8. Get Or­ga­nized With Martha’s Golden Rules

Martha Stewart Living - - Everyday Food -

Man­i­festos on this sub­ject tend to bear a fa­mil­iar bat­tle cry— com­bat clut­ter! con­quer chaos!— as if life were an end­less war against our stuff. But here’s a rad­i­cal propo­si­tion: Try see­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion less as a purge or a prob­lem to be solved, and more as an op­por­tu­nity to be thought­ful about how you live and what you sur­round your­self with. (And no one wants that to be an avalanche of un­opened mail.) Use these prin­ci­ples to cre­ate a sys­tem that’s both sim­ple and sus­tain­able.

BE TAR­GETED

Rather than try­ing to tackle your whole house at once, fo­cus on one spot at a time. Start with high- use ar­eas, such as the bath­room or home of­fice. Then do the places you ig­nore (e.g., the over­stuffed desk drawer that makes you wince ev­ery time you open it).

UNIFY STOR­AGE

No mat­ter their con­tents, match­ing con­tain­ers make any space more stream­lined. Paint wo­ven bas­kets, metal bins, can­vas cub­bies, or wooden crates a uni­form color to cre­ate a match­ing set.

CON­SIDER PROX­IM­ITY

Keep items near where they’ll be used to make rooms more ef­fi­cient. Tuck in­fre­quently used items away to clear vis­ual (and men­tal) clut­ter.

GROUP STRATE­GI­CALLY

In other words, stash things that are used to­gether in the same place. Think spare can­dles with matches, and wrap­ping pa­per with scis­sors, tape, and rib­bon.

USE THE FOUR- BOX FOR­MULA

Try this method, and you’ll find it a lot eas­ier to let go of the pos­ses­sions you no longer need, we prom­ise. La­bel four boxes “Keep,” “Toss,” “Do­nate,” and “Sell”; then start sort­ing.

KEEP im­por­tant items, and put them in their proper places— or as­sign them per­ma­nent homes.

TOSS prod­ucts that are no longer use­ful, and pa­per­work that’s no longer re­quired.

DO­NATE any­thing you can’t an­swer these ques­tions about: When was the last time I used it? Do I need it?

SELL any give­away items of value at a tag sale or online.

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