8. Get Organized With Martha’s Golden Rules
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.
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).
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.
Keep items near where they’ll be used to make rooms more efficient. Tuck infrequently used items away to clear visual (and mental) clutter.
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.