Clutter Control: Test Items Before Displaying in Your House

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Clutter Control—As part of this clutter control series, we’ll be discussing ways to free yourself from a cluttered home and uncover simple organization tips that you can follow to live in a more organized and functional home. Today’s rule is all about having the display items in your house pass a test.

Clutter Control Rule #10: Items displayed in the house have to pass a test.

This seems only fair. After all, you have only so much space. The items taking up that space should justify themselves. The test is not complicated. They just have to have a valid reason for being there. The reason can involve function or form. But it doesn't pass just because someone put it there "for now" five years ago and it's never been moved since, or because someone gave it to you who might notice if it's gone, or because you don't know where else to put it.

Here are some example tests you can use when going through your clutter:

  1. Have I worn this item of clothing the past year? If the answer is no, put it in a box to drop off at a local charity, perhaps a women's shelter.
  2. Have I used this 5-in-1 egg slicer in the past year? If it's still in the box with a "happy wedding day" note, and you've been married for 8 years, the answer is no. Get rid of it. That will teach you a lesson on going scan crazy at Bed Bath and Beyond.
  3. Does this sock have a partner? If the answer is no, throw the sock away. Don't keep thinking your dryer will spit out the sock that it magically ate 3 months ago.

If you really want to get serious about de-cluttering your home, you can use this test: Would I grab this item if my house were on fire?

Personally, I subscribe to three different magazines that are mailed out on a monthly basis. I like them because they have really great recipes. Instead of keeping the magazines and allowing them to take up space until I'm ready to find a recipe, I rip out the recipes that I like as I flip through the magazine. Once I'm done flipping through the magazine, I file my favorite recipes in page protectors, put them in my homemade recipe binder, and recycle the rest of the magazine. Doing this allows me to avoid the "have you picked up this magazine in a year?" test. For a step-by-step process on this tip, please be sure to check out this How To on How To Organize Food Magazine Recipes.

Bottom line is, think of a reasonable test for your clutter and implement it.

How do you test items before displaying them in your home? What types of items pass the test and what items don't pass the test?

To follow along in this series, please be sure to check out the previous clutter control tips and tricks:

Debbie Sardone Debbie Sardone is the founder of Cleaning For a Reason which provides free cleaning services to women who are touched by cancer.  She also owns a Dallas cleaning service.

Her long-time passion for teaching cleaning and organizational has lead her to continue the legacy of Speed Cleaning and the use of green cleaning products.

She can be followed as @DebbieSardone on Twitter.

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