Tips for Beating Clutter

— Written By N.C. Cooperative Extension

Was your goal and New Year’s resolution to get more organized in 2012?  Are you frustrated because it is almost February and you haven’t done anything yet?  Or, did you attempt some steps only to have them not solve your disorganization problems? 

Getting organized in the New Year is one of the most popular resolutions.  Many of us want a fresh start – a better start.  We want things to go better in the coming year.  This is an admirable goal and, for some of us, a necessary one. So, what can you do NOW?

First forgive yourself.  Getting organized is usually a much larger task than most people realize.  Give yourself a break.  You may not have realized all of the steps involved in getting organized. Start with the easy stuff. Get rid of all items that are unnecessary. Grab a trash bag and toss out outdated mail, magazines, newspapers, calendars and catalogs. Fill bags or boxes with clothing and linens to donate. Purge all extraneous items. 

Set small goals. Set a timer for 15 minutes and clean out one drawer each day. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish in these mini decluttering sessions. Give everything a home. A big reason why clutter accumulates is because items are homeless. Remember: “A place for everything and everything in its place.”

Give yourself permission to let go. If you had only 10 minutes to evacuate your home, what would you grab? Make a decision to surround yourself with only beloved and useful objects and let go of the rest. Have a garage sale, donate or post items online for sale or swap. Purge, purge, purge! 

Deal with clutter hot spots. You can’t hide all clutter, but you can contain it. Look at where it collects and set up attractive ways to deal with it, like a large bowl on the kitchen counter to collect keys, or a big basket by the door for shoes. There are many decorative storage containers available today for every style and purpose.

Declutter daily. It’s easier to keep up than to catch up, so establish a daily routine. Grab a laundry basket and make the rounds, tossing in anything to be put away. 

Last but not least be a good gatekeeper. Think twice before you bring home something new. Ask yourself: Do I really need this? Where will I put it?

Becoming a more conscious consumer goes a long way toward managing clutter.


For more information, contact Kim Reid, Extension Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service at (910) 592-7161.

Posted on Jan 30, 2012
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