Monday, November 30, 2009

How to De-Clutter Your Life

Everyone has a certain amount of tension in their lives. Being unorganized can only add to this anxiety and make us feel run-down and unmotivated, preventing us from doing the things that we love. With the holidays approaching why not regain this energy by focusing on reorganizing your life and make the upcoming celebrations worry free? Following are a few ideas which could help you out of your pre-holiday confusion.

De-Clutter Your Desk and Work Space
Whether you work from a home office or a tiny cubicle, there’s no way you can be totally productive in a pace that doesn’t function for you. Have you ever met anybody who is extremely successful who works in absolute chaos? I haven’t. Sure, everyone has a junk drawer or a messy desk on occasion, but if your clutter is taking over, it’s time to scale back. Start by compiling three separate stashes:
1. What to keep
2. What to shred (sensitive information)
3. What to just throw away.

Follow a similar routine working from desk to files to shelves. Clear everything off and sort into appropriate stacks. Use file folders, three-ring notebooks, or magazine sorters to hold important papers. And immediately pitch what you don't need. Get creative with containers. Coffee mugs and decorative boxes hold everything from paper clips and tacks to business cards and pens. Look toward vertical wall space as a new storage solution, instead of those piles we seem to make. Piles are hard to address and papers within them become hidden. You can’t pay a bill or return an important message if it’s hidden at the bottom of a stack on your desk. Instead, option wall space. Set bills in a hanging bin, keys on a hook, magazines in wall hangers. Now you can see and reach items easily.

Clean Out Clothing Skeletons in Your Cluttered Closet

If closets are your nemesis, you’ll need to spend some time getting down and dirty. The first step to cleaning a closet is to take everything out. Then you can see what you have. Often you’ll need to purchase storage boxes or organizing bins, shoe holders, or shelving. Don’t forget plastic garbage bags for trash and donations. Have a few bins or boxes for items that don’t really belong in the closet but will be moved elsewhere. Be realistic. Do you really need or want each item?
A good mantra here is: “If you haven’t seen it, needed it, or worn it in one year, get rid of it.” Ask yourself these three questions: Does it fit? Have you worn it in the last 12 months? Is there some sentimental value strong enough to keep it? If the answers are no, toss it in one of three options — in a bag for charity, to sell at a garage sale or on eBay, or for the trash heap.

Here are more steps to help you clear clutter from your life:

Organize in bite-size bits: If the thought of getting organized completely overwhelms you, set a timer for just 15 minutes a day. Knowing you won't spend hours working on an organizational project might make working in small nuggets easier to manage.
Mainstream email: Instead of checking email with each ding of the inbox, read your emails on a regular basis only twice a day. When you open an email, answer it immediately and don't save it for later.
Handle snail mail only once: Create a special time and place to read your snail mail regularly. During the appointed time, open the mail and immediately take action on it. File it with bills, shred it, toss it in the trash, etc. Commit to touching each piece of mail immediately and only once.
Avoid horizontal piles: When possible, avoid putting paper in horizontal stacks in your home or office. Save time and frustration by categorizing and finding a home for paper as soon as it comes through the door.
Purge regularly: This applies to every room in the house but don’t forget the kitchen and bathroom. Check expiration dates regularly on medicines, vitamins, supplements, and cosmetics. Stick to the “when in doubt, throw it out” rule. If you can’t remember when you purchased it, let it go.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Lucille!

    Great tips! I wrote an entire e-book around the concept of getting organized in 15 minutes a day ( Most people are pleasantly surprised to see what can be accomplished in a little bit of time!