Getting Rid of Junk: Spring Cleaning

Some of us want a place for everything.

“Clean Sweep” is a t.v. show that helps in making at least one resolution stick – getting organized.

Want to get the most out of your home in 2006? Decluttering is the key says Peter Walsh, the professional organizer featured on the TLC series.

“The only reason to get organized is to live a less stressful, more peaceful life,” Walsh said in a recent interview. “My philosophy is new year, new you.”

Walsh said in an article that a well-ordered home also makes it easier to entertain and socialize.

He suggests starting with two garbage bags and ten minutes a day.

I wound up getting rid of about ten bags over a few weeks time and taking about an hour a day.

“Fill one bag with trash and the other with stuff you want to give away,” Walsh said in the article.

Walsh, who is also the author of How To Organize Just About Everything, suggests tackling projects in manageable chunks according to the book.

For instance, in the kitchen you work around what’s called “the magic triangle” bounded by the sink, refrigerator, and oven, said Walsh.

You can frame some of those overflowing pictures on the fridge like I did, making things less cluttered.

You claim vertical space by expanding the available space in your cabinets by using a lazy-Susan, mini step shelves, and racks, and “back of the door” shelving systems to hold extra items, something I see a lot in my pet and house sitting ventures.

You can create more counter space by designating a cupboard as an “appliance garage” where items like toaster ovens and blenders can be stored, says Diana McKeon Charkalis, a writer.

In the bedroom you test the 80/20 rule by observing the fact that we wear 20 percent of our clothes 80 percent of the time, according to Walsh.

“Your mom was right when she told you to make your bed every day,” said Charkalis. “You can keep shoes in shape by hanging cubby bags or shoe racks which capitalize on vertical closet space.”

If you have a home office you can organize your monthly receipts by using an inexpensive 12-month accordion folder to quickly and easily organize paid bills. You can clear excess books and magazines by doing this: for every four books you keep, discard by selling one or give one away.

You can get rid of junk mail by keeping this in mind: The average American spends eight months of his or her life going through junk mail, says Walsh.

In the kids’ playroom store items according to age, avoid using large boxes, and set toy limits, Walsh suggests.

In the garage get items off the floor and use the heads up philosophy by consider using the ceiling for storage.

Label clearly seasonal items such as holiday decorations as well as other items that may stay there for medium-to-longer-range storage.

Walsh suggests making space maintains sanity and that you purge first by getting rid of stuff you don’t love, need or use, keeping flat surfaces clear, and creating zones where everything has a place in the house where it lives.

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