Rules #4 and 5: Holiday Decluttering Challenge

These two rules are easy to state, but slightly more difficult implement. It’s a battle of the wills…the will to be lazy and the will to be organized! But take heart, once you set yourself a rule like this next one, you’ll be maintaining a clutter free home from here on out.

Rule #4

Handle Some Things Once.

This rule is necessary because of the excuse “for now.” For example, ” I will put this jacket here for now,” or “I will put this stack of papers here for now.” This phrase should be forbidden to a known clutterer. Once you say “for now,” you are determining that you will be handling that item more than once, and it’s more than likely that those stacks of papers will stay piled up for ages. It’s ok, we know. We’ve all been there. But now is the time to change that habit. For example, when you get the mail, don’t just sort through it until you find something interesting, and then toss the rest onto the nearest flat surface. Instead, get the mail, stand over the trash can, and toss out all that junk mail. Open up the important stuff and toss the envelopes then and there. Put bills in the “Bills” file of your filing cabinet. Put interesting catalogs where you’ll read them, then put them with the recycling as soon as you are done reading. Whenever the temptation to say “for now” arises, just remember, handle things once.

Rule #5

Recycle It.

We’re not talking about just paper, aluminum, plastic and glass, although that’s a good way to get into the habit of putting certain things in certain places. Many people have a tough time parting with containers, especially glass containers. We’re talking empty mayonnaise jars, pickle jars, peanut butter jars, even plastic Cool Whip containers…all of it. Just recycle them. You don’t need these disposable containers. What else can be recycled, you ask? Clothes that don’t fit, including shoes and old sweaters in the back of your closet. Books on an overflowing bookshelf can be sold to a used book store or donated to a school library. Magazines can be given to a school, hospital or nursing home. Other items can be donated to a charity or sold to a consignment store such as old towels, unused linens, baby clothes, diapers, ties belts, purses, wallets, plants, bikes…you get the picture. Almost anything in your house can become someone else’s treasure. Recycle it.

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