Staying on top of clutter in your home is easy once you know how. If you have clutter piles throughout your home, it’s probably due to not having a home for the items. When you’re ready to begin decluttering, while you’re working on one pile, new paper and mail and new purchases will still be coming in; so be sure to schedule time everyday to deal with new items that are still entering your home on a daily basis, and work on the old piles separately.
Here are some basic decluttering and organizing rules for dealing with the mail and other miscellaneous items in your home on a regular basis:
1. Deal with the mail immediately: Sort the mail as soon as it enters your home. Sort, act, file, toss or recycle.
2. Mail sorting tip: During your mail sort, if you receive a variety of mail, have a system for dealing with it. Paper trays work well to divide up the mail. Divide up magazines, bills to pay, statements to file and coupons into separate piles, files or trays. For items that require action, like bills, be sure to separate them immediately and set up a reminder to deal with them later.
3. Misc/Junk Mail: Other mail items that may not have proper homes may include: restaurant menus, mail order catalogs, school papers, samples, flyers, credit card offers, invitations, etc. If most of the mail ends up in the trash or shredder, you might want to get your name off lists. Get your name off junk mail lists here.
4. Magazine/Catalog tip: If you have a huge pile of unread magazines or mail order catalogs, schedule some time to go through each one and tear out the pages of interest. Either, organize in a binder and organize by subject, store in a nice large shoebox, or file in a hanging file or folder to read later. Keep your shoebox, binder or file close to where you like to read your magazines or catalogs.
5. No dumping rule: Make a rule that no surfaces can become a dumping ground. Have a special place to hang or place keys and mail, backpacks and books, handbags, coats and jackets. Create easy to use systems so that these items can be put away in a jiffy.
6. Ten minutes a day: Spend ten minutes a day decluttering the messes around your home. Carry a large basket and collect items that need to be moved to another room. Then go to those rooms and put them away. Or, have a nightly decluttering session with your children. Take 5-10 minutes to pick up and put away toys, books, magazines and other items before bed. Do whatever you need to do to make it fun, e.g. timer, music, singing etc!
7. Purge and Re-organize: Get into the habit of regular purging and re-organizing. Pick one area every week and spend 30 min to 1 hour getting rid of stuff, e.g. closet purging, junk drawer tidy-up, linen closet purging and re-organizing, garage tidy-up, magazine/newspaper recycling etc.
8. One in; One out: Before you bring in something new, think about where it’s going to go first. If you don’t have a space, then either get rid of something to make space, or don’t bring it home.
by Jacquie Ross, CastAway the Clutter!