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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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« Ask the Expert: Lorie Marrero | Why De-Clutter? »

7 Tips for Reducing Clutter

Our oldest daughter just graduated from college. As we returned from our trip, it occurred to me that an integral part of any transition be it graduation or otherwise, often involves clutter reduction and management. Since clutter can become overwhelming, perhaps you’ll find some of these tips useful.


1. Clear Slate

 Return things to square one. That might include putting away the dishes, clearing off your desk, or placing dirty clothes in the laundry basket. This will help to maintain clutter and promote mental clarity as you begin your day. When returning from our trip, it felt great to come home to a clutter-free space.


2. Think Less

 How much is enough? The less stuff you have, the easier it will be to manage and maintain. While away, I was amazed by how many things I didn’t need.  I only packed a small portion of my belongings of which not all were used. Remember the 80/20 rule. In general, we only wear 20% of the clothes we own. We only reference 20% of the papers we file.


3. Complete Cycle

 Develop an awareness of what you are doing. If you have just entered the house with groceries or purchases in hand, take time to put them away. The few minutes spent doing this minimizes clutter that might otherwise collect in hallways, corners and on floors.


4. Create Homes

 When things have no place to go, they start to gather in piles. Establishing a place to put your things helps reduce clutter. Make sure that what you keep is “home worthy.” Is it useful? Do you love it? Does it fit? Do you need so many? Is it time to let go? Ask the questions before putting things away.


5. Pass On

 What if the clutter represents things no longer wanted? Do I really want to keep my marble collection or pants that no longer fit? Is it time to reroute them? There are many people that would appreciate them. Can you donate to a local charity or give to family or friends? Many charities will pick-up clothing, linens, furniture and household items. Especially during transitions, we may find that our things “no longer fit” who we are or where we are headed. This can be a clutter reducing motivator.


6. Use Minutes

 Clutter management doesn’t have to involve hours of time. Doing periodic ten minute sessions can be less overwhelming. Unpacking from our trip included clearing out my travel folder. Some items were filed and others were recycled. I used additional minutes to look through the four-year old college folders and clear out papers that are now irrelevant.


7. Purchase Consciously

Before you buy, think about not only whether you need it, but also where you will store it. Factoring this aspect into purchasing habits will prevent clutter from entering your home.

How do you reduce clutter? 





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Reader Comments (9)

Congratulations, Linda - she's lucky to have you for guidance during her transition.

May 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSue Becker

Hi Sue- Thanks so much. It's a dramatic time of transition, especially for all the college graduates. It's quite the change from being in school for most of their lives to being "out." It's a time for finding their way, creating new patterns, and being open to making or seeking out new opportunities.

Congratulations to you too. Didn't your son just graduate?

May 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Thanks, Linda. Yes, Andy just graduated so there's definitely transition happening in our household as well.

May 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSue Becker

Sue- "Transition" seems to be the word of the season. Wishing you all the best as you and the family navigate the waters. And again, congratulations to Andy!

May 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Thanks so much, Linda!

May 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSue Becker

What a great article on keeping the clutter tamed and away! It can be so easy to just drop everything down and wait for a "little later" (am guilty of that!) until the the clutter screams at me and I can't even look at it anymore, but then now, I have 30 min of work instead of 5 minutes of quick clean up!

May 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHelena Alkhas

Hi Helena- Yes. I know what you mean about postponing, which then accumulates to something larger. It's definitely a habit change to bring a different perspective or awareness. And frankly, it's not always possible to "just do it now." But when we can, it's one of the ways of keeping that clutter from accumulating. Always appreciate hearing your voice. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

May 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

These are all very effective tips in reducing clutter in our homes and offices. A lot of people will surely find these information as effective in keeping our households and work spaces organized. Thanks for sharing.

June 29, 2012 | Unregistered Commentershredding San Antonio

Thanks so much for joining the conversation, Shredding San Antonio! The work you do is another way to keep clutter at bay. Shredding is an integral part to paper management and safe disposal. Some of my clients enjoy shredding so much, that we use it as built in reward. Sort some papers and then take short break for shredding. For massive amounts of papers that need to be shredded, we have to call in service providers like yours to handle it. The small, office size shredders just can't manage the volume.

June 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

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