Declutter in 4 Steps
Get Ready to Get Rid of It
Didn't think you'd accumulated so much stuff? It happens to all of us, but cleaning out your home is a snap when you consolidate the process into four steps. Plastic storage bins make putting items in piles easy.
Step 1: Throw it Out
As Southerners, we don't like to let things go gently―especially if they're sentimental. But, when a household item has reached its end, it's okay to say good-bye. It can even be a therapeutic process. Cracked ceramic pots, water-damaged straw baskets, punctured and deflated basketballs and the like should go into the dumpster. Make space for new memories.
Step 2: Recycle or Reuse
Many items―not just plastic water bottles and aluminum cans―can be recycled. Just check the bottoms of containers for the appropriate symbol. You can also call your local processing center to see if they accept paper and glass. In addition, cell phones, TVs, computer monitors, and other electronics can be salvaged. Contact your service provider to find out details, or visit therecyclingcenter.info. Get more creative with the term "recycling." Think "reusing." Turn an interesting tin can into a flower vase, or cut up old clothing made out of absorbent material (such as cotton) to make scrub rags. Better yet, get friends together for an exchange party. You'll get great stuff that's new to you―no money needed.
Step 3: Sell your Stuff
Step 4: Donate, donate, donate
If your child has outgrown his race car comforter or you've redecorated and don't need that slipcover anymore, consider making a donation. While you may no longer have a need for an item, someone else will. If you don't personally know of someone who can get good use out of your items, call your local Salvation Army, Goodwill, or another charity. Bonus: Get a receipt for your donation so you can use it as a tax write-off.
Now that you've cleaned out, keep the clutter away with our favorite organization tools.
- Under-the-bed storage containers are for more than sweaters. Stock them with shoes, scarves, socks, wrapping paper, and other items.
- Shelf dividers are the savior of your purses and sweaters. They can also keep stacks of hats from avalanching on you when you open closet doors.
- Mesh storage bags keep your kids' toys in check. No more tripping over balls or stepping on plastic action figures.
- Plastic bins are multiuse wonders. They come in various sizes, so you can stash away anything from kitchen utensils and candles to holiday decorations.
- Paper storage boxes help make sense of drawers full of loose photos and birthday cards. They also come in handy for organizing important documents in home offices.