Is your house so cluttered that you don’t know where or how to organized? Help is here! You can get a jumpstart on an organized home with a weekend clutter cure. This two-day plan is designed to help you cut the clutter, streamline your stuff, and organize your space. Here’s how you do it.
To avoid the distraction of a last-minute trip to the store, have these tools and supplies available before you begin:
Label four of the boxes or baskets according to the decisions you’ll be making:
Sorting clutter into four boxes forces decisions and routes the clutter efficiently.
You’ll use the timer to keep de-clutter sessions from sprawling out of control, while the file folders and file holder will contain results of Saturday afternoon’s paper purge.
It’s Saturday morning; start off with a bang with a whole-house clutter sweep! Set your timer for 45 minutes, and grab a black garbage bag. Your goal: to sweep the entire house of obvious, in-your-face clutter as quickly as possible.
Starting at the front door, move room-by-room, sweeping it clean of low-hanging clutter fruit in the form of soda cans, discarded newspapers, old pizza coupons, and Happy Meal boxes. When the timer rings, toss the trash.
Next step: de-clutter the front door or entryway to your home. Set the timer for 45 minutes, line up your boxes, and dive in. Last month’s seasonal decorations go to Storage, while sports equipment, piled mail, and tossed outwear are consigned to Put Away. Work until the door area is clear, or the timer rings.
After a break, repeat the process at the back door. A clean and organized entryway makes arriving home a pleasure!
Saturday afternoon? Time to get a grip on stacks and piles of paper around the house.
To begin, insert hanging file folders into a small tabletop file or file box. Label by action needed:
Include a Recipe file, and add an additional folder for each family member.
Now you’re ready to tackle stray papers around the house, beginning with the bulletin board. Clear it off, tossing expired coupons, stale calendars, and faded comics into the trash bag. Sort current items into file folders according to action needed.
Next step: do the same with the refrigerator, removing all layers of children’s artwork, grocery lists, and recipes. A quick spritz of evaporative cleaner brings the once-littered surface to clean and pristine, while the file folder holds the few survivors of the paper purge.
After a break, it’s time to clear the desk area or computer station. Without delving into drawers, clear desktop and monitor from layers of sticky notes and loose papers. File items you need to keep according to action, consign the rest to recycling or to the trash. Free your workspace!
Last paper purge item of the day: give stacked papers a rough sort, designed to weed out the clutter. To keep from disappearing under the paper tide, use the timer, set for 45 minutes. In that time, attack stacked-up papers in office, family room, or kitchen, looking for unread magazines (donate), junk mail (trash), or unanswered correspondence (file).
Product manuals, newspapers, and magazines are now available on the Internet or for download to apps for tablets and smartphones. Recycle hard copies of any documents you can access online to save space … and trees.
When the timer rings, it’s time to clean up after a busy day. Place the tabletop file on the newly cleared desktop: it’s your new Action File for mail sorting and paper handling. Toss trash; return any Put Away and Storage items, and bag up items for donation and place in the trunk of the car.
Sunday morning kicks off in the kitchen, where the day’s first assignment is to clear kitchen counters. To begin, use your four boxes to remove all out-of-place items, according to whether they’ll be tossed, stored, or put away elsewhere.
Keep counter space clear by giving small appliances a time test: a coffee maker used daily earns the right to live on the counter; the never-used bread machine needs to find new digs, preferably at the donation center! For the cleanest look, tuck all decor items into the storage box, and put it away for the time being. Over time, it will creep back, but for now, admire your clear kitchen counters!
In most kitchens, coffee mugs and give-away glasses multiply behind closed doors, until they’re stacked and packed into kitchen cabinets. Haul them all out and line them up, sorting by type. Donate unneeded items (Fun Run water bottles, anybody?); replace the survivors where they are easy to reach.
After a break, it’s time to clean out the refrigerator. Working one shelf at a time, toss outdated food, dried-out cheese, and shriveled produce; spritz shelves with glass cleaner before replacing remaining items.
Clean and clear inside and out, an organized refrigerator makes food preparation easier. Time for lunch!
It’s Sunday afternoon, and the week ahead beckons. We’ll finish up the Weekend Clutter Cure by tackling areas that help us get out of the house in the morning: the bathroom vanity and sink.
Starting on top of the sink, and moving through shelves, drawers, and the under-sink area, cut clutter in the bathroom. Using four decision boxes, sort through makeup, hair, and personal care items. Toss old makeup, consign out-of-place items to the Put Away box, and organize survivors to make it easy to prepare for the world each morning.
Apply time-based rules to the vanity area: the blow dryer, which gets daily use earns a place on display, while the ionic hair rollers used for special occasions must make a home in the dark recesses under the sink.
Whew, you did it! Now that your space is decluttered and organized, you can store the records boxes, dump the trash, and add any new donation items to the car trunk for charity drop-off … and enjoy the fresh new feeling of your organized home! Congratulations!
by Cynthia Ewer, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Organized Fast Track