Reducing Clutter for Small Spaces

Whether it’s a small closet or a tight space, there are specific steps to take to become better organized. The first step is to purge unnecessary items.

Get Organized – Sort the Stuff!

First, make three piles and label them “keep,” “maybe” and “get rid of.” Begin to sort items into these piles quickly. Take only a second to think about where the item should go and put it into the appropriate pile. The key is to do this quickly before there is time to attach guilt, or ‘what if’ scenarios to the item. Once the piles have been made, they can always be reevaluated before further action is taken. However, trust the first instinct about the item, try not to go back and obsess about throwing it out. Make the decision quickly and stick with it.

As items are sorted, are the “keep” and “maybe” piles are growing and the “get rid of” pile comparatively small? If this is becoming the case, evaluate these piles regarding the following questions.

Learning to let go of obsolete unusable items is the key to de-clutteringSorting Questions

Who did this item come from? Is it an heirloom from Great Aunt Mindy? If it is something that is not being used but should not be thrown away, poll family members to see if someone else has a use for it.

Has technology deemed this item obsolete? (Hello, DVD players!) If it is not getting used now, chances are it is not going to get used in the future. DVDs are over! Why store DVDs when everything can be live-streamed over iTunes or Netflix?

When was the item last used? If it has been over a year since it has been dragged out of its hiding place, get rid of it. It is not worth keeping “just in case.” If it has been in an attic or a basement and has not seen the light of day for a while, be reasonably assured that it will not be missed.

Get Rid of All That Stuff

Is it broken, worn out or not in style? A hot pink tube shirt, even if it’s in perfect condition, is unnecessary if not worn on a regular basis. The same goes for clothes that don’t fit right now. The reality of the matter is when the clothes finally do fit, isn’t it more exciting to buy something new?

Donate to a Good Cause

If there are things that are new or still have a lot of use in left in them, try to think about who would be able to use it. Can it be donated to goodwill? Can it be donated to a co-worker or friend?

There are sites that specialize in making use of things that are still in good condition. For example, Project Night Night collects stuffed animals and other items for homeless children. Those stuffed animals that are just sitting in a box in the attic can brighten a needy child’s day.

Less is More

Purging can be hard, especially for the sentimental. “But it was from mom…” However, Mom understands that what may have been used at age 5, does not have a use at age 25. Often guilt about getting rid of a present is unrealistic.

Think logically about unnecessary things. Try to remember that pictures, mementos, and other cherished items contain memories of a particular person or time in life. Letting go of an object is not letting go of the memory.

Home organization will be simple once there is less to organize. Getting rid of extraneous items is an essential step to simplifying and de-cluttering a small space.