Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tips for Success 2.0

Today’s tips, as promised, are all quoted or paraphrased from Donna Smallin’s earlier book; Unclutter Your Home (Pownal, VT: Storey Publishing, 1999). This is a book that claims to have 700 tips and ideas, so there are lots to share…

1. Store the things you use most often in the most accessible location. This is true for placement in your house as well as for placement within a closet, cabinet or bookshelf. Store things where you use them.
2. When uncluttering a shelf, drawer, cupboard or closet, take everything out. If you pick and choose things, you will never make a dent. Clean the closet or shelf while it is empty including vacuuming the carpet and dusting all of the contents. Put like things together; get rid of stuff you don’t use, need or like; contain what is left and put it back. Time your projects to be able to complete each task and put everything away by the end of the session. (However, I have also read that leaving a project unfinished will help motivate you to continue and save you the time it will take to decide what to do.)
3. If you have a bag of stuff to discard, and it is not near garbage collection day, plan a trip to a dump or recycle center, otherwise you may be tempted to reconsider your decisions.
4. Repurpose containers you like, such as bowls, baskets and decorative boxes, to store items in plain sight. A basket can contain rolled towels on the floor of the bathroom near the shower or tub or a basket or decorative box can contain CDs on a shelf near your audio equipment. Keep a small bowl or tray in the places that things like keys or change accumulate. Decorative hat boxes, piled on top of a shelf, high dresser or even on the floor, make attractive storage containers for miscellaneous items like scarves, gloves, etc. or for individual craft projects.
5. Use your vertical space to the best advantage. Shelving units that don’t go to the ceiling waste the space above. If you do go up high to store things, keep a step stool close at hand.
6. Use the back of every door in every room, closet and cabinet. Use store bought racks that are made for this purpose to store shoes, books, pantry items, etc. At the very least, install a few clothes hooks.
7. Use a hanging shoe bag with clear pockets on the back of coat closet doors to store mittens, gloves, earmuffs and hats. You can also use a shoe bag in other closets to organize smaller items: in your clothes closet for hose, socks, scarves and accessories; on the back of the bathroom door or inside the linen closet to store miscellaneous toiletries and make-up or in the closet where you store cleaning supplies to put vacuum bags, sponges and brushes.
8. Hang a doorknob or wall-hanging basket or key hooks on or near the door you use most often to contain keys and outgoing mail.
9. Think of your refrigerator as a large cupboard. Designate specific shelves for specific things. Always keep leftovers in the same place in the refrigerator so that things won’t get hidden. Use storage bins for small items on the shelves and get racks that hang below the shelves for large soda bottles. Consider adding a turntable to make items at the back more accessible.
10. Keep a nylon bag hung on the back of the bedroom door in which to put clothes that need to be dry cleaned.

And one final word of encouragement from Donna Smallin’s book: In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Always do what you are afraid to do.” Tackle that clutter today!

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