Drowning in CLUTTER? 5 Easy ways you can reduce the stress and tame the unruly

"Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest." Marie Kondo

I am a purger. Every season I go through my clothes and around my apartment and donate or rid myself of the items I don't need, want or love any more. Usually it's a few trash bags worth and I feel immediately lighter and brighter. I know I got this habit from my mom who can't stand clutter and would often throw away all perceived "junk"--even if it was my homework. I find myself to be a bit more discerning, and I bring this keen skill to my clients to help free themselves of the shadows of the person they no longer are.

By taming the clutter and removing the no longer purposeful from your home, you are creating an opportunity for you to breathe and rest easier, and make way for the you you are today!

There's no better time to do a great purge--with the holidays around the corner, you will free up the space to have better clarity and stress free spaces. Before getting started with any of these tips, get present. Haven't heard this term before? Here's my quick go to: close your eyes, craft an intention (like "I am honest in releasing the things I no longer need"), repeat the intention while taking a few deep breaths. This will help you clear your mind and focus. I know you got this!

1. Free up The Chair

My guess is there's a chair in your house that isn't being used for it's intended purpose. Mounds of discarded jeans, sweaters and coats on that seat make the room stressful. Take 5 minutes to hang up the clean items, separate the dry cleaning out and put it by your front door to drop off in the morning, and put the rest in the laundry. Then, sit in that chair and enjoy the respite. 

2. Pick ONE closet

Pick ONE closet that is either the most onerous or the one that you feel least intimidated by.  This time of year is great to tackle a entry way closet or your bedroom. Many homeless shelters like DESC or Sleep Country will take new and gently used coats for adults and kids in need. This is the season where a warm coat makes a BIG difference, and you can help!

Bring your hamper and two trash bags: one for giveaway and one for trash. Go through each item stashed on a hanger and if it hasn't been used in more than a year or you no longer enjoy wearing it: GIVE IT AWAY! If it's embarrassingly warn, recycle it. Some organizations will take "singles" of items like a sock with no mate, or even those that are damaged from wear.

Get it out of your house and give it to someone who can use it. It's the season of giving. 

After you're done, hang everything up, then repeat the process for the old shoes and boots on the floor. Trust me: this exercise is POWERFUL. Get ready to breathe a lot easier the next time you open that door.

3. Clean out the kitchen tool drawer

This is a fast exercise. Round up duplicate tools. Test them all, keep the one that works best, then donate or toss the rest. With all of my no longer needed kitchen tools, I donate them to an organization like YouthCare. This organization helps homeless teens get into apartments of their own and these young adults desperately need the basics.

Extra Credit: move the rarely used utensils like the melon baller or turkey baster to a bin on a high shelf or put them neatly into a container of your liking on the counter. 

4. Make yourself a "Go Back" bin

Identify the area that accumulates the most items that are in-between. In-between bringing them into the home, and where these items are supposed to live. This is also a free pass area: you can't always have everything in it's place. But you can eliminate a lot of the noise by giving it a designated space. Place a large, attractive basket (my personal fave) in an obvious place where you can quickly tidy up the toys, a lose sweatshirt when you don't have the time (or want to) put the items in their proper place.

Pick one day a week where you can take 20 minutes to properly stow these items in their places and empty the basket.

5. Identify the "Empties"

This final exercise is for the pantry, fridge, or bathroom vanity. Bring a trash bag. Go through all the items that are broken or half empty of products you're not using and throw them out. Be merciless!  This is where I use the rule: if you haven't touched it in more than 3 months or you don't like it (smell/taste--yes, even if it was a gift!), GET RID OF IT! Throw it out. My guess is you'll rid yourself of at least 30% of the clutter in these areas. 

Once you get through one or more of these EASY steps, you'll be pleasantly motivated to tackle more areas. Give yourself permission to let go of the old. Someone is waiting to use what you donate. And you're ready to give yourself some tangible evidence of freedom.


I always offer complimentary consults! If you have problem areas, let's discuss how to get started.