Too much stuff? You’re not alone. Clutter counselors offer the following advice.
• Don’t try to unclutter your entire house at once. Start small, with a drawer or a shelf, then build up to problem areas (like the garage or the basement) once you’ve had some smaller successes.
• Take everything out of a drawer or closet and spread it out in front of you. You’ll eliminate more and organize more efficiently if you can see it all at once. (This also gives you a chance to clear out dust and run a damp rag over surfaces.)
• As you clear out, have four boxes or bags marked Keep, Give Away, Recycle and Hold for One Year. (The last one’s for items you don’t need or use but just can’t bear to part with yet. If you haven’t touched them in a year, their time has come.)
• Storage is key to containing clutter. Storage areas should make up at least 10 percent of your home’s total square footage and be strategically placed where needed.
• Keep clutter contained. Use baskets and bowls to collect mail, pens and pencils, loose change, and all the other odds and ends that collect on counters and tabletops.
• Spend 15 minutes a day cleaning up the detritus of daily life—before it becomes overwhelming.
• Get rid of two items every time you buy a new one.
• Allow only three items on each surface.
• Just say no to refrigerator magnets.They encourage clutter.
• Keep windowsills clear of knickknacks and potted plants.
—Source: The Wabi-Sabi House: The Japanese Art of Imperfection by Robyn Griggs Lawrence