I love this list of strategies for decluttering your home, from organization expert Donna Smallin. This was published in the January 2009 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. And I should add that the photo here is not my house!
1. Start with the easy stuff
Go room by room in search of trash. Recycle catalogs and magazines, shred old bills, bag clothing for charity.
2. Set small goals
Either pick one small area to tackle, like one drawer or shelf, or set a timer for 15 minutes and go to it.
3. Give everything a home–I love this one!
Clutter accumulates because items are homeless. Pick a home for an item and always return it there when you’re done using it. If there isn’t a good home for it, consider if you really need it.
4. Give yourself permission to let go
Fortunately, I’m not very sentimental about “stuff.” But if you are, imagine you only have 10 minutes to grab items before you evacuate your home. What is important to you?
5. Deal with clutter hot spots
If you can’t hide it, contain it. Get a shoe basket by the front door, hooks for jackets, a bowl for keys, etc.
6. Declutter daily
Establish a daily routine, or tackle one room each day of the week. Set periodic goals for purging clothes, toys, and other items your family outgrows.
7. Be a good gatekeeper
Remember, if it isn’t beautiful or functional, it has no place in your home. Before you bring new things home, ask if you really need it and where you’ll put it.