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CHAPTER 1 - Ready…Set…Go
CHAPTER 2 - WEEK ONE: BEDROOMS AND BATHROOMS
CHAPTER 3 - WEEK TWO: MAIN LIVING AREAS
CHAPTER 4 - WEEK THREE: KITCHEN AND DINING ROOM
CHAPTER 5 - WEEK FOUR: THE HOME OFFICE/DEN, CRAFT ROOM AND PLAYROOM
CHAPTER 6 - WEEK FIVE: GARAGES AND BASEMENTS
CHAPTER 7 - THE ART OF MAINTAINING YOUR CLUTTER-FREE LIFE
The fact that you are holding this book in your hands probably means you or someone you love is a ‘clutter-bug’. I’m not talking about the kind of clutter that lands you a starring role in a reality show like “Hoarders” or that makes you a ‘gold mine’ in the eyes of those loveable “American Pickers”. No, I’m talking about the kind of clutter that is just frustrating or annoying. You know—the ‘kind’ of clutter that makes it hard to find what you are looking for or the kind that requires you to move ten things to get to the one you need or want.
That’s me—the person who has a bit too much stuff, but whose main problem is a lack of organization. Or rather that was me before I cleaned up my act…pun intended.
I know what you are thinking about now. You are thinking how much easier your life would be if your house was more organized. Being more organized may be one of your yearly New Year’s resolutions…that has yet to be resolved. You may even have a box or bag (or two) of organizational bins and baskets and file folders in your house just waiting to be used. But you can’t remember where they’re at….
None (or few) of us intentionally leads a cluttered life or lives in a cluttered house. We don’t mean for it to happen. It just does. We shove the clothes our kids outgrow to the back of the closet or toss them in a box until we have enough stuff to have a garage sale or a few hours to take them to the resale shop. But we don’t. We go ‘all out’ in buying everything we need for our new hobby, only to discover a couple of months and several hundred dollars later that it really isn’t our thing. We both know what happens at that point—all those supplies or that equipment gets shoved into a corner of the garage or to the back of the closet. Or there’s the 70% off sale we can’t pass up. So what if you don’t need it—it’s a bargain.
Are you guilty as charged?
You are also thinking how nice it would be to have the time to get organized. But with work, taking care of the kids, keeping up with their activities, the cleaning, the laundry, the cooking, and squeezing in time for just you and your honey and finding a few minutes of complete solitude once in a while…there’s not time to get organized.
The truth of the matter is, however, that we have time for what we want to have time for. So if you really want to be more organized and have a less cluttered house and life, then you will find the time to make it happen. You won’t make excuses like waiting until the kids are older, or that you don’t want to tackle the task until you have a few days off from work to devote to getting it all done. Those are just excuses. I know these things are true because that was me until I finally realized there really is no better time than the present. But I like having a plan of sorts—or at least a designated start and finish. I couldn’t just start sorting and tossing things into trash or give-away piles without some sort of plan to the task of getting organized. To have done otherwise would have been a bit overwhelming to me.
The results of planning my organizational and decluttering strategy are both a clean and more functional house that looks and feels comfortable and inviting…and this book. After taking the plunge to purge, I realized it wasn’t so daunting after all and wanted to let others (that would be you) know that if I can do it, they can too.
The plan I came up with is a 30-day decluttering plan. By following this plan you will have a house that is easier and more fun to live in and a life that is less stressful and gives you the time to enjoy the things you want to. Equally important is the fact that the plan isn’t overwhelming or difficult and is detailed enough to guarantee results, but general enough to fit everyone’s unique circumstances and lifestyle. In other words, there is nothing magical about my decluttering plan. It is merely a combination of common sense and realistic simplicity. It is doable and relevant for anyone and everyone. Including you. So take a few minutes to finish reading the first chapter and then get ready to begin the decluttering process…one room at a time…one week at a time.
There is not a lot of elaborate planning necessary in order to launch this 30-day decluttering project. Elaborate planning and strategizing only does one (or both) of two things: 1) it makes the clutter seem more overwhelming that it really is. 2) Gives you an excuse to put the actual task off for a while (“I’m not done planning yet”).
That being said, there is some degree of planning and preparation necessary to getting the job done efficiently and with optimal results, so let’s take a look at what you need to do to prepare yourself and your home for decluttering that makes sense.
Tools of the trade
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to properly declutter your home, but there are some things you need to have on hand to make the task easier to accomplish and to have lasting effects. Most of the items you need are readily available at dollar discount stores or big box retailers for prices that fit everyone’s budget. Some of the items you need you might even already have lying around the house, and some of them can even be had for absolutely free.
After reading through the list, check off which ones you already have on hand and gather them all in one place. Next, you need to make a list of the things you need to purchase and then take a little shopping trip, bring your decluttering items home, and put them with the things you already had on hand. After you have the tools of the trade ready to go, you’ll be ready to move on to the next step in preparing to declutter your home.
Large sturdy trash can—possibly one with wheels to make it easy to move from room to room in your house.
Heavy-duty trash bags—don’t skimp on quality here. You need to know your trash is going to stay in its place.
Permanent markers and a variety of sizes of labels
File folders—the pocket-styled folders work best and if you are like me, you will want to get colorful ones to brighten up the project and bring an added element of organization to all that paperwork.