One of the first steps to creating a beautiful, peaceful and nurturing interior is to lose the clutter. No matter how hard we all try, clutter happens. Here are a few tips to for clutter control.
Have a mantra about clutter that you remind yourself of every time you decide to buy another knick-knack or piece of furniture. Mine is "Buy something, get rid of something". If I buy an item for a room, something in that room needs to get recycled. That might mean it will work in another room of my house (where some other item then has to be recycled), or that I need to sell it on Craig's List, give it to charity, or as a last resort, throw it in the trash.
Whatever you do, don't try to tackle the entire house all at one time. Start small - clean off your desk or your dresser. Tackle the smallest room in the house first. Once you see how good that area looks, and how good it makes you feel, the next area will be a little less daunting.
Buying some smart-looking storage containers is a great way to organize things you need to keep, but don't put the cart before the horse. Sort through the clutter, decide what you need to keep, get rid of the rest, THEN buy those storage containers. This way you aren't tempted to keep something just because you have an extra container.
If you find you have an emotional attachment to your clutter and can't bear to part with it, ask a friend to come help. Someone who doesn't have that attachment can help you sort out what is important and what isn't. If that doesn't work, you can hire the ultimate clutter expert, Kit! (see "Organizing" page)
We all have clutter that is really just trash, but we also have clutter that can be put to good use by someone else. If you donate as much as possible to charity, not only will you feel good about the way your house looks, you will also feel good about helping those less fortunate than you (and that tax write off doesn't hurt either).
Following is a list of places to donate all kinds of goodies.
- New or used building supplies - Habitat for Humanity's Restore - old sinks and toilets, unused paint, extra drywall or tile, doors, windows, etc.
- Winter coats - One Warm Coat sponsors coat drives around the country.
- Computer equipment - The On It Foundation provides computers and internet access to low-income families.
- Sneakers - Reuse-a-Shoe uses the rubber to create play surfaces for kids around the world.
- Cell phones - Collective Good lets you choose the charity that your used phone will support.
- Musical instruments - Operation Happy Note sends instruments to soldiers deployed overseas.
- Books - The International Book Project sends books to schools, orphanages and libraries
- Furniture - The National Furniture Bank will give your couch to anyone who needs a hand up, such as domestic violence victims.
- Knickknacks - Excess Access matches your items with local nonprofit wish lists.
- Women's business clothing - Dress for Success provides clothing suitable for a job interview to disadvantaged women, in addition to career counseling and more.
- Pet supplies - The Humane Society has a wish list of needed supplies on their website. They can use things like old towels or the cardboard bottoms from a case of soda (disposable litter boxes).
If you know of any other worthy sites that we should add to this list, please contact us.