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10 Ways to Declutter Your House

03/19/2014 09:00AM ● Published by Hood Magazine

By Ashley ThompsonImage title

It may be several months since you proudly pledged your New Year's Eve resolution to declutter your house, but it isn't too late! Follow these ten steps and your house will be clutter free forever! (I'm sorry, I just lied – but these tips will help at least.)

1. Kick start your decluttering mission with "ten bags in ten days." Get ten garbage bags and fill one up per day. You can have a daily theme such as "things to donate" or "things that don't even belong to me" or you can focus on filling bags of items that really do need to become recycling or trash. After ten days your house will be noticeably less cluttered and you will have momentum for the rest of your journey.

2. Take a small project and inspire yourself to get it done. GO SMALL! I decided to make a small dent in my closet chaos by going through all of my dresses and picking out ten to consign at a local high-end consignment shop. I inspired myself by deciding to give the money I earned directly to a local nonprofit. My closet is cleaner and I helped our community – win-win!

3. To tackle a cluttered home office space, start with five bins and a garbage bag in an adjacent room. Mark each bin with the following: "Belongs in Office," "Belongs in Different Room," "To File," "To Shred," and "To Donate." Empty the contents of the room (minus furniture) by placing each item in one of the bins. When you are done, thoroughly clean the room and put the contents of the "Belongs in Office" bin away. Then follow through with what needs to be done with the four remaining bins and voila!

6. Reward yourself. A cupcake, a facial, an hour of peace to yourself – it doesn't matter what it is, just make sure it is something that will give you the incentive to get it done.

7. Make it fun and engage your children where you can. We all know that one of the hardest parts of staying free of clutter is that our fabulously gifted children constantly fill our homes with new art projects, amazing block renditions of the Eiffel Tower, and more laundry than a family of 20 needs. Get them involved for longer-term success by making it fun and giving them appropriate jobs to do. I always play fun dance music, and I give my daughter the task of filing her artwork or asking her which items she thinks we can donate. When she is the one who decides that we really don't need to keep that 42nd spatula, she becomes invested in keeping the clutter at bay, too. There is, however, currently no hope for my one-year-old boy. And that is OK, too.

8. Turn your decluttering into a multitasking miracle! We just don't have time to stay on top of our homes sometimes because what really matters isn't the mess, it’s the time with our families and it’s our personal well-being. But try combining them! I can combine decluttering with my workout by focusing on things that need to be moved to different floors and running the stairs, and I can motivate myself to get the dinning room cleared out as a surprise for my husband so we can enjoy a date night dinner at home.

9. Give yourself a small daily goal that you can do everyday as maintenance. Try setting a timer to 15 minutes before you get ready for bed each night and put as much as you can away in that time. You will be surprised by how much you can get done in a short amount of time, and 15 minutes is not as overwhelming as trying to completely put everything away.

10. Finally, don't underestimate the power of some mental decluttering. As important as it feels to get control of the clutter in your home, taking a night off to relax and clear your mind can help keep you sane when it feels like Barbie shoes and Legos are growing out of your carpets on their own.

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