Jump-start your de-cluttering with a small space



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If you stop and think about all the clutter in your home, and all the stuff you need to organize or ditch before your home feels de-cluttered, you might have a brain aneurism. So don’t think about it all just yet! A full home de-clutter is like running a marathon — you wouldn't try it without warming up first, right? Think of this is your stretching session for the bigger task ahead.


1. Pick a small, unsentimental spot

We can’t tell you where to start, because that all depends on your house, your emotions (yup!) and your clutter. If your front entryway gives you the feels because of family photos, don’t start there. The trick is to pick a place that has zero emotional attachment issues, like your coat closet. Or on top of the fridge. Or the chest of drawers where you store blankets and things.


2. Empty the area completely

Take everything out of the area you choose, even the things you know you’re going to keep. You’re going to practice doing a “stuff audit,” which is a skill that will carry you through many de-cluttering activities in the future. Put the stuff in empty laundry baskets or boxes for now.


3. Clean the empty spot

Now is the best time to give the empty area a deep clean. Grab some all-purpose cleaner and start scrubbing. Don’t forget the corners. That’s where cobwebs hide. You want the spot to shine.


4. Form three piles: Keep, toss, donate

Now, back to the stuff. Form three piles in whatever way is easier. (We’re partial to empty laundry baskets, because they’re easy to transport, but trash bags will work.) Go through your things one item at a time and place them in the keep, toss and donate piles. Note: Since you’ve started with an unsentimental area, you shouldn’t have a super-large “Keep” category. Be vigilant! If you haven’t used something in six months, get rid of it.


5. Put the keeps back

Arrange your lucky keep items back in your spot, and admire your clean and clutter-free area. Sigh. Doesn’t that feel great?


6. Donate or toss the rest

Toss means trash. Donate means Goodwill, Salvation Army or the charity of your choice. For more donation ideas, read "Donate Items from Your Home".  


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