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December 2012

Clear the Clutter From Your Home

With the approach of a new year, now is a great time to organize your home.

Clear the Clutter From Your Home

Everyone has something that's taking up space: the exercise equipment that now functions as a clothes hanger, old magazines that will be read "someday" or clothes that no longer fit or are in style. Often what happens is so much stuff is accumulated that you don't know where to start organizing, and so the clutter remains. It can actually become depressing to some and overwhelming and frustrating to others. There's no reason to be surrounded by things that you don't use, need or even like: everything you own should have value, either because it's functional or simply that you enjoy it. Here are some tips on how to cut the clutter and get your home in shape.

Everything in its place and a place for everything

Change your habits so that you begin to consistently pick up and properly store things that are out of place. The concept is simple: every time you use something, put it back. This change in habit may take a while to develop, but will be very rewarding if you stick with it. You may even notice your family following your lead. Most of all, you'll notice a dramatic reduction in clutter.

The next step is to take account of the items in your home. Items that are used infrequently should be stored away. If it is something that is rarely used, it's time to sell. Creating a storage area for an item creates more space in your home, and you'll have the added benefit of knowing exactly where something is the next time you need it.

Addition by subtraction

This is a great way to unclutter your home while potentially making a little extra money at the same time. To get started, have family members collect items they no longer use or need to put up for sale. Sort the items into 4 piles: Keep, Toss, Sell and Donate. Once this is accomplished, post the for sale items on web sites such as craigslist.org, gazelle.com or kijiji.com.

For the items to donate, go to ScheduleaPickUp.com for information, where you can find charities seeking donations. You can also receive tax credits for these donations. To see how much you can deduct, go to goodwill.org and click on "Claim Your Deductions" and then "Valuation Guide for Material Donations."

Get paperwork under control

A great way to get your paperwork under control is to sign up for paperless delivery when it is available. Most companies offer this option. You'll save time and money not having to write checks and pay for postage. You'll have all of your records in one location for easy retrieval as well. Log in to your 21st Century Insurance account and register for Paperless Delivery if you haven't already done so. You'll be glad you did.

If You Don't Use It, Lose It

With any item, if it is broken or you no longer have a use for it, get rid of it. If something's broken and it's not important to get it fixed immediately, you don't need it. For example, is there a piece of exercise equipment you intended to use, gave up on or never even got around to using? It's better to sell it rather than to keep a constant reminder of your shortcoming. It's a situation all of us deal with at one time or another: face it, sell or toss the item(s) and move on.

Stop It Before It Starts

So, the next time you are about to buy something, think it through. Do you really need it? Will it get used, or just sit after the initial honeymoon phase is over? By looking at purchases more objectively, you'll not only save yourself some clutter and stress at home, but your wallet will thank you too.

If you are having trouble getting started, working with someone else can keep you focused, especially if that person is good with organization. Chances are that the end result will be you'll feel more relaxed, better about yourself and your organized home.

Sources: unclutterer.com; diynetwork.com; squidoo.com; forsalebyowner.com;

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