Thursday, December 3, 2009

Basic Rules and Tools for Clutter Busting


Containers, sticky notes, magic markers, tape. For long-term deep clutter, dust masks and rubber gloves might be in order.

Dusting equipment, vacuum or broom. (I always recommend cleaning the cleared space before putting things back in.)


Think about what you want to do with this room or space. What is its purpose? If more than one person uses it, everyone should have impute; agreeing on the priorities and uses of the room is a must in order to stay organized successfully.

Consider what works - everyone has some areas that work for them! Why is that area organized? How can you apply what works there to other areas?

Take it a little at a time. Don’t try to do everything at once. Select a specific area and time to do it. Sometimes playing favorite music or an audio book helps enliven the experience. Have a healthy snack or favorite beverage at hand.

Don’t let yourself be distracted. Items for another room can be put in a box to be dealt with after the specific area is finished. Do not stop to read articles or finish that project you’ve been reminded of. Again, set them aside for later.

Don’t buy any organizing systems such as shelves or tubs until you’ve purged and organized at least into categories. You may find that you already have systems that can be used in new and more efficient ways. You’ll also be able to see the space better in order to judge what you need.

It is often hard to part with stuff, even when it well past serving any need for you. Knowing there are ways to give the stuff a good home can make it easier.

Memorabilia: it can be hard to give up stuff that reminds you of loved ones or happy memories. But the stuff is not the person or the memory. Keep those very special items that you have room for. For the rest, consider taking pictures of the items for a photo album or scrap book, then find new homes to sell or donate the items to. Remember, if it is really important to you, it should be out where you can enjoy it, not stuck away in a box or under a pile of other things in a closet.

Make sure items for donating are still in good enough condition to use. Charitable organizations appreciate it if the items are clean as well.

Clothes: There are many institutions around Champaign/Urbana that take clothes donation, like Salvation Army and Goodwill. Our own St. Patrick’s Food Pantry will take nonfood items such as clothes, bathroom supplies, even greeting cards.

Books: The library will take almost any book, DVD, CD as donations. The county jail also takes book donations, but paper backs only.

Recycling: Clothes hangers and dry Cleaning bags: Dry cleaners are very happy to take any you bring to them! Some, like Starcrest, have drop off bins to recycle the bags.

Recycling centers: they take paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, and aluminum. Does your college student need coins for laundry machines? Behind Jerry’s IGA there’s a machine that takes aluminum cans and pays 15 cents per pound.

Batteries/ Cell Phones: Anita Purvis Nature Center at Busey Woods takes old batteries (AA’s etc, not big ones like car batteries), cell phones, and plastic bags.

Plastic Bags: Most grocery stores now have drop offs for plastic bags. Jerry’s IGA in the Round Barn Shopping Center pays 5 cents per reusable bag that you bring in for your groceries.

Drug Disposal

Any out of date drugs should not be thrown in the trash or down the toilet. Carle Hospital’s pharmacy has a drop box for such drugs. They incinerate them to assure that they won’t get in the wrong hands or into the water system.

Empty Prescription bottles: The Humane Society is happy to reuse them for animal prescriptions.

Recommended Books:

It’s All Too Much by Peter Walsh
Organizing From the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern

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