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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Put Away

When the timer rings, or the area is cleared, it’s time to put away any out-of-place items identified during the STOP clutter session. Take the Put Away box and circle the house, returning items to their proper places. Toss the garbage bag into the garbage can, and return the timer and boxes to a closet or shelf, where they’ll await the next STOP clutter session. As the storage boxes fill, add them to a storage area and begin a new box. Decide when you’ll attack the household’s next clutter magnet and note it on your calender. Finally, admire your new, organized telephone area. Using the STOP clutter method, you’ve created a working center for phone calls and messages.

Put Away Items in Their Proper PlaceEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - House Works © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

STOP Clutter: The Junk Drawer

All homes have at least one of these: a drawer for small, often-needed items. The contents of this catchall arena seem to expand like bread dough, multiplying at will whenever the drawer is closed. When the mess reaches the rim of the drawer, it’s time to STOP clutter.

1.Sort. (image 1) Assemble your tools: timer, boxes and garbage bag. Set the timer for 15 minutes. Open the junk drawer, and begin the sort step. Sort items that belong in the drawer into like piles, and keep sorting until the timer’s bell rings or the drawer is cleared.

2.Toss. (image 2) Throw any trash, broken or valueless items into the garbage bag. Place items that belong elsewhere in the Put Away box, and tuck any items for storage in the Storage box. Surplus items that are still useful go to Sell/Donate.

3.Organize. (image 3) Once the drawer is empty, organize the survivors in the cleared space. Use drawer dividers to separate batteries from postage stamps, pens from store coupons. Bundle or bag small items to make them easy to find.

4.Put Away. (image 4) When the timer bell rings, stop the session and put away the items in the Put Away box. Store the timer and boxes for the next STOP clutter session. Toss the garbage bag in the trash.

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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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