Clutter Control: Simple Ways to Figure Out What To Keep and What To Toss

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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 figuring out what to keep and what to toss.

Clutter Control Rule #2: Use it or Lose it.

This rule is particularly helpful when you are attempting to implement Rule #1 and are getting rid of some of your stuff. How do you decide what to keep and what to toss? Sensible advice for this rule is if you're not using something, get rid of it. This does not allow you to plan on using it tomorrow. How does the song go? "Manana never comes."

Future time is especially not a factor in this rule. "Use it" refers to the here and now. This doesn't mean some time in the future. You don't have to use something every day, but you can't use the excuse that it "might come in handy after the [insert event here]." For example, if you haven't made any strawberry preserves since 1962, despite your strong conviction that you will do so again next year, you can safely give away your mason jars and lids.

There is a twist to applying this rule that's very helpful to parents trying to teach children about clutter. You might phrase the rule: "Put it away or lose it." We received a letter from a woman who told us how well this version of the rule worked for her. She cleaned every Saturday morning and just threw out anything left in her way! It didn't matter if it was clothes, toys, or food. Out it went. No bluffing. A particularly brief period of time elapsed before the house was completely picked up by early Saturday morning. Hard to argue with success.

According to our mail, the biggest roadblock many people had in implementing our first book, Speed Cleaning, in their home was that the house was too cluttered for them to even start. Rule #2 is a solution to that problem and more. You reduce clutter, and you make housecleaning that much easier.

When it comes to clutter in your home, how do you decide to what to keep and what to toss/give away?

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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