Start Your New Year Clutter Free!

With Christmas in the past and The New Year upon us, it’s time to look ahead to a clean and organized home!  As you put away all of the holiday gifts, you may be feeling a little cramped for space.  Try these 5 tips to cut clutter and start your New Year clutter free.
1. For each gift received, toss out two.  This rule goes for any type of gift, especially toys.  The best time to clean out unwanted toys and clothes is after Santa has passed through with new ones.  Even though your child no longer plays with certain toys, they are still very useful.  Recycle these toys by donating them to your favorite daycare or church nursery.  Clean out the clothes that no longer fit while you are in your children’s closets and donate them to Good Will.
2. Sort your mail over the trash can or paper shredder.  Unfortunately junk mail will continue to arrive at our homes on a daily basis.  Don’t let it pile up on you.  Sort your mail directly over the trash can or paper shredder so that the junk gets discarded immediately.  Continue this rule and a pile of junk mail will never end up on your counter again.
3. Create a home for your belongings.  Clutter often results from not having a designated or convenient home for your things.  Put things where you are most likely to use them.  The kitchen is the culprit for the most clutter, so try creating zones.  Have a zone near the sink for items such as soap, dish towels and pot scrubbers.  Make another zone near the refrigerator for your Tupperware and zip lock bags.  Then create a zone for cooking which would house your utensils, pots, pans and other cook-wear.  Another great idea for the kitchen is to hang a shoe organizer on the back of the pantry door.  The pockets are clear and perfect to hold chip clips, bread ties, seasoning packets and straws.  Once you have determined the best home for your things, it is wise to label the spot.  Labels help you to quickly identify where things belong.
4. Remove all items with no purpose from the counter.  Too many items on the countertop will make even the tidiest kitchen appear cluttered and disorganized.  A good rule of thumb for small appliances is if it does not get used more than once a week, store it.  Get rid of anything on the counter without a useful purpose and you will see how your kitchen magically appears spacious and uncluttered.
5. Teach your kids where things belong.  You will go a long way to keeping your house clutter free if you teach your kids where things belong.  Set a specific time everyday for this lesson, like while their bathwater is running.  Make it into a fun game to see who can pick up the most clutter before you turn off the water.  If you practice patience and consistency, you will be amazed when they put their things away on their own.
The point of de-cluttering your home is to eliminate stress, not cause it.  So realize this mindset may take time to evolve.  If you are thinking about selling your home, the best advice I could give you is to de-clutter every room and every closet.  A buyer will walk through and actually see your home, not your belongings.  Please feel free to call me for any advice prior to listing your home for sale.  I wish you the best of luck becoming clutter free!
 by Elizabeth Clack, Realtor
 Email: eclack1@gmail.com
 or Call: (318) 388-0941
* Article first appeared in the January 2012 edition of Delta Style Magazine
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