Is it that time when you need to look at your home and life and determine whether it is time to start to declutter? Clutter can take on so many forms within your life.
It can be the piles of clothes that wind up in the closet, it can be the hundreds of digital photos that are on the camera or your computer.
What do you need to do to get rid of these things and gain control?
Looking for ways to keep clutter at bay? Here are a few of my favorite decluttering tips:
1. Organize all your photos from the previous year and only keep what you really need. With digital cameras, or our Phones ,it’s easy to get 10 completely identical shots (or 50 in my case…). Toss shots that are similar and keep the best one.
2. Rather than keep all your All your old Photos , take photos of them to add to your annual photo book. This will use a lot less space than saving the originals. You can also create a fun activity for preschoolers by using these Photos as flashcards for matching names to photos of friends and family.
3. Don’t keep every piece of artwork the kids bring home. Take photos to include in your annual photo book, or create a separate photo book filled just with kids’ artwork. Keep a few originals that are really special.(In my case I have saved most of my daughter’s Art work in digital format and kept a folder for her when she grows up)
4. As soon as the kids outgrow their clothes or baby gear, donate them to a local charity or sell them on OLX (India’s Craigslist ). It’s easy to hold onto old items for years after kids outgrow them, so go through clothes and gear every year to make sure you’re only holding on to items you really need.
5. As soon as your kids get new toys, ask them to select old toys to give away. This prevents kids from getting overwhelmed at the volume of toys they have and teaches them to give to others in need.
6. Organize and label toys in bins or boxes. Teach kids that if they take a toy bin out, they are responsible for cleaning up and putting the bin back where it belongs. Check toys to make sure they’re working, and throw away any toys that are broken or have missing pieces.
7. Look through your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer every six months. Toss foods beyond their expiration date, and donate foods that are still edible but you know you’ll never use. If you’re anything like me, you may occasionally buy something with the intent of using it for a recipe that never pans out. Don’t feel like you need to keep the item, just give it away to someone who might need it. This is a great time to clean the inside of the refrigerator, too.
8. Check out your cupboards and toss out any dishes, pots, pans, or plastic containers you no longer need. Make sure all your containers have both tops and bottoms. Donate any items your kids no longer need like bottles, sippy cups, baby spoons, etc.
9. Go through your closet. Get rid of anything that you haven’t worn in the last six to 12 months. Can’t remember? Follow decluttering expert Peter Walsh’s advice: Face all hangers in the same direction, and when you wear an item turn the hanger hook in the opposite direction. In a few months, you’ll be able to see which items you’ve been wearing. Donate or sell the clothes you no longer wear.
10. Finally, the nirvana of decluttering (at least for me): Go paperless. Paper clutter takes up a lot of space and can be harder to get rid of. Start small; get paperless statements for bills and pay online. Go through your stash of manuals and consider tossing any ones you don’t really need, like the manual for the iPod you got in 2005. Scan receipts and important documents rather than keeping hard copies of everything.