STOR­AGE DOC­TOR: CLUT­TER CLEANSE

BEDSIDE • DRESSER • PURSE

Secrets of Getting Organized - - Front Page - WRITER BRIAN KRAMER IL­LUS­TRA­TOR BRIT­TANY MUELLER

Tidy up your bedside area, dresser, and purse this week­end.

PRAC­TI­CAL TIPS FOR A SUC­CESS­FUL CLEANSE

Our three- day Clut­ter Cleanse is all about fo­cus. Fo­cus­ing on one messy spot a day breaks the de­clut­ter­ing process into doable steps. The next three days are about the per­sonal clut­ter you’re con­fronted with ev­ery day—your bedside area, your dresser, and your purse. Tack­ling th­ese spots first will yield the big­gest pay­off for your ef­forts.

Fol­low th­ese tips for mak­ing your three- day Clut­ter Cleanse a lifechang­ing suc­cess:

SCHED­ULE YOUR CLEANSE.

You make bet­ter de­ci­sions when you work un­in­ter­rupted, so block out 30 to 45 min­utes on your sched­ule for each of the next three days.

MIN­I­MIZE DIS­RUP­TIONS.

Let your fam­ily know ahead of time when you’ll be busy. A con­sis­tent daily de­clut­ter­ing time helps ev­ery­one. Try do­ing the cleanse be­fore your fam­ily wakes up or im­me­di­ately af­ter din­ner while the rest of your fam­ily cleans up.

BE PRE­PARED.

Dress in comfy clothes. Put on some mu­sic. Have a fa­vorite bev­er­age or snack close by.

GATHER YOUR SUP­PLIES.

You’ll need the fol­low­ing items at the ready for each cleanse ses­sion.

• Per­ma­nent mark­ers, in­dex cards or heavy stock pa­per, and clear pack­ing tape to make la­bels for boxes headed to do­na­tion cen­ters or piles as you sort

• Boxes and bags to hold sorted items; trash bags for items to be disposed of or do­nated

• Scis­sors or a util­ity knife

TOUCH ONCE; DE­CIDE ONCE.

The core de­clut­ter­ing de­ci­sion is to keep or to let go. Of­ten, sim­ply pick­ing up or touch­ing an item and ask­ing, “Should I keep this?” yields your an­swer. If you in­stantly know some­thing needs to stay (and you have space to store it) or go, fol­low your gut. No need to an­a­lyze fur­ther. How­ever, if you’re not sure, see “Four Clar­i­fy­ing Questions,” op­po­site.

KNOW FOUR FI­NAL OP­TIONS.

Don’t fret about what to do with stuff you’re not keep­ing. You have only four op­tions:

Sell it, give it away, do­nate it, or re­cy­cle/ dis­pose of it. La­bel four boxes or bags ac­cord­ingly and keep moving. See “What to Do Af­ter the Cleanse,” page 9, for de­tails.

WORK LIKE A MA­CHINE.

Go through any space you’re de­clut­ter­ing in a me­thod­i­cal fash­ion— left to right, high to low, front to back—what­ever makes sense for your project. Don’t jump around the space or try to be cre­ative or clever.

KEEP MOVING.

When you don’t quickly know whether to keep or get rid of an item, place it in a pile and keep work­ing through the room. Save the last 5 to 10 min­utes of the ses­sion to deal with your ques­tion­able items.

DO SIM­PLE TESTS FIRST.

Try on ar­ti­cles of cloth­ing. Op­er­ate tools and elec­tron­ics to see whether they work. Ver­ify that you have all the pieces of games, kits, and sets. Then move im­me­di­ately to de­cid­ing whether the item is a keeper.

DON’T TOUCH IF IT BOGS YOU DOWN.

If you’re de­clut­ter­ing items with emo­tional con­nec­tions (cloth­ing, col­lectibles, jew­elry), have a neu­tral per­son hold up the item and ask whether you want to keep it. With­out a phys­i­cal con­nec­tion to Grandma’s teacups or your high school grad­u­a­tion gown, you’ll be in a bet­ter state of mind to make quick, clear- headed de­ci­sions.

Clut­ter doesn’t stand a chance when you fol­low our no-fail, three-day plan for clear­ing the chaos in three messy per­sonal spots.

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