Fran's Tips: How to Go From Cluttered to Calm

No need to be overwhelmed at the idea of getting organized. Take advice from a life coach and follow 3 easy steps toward a clutter-free, calm home.

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This elaborate shelving system keeps the whole pantry visible, within easy reach and looking stylish.

I don't know about you but home is definitely where my heart is. I love my house. It's a sacred space that I protect with a vengeance. That's why I believe the most important question a homeowner should ask is: What do I want my space to feel like?

For me, it's calm. It's warmth. It's creativity. In many homes there's just too much clutter. And I'm not talking about hoarding clutter – just too much stuff in the wrong places. I don't know anyone who functions effectively in that kind of environment. Now, to be clear, I'm not recommending that you become compulsive. Not at all. But there are many places on the road to organization between cluttered and obsessive. Find the one that works best for you.

Some folks are wondering how they can keep their home from becoming a junkyard. Or maybe you just want it to be more organized. If either of these sounds like you, here are my iron-clad rules for creating a clutter-free home.

Home Rule #1: Everything Has Its Optimal Place
Newspapers don't belong on top of the refrigerator or on the floor by the front door. Earrings don't belong on the counter by the stove. Decide where things should go and start putting them there today.

Home Rule #2: Put Things in Their Place Immediately aka the Ice Cream Rule
If you walk into your house with a pint of ice cream, you don't leave it on the counter for an hour, do you? No. It goes in the freezer now, or you'll be sorry later. Apply the "ice cream rule” to everything in your house and life. Doing so will minimize the likelihood of creating a cluttered living space.

Home Rule #3: Alert the Troops
Make sure everyone in the house knows about the new organization system so that your hard work and commitment aren't in vain. It may take a while for the new system to catch on but don't worry. When people see how much smoother things are at home, they'll jump on board.

Getting your home organized isn't a one-time project. It's likely to be an ongoing process. Start today with a small goal like cleaning out the "everything drawer" (everyone's got one!) and then work your way up to the bigger projects. Have fun!

For more on Fran, visit www.FranHarris.com.

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