Did you know your clutter could be costing you money? The time it takes to search for what you need, the replacements you purchase when you can’t find your things, and the cost of storage, all of these add up! Then there’s the feeling your home give you. Is it clean, spacious, and welcoming? Is your home cluttered, disorganized and uncomfortable? Clutter affects your home’s value, too. One of the first things a Realtor will tell you when evaluating your home for sale is to eliminate any clutter to make your home look cleaner, neater, and more spacious. Save money, enjoy your home, and get the most value out of your home when you manage your clutter!
Five Ways to Manage Clutter:
If you have tendencies toward excessive disorder, consider implementing some simple steps to manage your mess before your office, your house, and your life turn to chaos.
Just consider the cost of clutter. You lose time searching for items. You spend money on storage units that could be devoted to hobbies, savings, or vacations. And when you’re selling your house, clutter leaves a bad impression on prospective buyers.
For an interesting take on calculating the cost of clutter, see this Lifehacker story.
By tidying up, you save some time and money and find a greater sense of calm.
Certified personal organizers offer five proven organizing tips that have worked for their clients.
- Landing pads. Create a landing pad for your keys and wallet and the other things you take with you each morning. Drop the gear in the same spot each night.
Maria Spetalnik, a professional organizer with Conquer the Clutter, Chantilly Va., had a client who got up 30 minutes early each day because he knew he’d need the time to hunt down his gear. Her simple landing pad strategy bought the client extra sleep each night.
- Scheduled purges. Break up purging of paper, clothes, and so forth, into manageable bites.
Spetalnik says it’s too overwhelming to, for instance, plan to purge all the old paper in a home office in a single day. Instead, she recommends choosing a single file drawer to purge. In addition, choose a date each month for a particular type of purge. Do closet purges quarterly, and on January 1, for example, plan to purge tax files, and on February 1, purge children’s toys, and so forth.
- Weekly maintenance. Steve Ilott, of Decluttering.ca in Oakville, Ontario, Canada and director of membership for the Professional Organizers in Canada, is a proponent of short weekly purges. He explains that setting aside 20 minutes a week to eliminate the excess stuff that accumulates tends to keep chaos at bay and it maintains the organization systems you spent time creating.
- Touch it once. No doubt, you’ve heard this before. It’s because organizers say it works. Touch each piece of mail just once. Immediately toss junk mail, catalogs and flyers when you pick up mail. Sort it right away into something that is best for you, whether that entails putting bills in one spot, filing bank statements and bills in an accordion folder, or adding party dates to your calendar immediately.
- Creative paper storage. There’s no right way to file, so develop a system that makes sense for you, suggests Spetalnik. That could entail traditional file cabinets. But if you lean toward organizing by piles, color-coded baskets could work best for you. And if you’re self-employed, consider filing by client or by project.
Other options include filing alphabetically or by activity.”Whatever system you use, fully adopt it,” she comments. She likens it to dieting; pointing out that you can’t expect a diet–or a filing system–to work instantly. “Give your system a good solid run, but if it doesn’t work, do try something else,” Spetalnik says.
Tip: Never buy a new filing system until you’ve done a full purge.