STORAGE DOCTOR: CLUTTER CLEANSE
BEDSIDE • DRESSER • PURSE
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.
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.
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.
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.