wish to track utility usage over time, you may want to keep them for a year, or if you deduct a home office on your taxes keep them for seven years.

To avoid identity theft, be sure you shred anything you throw away that contains your personal information. It’s best to use a crosscut shredder rather than a strip one, which leaves long paper bands that could be reassembled.

Keep One Year

  • Paycheck stubs until you get your W-2 in January to check its accuracy.
  • Bank statements (savings and checking account) to confirm your 1099s.
  • Brokerage, 401(k), IRA and other investment statements until you get your annual summary (keep longer for tax purposes if they show a gain or loss).
  • Receipts for health care bills in case you qualify for a medical deduction.

Keep Seven Years
Supporting documents for your taxes, including W-2s, 1099s, and receipts or canceled checks that substantiate deductions. The IRS usually has up to three years after you file to audit you but may look back up to six years if it suspects you substantially underreported income or committed fraud.

Keep Indefinitely

  • Tax returns with proof of filing and payment. You should keep these for at least seven years, but many experts recommend you keep them forever because they provide a record of your financial history.
  • IRS forms that you filed when making nondeductible contributions to a traditional IRA or a Roth conversion.
  • Receipts for capital improvements that you’ve made to your home until seven years after you sell the house.
  • Retirement and brokerage account annual statements as long as you hold those investments.
  • Defined-benefit pension plan documents.
  • Savings bonds until redeemed.
  • Loan documents until the loan is paid off.
  • Vehicle titles and registration information as long as you own the car, boat, truck, or other vehicle.
  • Insurance policies as long as you have them.
  • Warranties or receipts for big-ticket purchases for as long as you own the item, to support warranty and insurance claims.

Keep Forever
Personal and family records like birth certificates, marriage license, divorce papers, Social Security cards, military discharge papers and estate-planning documents (power of attorney, will, trust and advanced directive). Keep these in a fireproof safe or safe-deposit box.

Reduce Your Paper
To reduce your paper clutter, consider digitizing your documents by scanning them and converting them into PDF files so you can store them on your computer and back them up onto a USB flash drive or external hard drive like icloud.com or carbonite.com.

Your can also reduce your future paper load by switching to electronic statements and records whenever possible.

  • By  Jim Miller – who  is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

An Organized Celebration: 1000+ Twitter Followers

Celebrating 1000+ Twitter followers today.  I broke the 1000 mark this afternoon!

In honor of this BIG number, enjoy these inspiring organized spaces!  What will you be inspired to organize today?

Till tomorrow Twitter-universe … and everyone else of course!  #getorganized #organizedlife

 

 

How to organize a kitchen pantry

Is your pantry neglected?  Mine was?  So I took it through the SPACE process and transformed it from cluttered and overwhelming to clean, clear and organized.  It felt great!  I keep opening the door the

 

The first step in pantry organization is to empty the shelves. (It will be worth it. We promise.) Toss anything expired, donate what you don’t need, and sort the rest by type. By pulling everything out of the pantry, you can evaluate what you have, which will determine how you configure your storage. Plus, when you eliminate items, you’ll free up more space in your pantry.

5 Easy Steps

Sort
Purge
Assign
Contain
Engage

Have an organized day!