Skills for a Well-Run Home

Learn the basic methods to stop clutter and retrain the family to a new, uncluttered outlook.

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Sort

Turning to the day’s chosen clutter cache (the area around the telephone, for example) take the first step and sort the items being decluttered. Quickly move through the pile of clutter that surrounds the phone, making a quick decision about each item: should I keep this here, put it away, sell it, or throw it away?

If the item belongs in the area being decluttered, sort it into a pile of like items: pens with pens, paper clips with paper clips and notepads with sticky notes. If the item is an intruder that must be put away in another location, such as a pair of socks, consign it sort to the Put Away box. Surplus items that can be donated to charity or sold are tossed into the Sell/Donate box, the proper place for the plastic flower pen and the clunky grocery list holder. Items that more appropriately belong in household storage areas, such as light bulbs left over from December’s holiday decorations, are tucked into the Storage box.

Put Away Loose CDsEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - House Works © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Toss

As you sort, toss trash straight into the garbage bag. Expired coupons, supermarket receipts, scribbled bits of paper, nonworking pens all go straight into the garbage bag.

Trash Can is Must When DeclutteringEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - House Works © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Organize

When the entire area has been sorted and the trash tossed, it’s time to organize. Take a good look at the newly decluttered area, and find ways to organize the items that belong there. Corral pens next to the phone in a pretty coffee mug. Place the phone book neatly beneath the phone base. Consider ways to organize the area for best use; can you replace messy message slips with a hanging write-on/wipe-off white board?

Desk Organization with Boxes and CanistersEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - House Works © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Excerpted from Houseworks, by Cynthia Townley Ewer

Text Copyright © 2006, 2010, Cynthia Townley Ewer, extracts from Houseworks, reproduced with permission from Dorling Kindersley Limited

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