Monday, March 16, 2009

Clear the Clutter

Saturday, March 14: Gave a lecture on "How to Clear the Clutter from our homes, once and for all" at Florida Gulf Coast University, in Fort Myers, Florida as part of their non-credit classes. It was a good morning and I hope all enjoyed the class as much as I did. It was established that we "clutterers" are in good company because clutterers are highly intelligent, creative or artsy, know the importance of recyclying and may very well be perfectionists.

Some of the highlights: 1) We need to have a vision of what we want our homes to look like. It may be a luxury hotel suite, a model home, our Grandmother's house from way back, or a picture from a decorator magazine. Visualize that environment where there is "A place for everything and everything in it's place." Keep this vision in mind the entire time we are de-cluttering. This is our goal, and we can achieve.

Where to start? Start in one corner in one room. I suggest by the front door. Work your way around the entire room, looking at each and every item, piece by piece to determine is it ???

1)Trash. Immediately put in trash can or recycle bin and get it out of the house.

2) Donate. (find an organization that you can be passionate about helping with donations, such as a no-kill animal shelter, a shelter for women and children, etc..., then you will be happy to give useful items to them and letting them go.) Put the donations in your car today and drive them to the thrift store.

3) Give away. If you are saving things for your children or something would look perfect in a friend's home, give it to them now. Make them come and pick it up today.

4) Sell. Plan that garage sale or find a consignment shop or place the item on immediately. Give yourself a dead-line of when these items need to be gone, such as 3 days. Consignment shops will only want items valued at more than $5.00. so that will help in your sorting. Resolve to not bring anything unsold back into the house after the sale, load them immediately into a car or truck and drive to donate that same day.

5) Keep. Just because you've always had something doesn't mean that you need to always keep it. Look at each item in your home with a fresh eye. Do you love it? Does it bring happy thoughts to you, and not negative ones? Is it useful? If it is clothing, does it look fantastic on you and flatter you? (And, that is you now, not the size you want to be in the future.) Does it have monetary value? Do you have a place for it? Will you need to store it? (not good). Take it to it's new home, immediately.

Never sort into piles on the floor. Sort immediately into the final containers, in the above categories. Do not wait to go through the entire room or house, before you make the trip to the thrift store for your donations, or start selling items, by then it is too overwhelming again. The reason this de-cluttering method is successful is that you spend part of your time, whether it is 10 minutes or 2 hours per day sorting, but you allow enough time for packing up your car and driving the stuff to it's final destination that same day. You begin to see results immediately.

There is so much more advice, it definitely takes a full two hours of seminar to cover it all, but I thought that I would share at least some of the tips to get you started if you happen to be searching for a path out of a cluttered environment.

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