Column: Tidying up your life for a stress-free 2020
by Kathi Burns
Published - 01/05/20 - 07:00 AM | 12471 views | 571 571 comments | 72 72 recommendations | email to a friend | print
2020 marks the beginning of a new decade and if you want to embrace it with 20/20 vision and clarity, this is the perfect time to begin decluttering and organizing your life.

When your life is overrun with clutter you are not able to see clearly what you need to do to create more success or to simply have more free time.

The great news is that when your home and your life becomes organized and decluttered, you will automatically have extra room for new experiences and will also experience a greater sense of peace and well being.

The average US home contains over 300,000 possessions! It is no wonder why we sometimes feel like our possessions are possessing us!

Most of us spend a great deal of time buying, maintaining, storing, trying to access and keep track of our items.

When we waste time searching for things we know we own, but cannot find, we become frustrated and lose precious hours from our life. Studies show that the average person wastes 3 1/2 hours each week searching for lost items. Does this sound familiar? If so, read on…

There are several simple steps you can take to start 2020 on an organized path. These steps are simple but not necessarily easy. They only work well unless you keep going until you personally feel like you have accomplished your goals.

Keep in mind, there is no one perfect end result - it is all about your personal 2020 vision for this new decade. If you feel ready to begin anew, - here are a few basic steps you can take right now to start this new decade feeling like your life is under control!

Organizing tactic No. 1 - Set up a permanent donation box in your home.

It is important to position your donation bin in a place that is quick and easy to access. A hall closet or right inside the garage door typically trumps other locations.

Once you set up a permanent donation bin for items you no longer want, use, or love your life will become less cluttered with less effort. Develop your new habit of releasing unwanted items into this bin for 4-6 weeks until it becomes automatic.

It doesn't really matter what type of bin you use for your unwanted items. Your donation box can as simple as a plastic tub or old box. The main requirement is that it stays vertical on its own. This way it is super easy to open the closet door and toss items in as soon as you decide they are no longer be needed, used or loved.

To guarantee success - once your donation bin is full - you must take it immediately to your closest donation station.

Get to know where your local donation station is and get into the habit of going there as frequently as your bin fills up! If your bin is the perfect size and shape, simply empty it and bring the bin back to forever home and keep the process going!

Adding a second donation bin inside your master closet will dramatically help you reduce your closet congestion by helping you get rid of clothes you no longer wear.

When you try on a piece of clothing and take it off right away - this is a good indication that you no longer really like it. Considering the fact that we only wear 20% of the clothes in our closet this might be the perfect time to get real with yourself. If you don’t want to wear it today, why would you want to wear it tomorrow?

If in doubt and you just can’t talk yourself into tossing it immediately, place the hanger backward onto the rod. In a few months, check to see if you ever wore it again. If not, toss it onto your donation bin quickly and be done with it!

As the “donate box” becomes a permanent part of your life, you will happily and easily clear at least one box of unwanted items every month!

Once you have a donation station set up inside your home, it is time to start the purging process.

Your next step will be to assess each space every time you open a door or drawer. Do a quick scan to check if there is anything inside that you have not used for the last 6 months or a year.

A pro organizing tip - It is easier to make decisions if you empty the drawer. Seeing all of the contents will help you make a quick assessment of the contents. You will probably be surprised or even shocked at how much stuff that drawer contained! As you sort and find things that you don’t use, need or love toss it into your donation bin or the trash/recycle bin.

Before you place items back into that drawer or cabinet, think about how you might be able to optimize that space. This area will be better organized when you create separate zones to contain each type of item.

It is easy to contain collections of ‘like’ items within plastic bins. You can also employ baskets to serve as quick and easy dividers in deep drawers. Use pre-made plastic drawer bins for instant cabinets within cabinets.

For instance, my bedside drawer has a few different caddies within. One is caddie holds pens and notepads, another holds vitamins, my extra cables are stashed inside a plastic bag and the last container holds my reading glasses.

This strategy follows the principle of containing ‘like with like’ that you will often hear professional organizers like myself teaching. The reason we love this organizing tactic is simply when similar items ‘live’ in the same location, they are much easier to find when needed.

One super important decluttering strategy is to purge your home on a regular basis and the beginning of each year is the ideal time.

The beginning of a new decade makes decluttering even more significant. Start this decade with systems put into place and remove all clutter from your space!

Keep in mind that purging and releasing items on a regular basis is a win-win! It helps you pass your good out into the world and at the same time makes your home much less stressful and you will absolutely receive the bonus of more free time for fun!

Kathi Burns, CPO, is founder of addSpace To Your Life.
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