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Unless you're a compulsive neat freak, clutter will inevitably take hold of your living area in some way, shape or form.  If you're not careful, clutter can overtake your home.  Having clutter around is also a ‘spiral out of control' situation, as clutter builds quickly once you allow it to take hold.

If you have too much clutter, follow these eight steps to get a handle on your clutter, and re-claim your space!

  1. Make a list – Before you even tackle a de-cluttering project, go around and make a list of areas that have too much clutter.  Rank your top five ‘most cluttered' spots and be specific (don't just say ‘basement' but put ‘basement shelves')
  2. Tackle any item except the first one – Don't start with your most cluttered spot.  Start with #3 or #4 on your list instead.  This will help reduce the chance of being overwhelmed.
  3. Clear out everything from your cluttered spot – If your spot is a closet, remove everything.  If it's a shelf, take everything off.  If it's a drawer, empty it out.  Starting with a clean slate will work much more effectively than trying to re-organize within an already cluttered spot.
  4. Divide into two piles: Keep.  Don't Keep.
  5. Re-sort your ‘Keep' items  – Put items that go back in the previous spot away in an organized fashion.  Move anything that should go somewhere else, putting it in it's rightful spot.
  6. Deal with the ‘No Keep' items immediately –  Throw junk away.  Recycle what you can.  If you are keeping anything for a donation or garage sale, put it in the spot for these items right away.  Whatever you do, don't leave a pile of stuff to be dealt with later, otherwise you've accomplished nothing.
  7. Take a mental snapshot of what the newly cleaned spot looks like –  In the future, you'll have to make a conscious effort to keep that area free of clutter. Spend a few minutes looking at it to take pride in what you've just done and so that your mental image is a clutter free spot.
  8. Go back and tackle another item on your list – Now that you've got the process down and have seen results, you can tackle an even more cluttered spot.  Eventually the clutter will disappear and you can take back areas that you've lost.

Don't wait until tomorrow.  Get started on your de-cluttering today.  It will help in so many ways!