10 Tips to De-Clutter Your Life

I was raised by a packrat. Seriously. In my house opening the freezer door would result in an avalanche and a whimsical pirouette would send stacks of papers flying in all directions. As a result I grew into a very orderly adult–until I had a baby. Now I'm sitting at a desk with high rises of books and bills and just enough room to wedge my laptop in between. And I hate it.

But this week's guest blogger, Julie Bonner of DeclutterIt.com, gives me hope–and great insight into how to get out from under. Unless you're Felix Unger this is a definite must read.

Read on to see for yourself, check out DeclutterIt.com for more wonderful tips, and many thanks to Julie for the following fantastic post. I'm implementing step 1 this weekend when Viva gets her birthday presents. –Erika Lenkert

Your home should be your haven. I am sure you have heard that saying before, but it's so true. After you have been at work and the kids have been at school all day, your home is the place to come and feel safe, to relax and to just enjoy the family.

If you wake up every morning and come home every night to a cluttered home that shoots your blood pressure through the roof, then something needs to change. You should not be working for your home; your home should be working for you!

I know getting rid of clutter is hard and I also know it can not and will not happen over night. After all, it didn't get that way in just a few hours. Here are a few tips that are supposed to help get you started in the right direction. They are meant to give you a foundation of how an uncluttered home stays that way.

10 Tips to De-clutter Your Life

1. Use the one toy in, one toy out rule.
We need to teach our kids as early as possible how to keep a space uncluttered and how important it is to let go of things that we don't use or don't need anymore. So before a birthday or Christmas, tell your kids it's time to make room for the new toys that will be coming in. Make it fun and a learning tool by having them donate their unwanted toys to a shelter. Trust me, they will feel very good about themselves.

2. After you are done with what you are using, put it back where it belongs.
Is anyone feeling like they are back in kindergarten? Lol! This is a great rule to follow and it does help keep the clutter in the home under control.

3. Give every item a home.
I guess it's hard to put something back where it belongs if it has no home right? Very true! That is one of the biggest reasons why people's spaces are so cluttered, everything is just laying out in the open because you have no idea where it goes. Find everything a home and then make sure it makes it back there.

4. Look up, think vertically for storage.
Get as many things up off the floor as you can. Use shelves and bookcases as storage in offices, playrooms, bedrooms and living areas. Put pictures up on the wall instead of on a table where it's crowding the space. Use that floor to ceiling space when it comes to storage. It helps a room look much less cluttered.

5. Don't let the mail over-run your kitchen or dining room table.
Throw junk mail away immediately. Don't let it pile up and sit there for weeks and months. It then becomes a monster that you don't know how to deal with.

6. Don't over crowd a room with too much furniture.
Over sized furniture in a small room or too much furniture can make a room look very cluttered. Only have the essential pieces. Get rid of the rest.

7. Instead of impulse buying, keep a wish list.
Is your kitchen cluttered with the latest kitchen gadgets? If you have a habit of impulse buying and you pick up the phone and dial that number for the latest toy, write it down on a wish list instead. If in a few months you still find yourself needing it, then buy it. Just be sure to get rid of something else first!

8. Do a quick pick-up every morning and night. Get the family to help.
I don't like to wake up to a mess or come home to a mess. Always make sure you scan your house real quick before you leave for work or hit the sack for any items that are out of place. Before our kids go to bed, we make them take anything of theirs that's in the living room to their bedrooms. It's amazing what a 5 minute quick pick-up can do for a place.

9. When you de-clutter a room, enlist the help of a friend or professional.
It is much easier to let go of things and make decisions with someone's help. A friend or professional can help talk you through why you should get rid of something or maybe hold on to it. Letting go of clutter is not easy. Asking for help does not mean you are a failure, it means you are smart and know that 2 is better than 1.

10.Try to remember that life is not about the things we buy, but about the people we share it with.
I would give up everything I own for my family. I want to make sure that I help create the best home possible for them. I want them to know that they mean more to me than any piece of clothing or furniture. If clutter gets in the way of your relationships, then it's time for a change.

[tags] clutter tips, cleaning tips, how to declutter your life, home, advice, declutter it.com, Julie Bonner[/tags]