Cut the clutter: Organize your home

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I'm putting my house on a diet! Tired of all the stuff I rarely, if ever use, tired of not being able to find anything and I'm especially tired of simply having too many things!

Linda Davis -- Get organized

Cut the clutter: Organize your home - I'm putting my house on a diet! Tired of all the stuff I rarely, if ever use, tired of not being able to find anything and I'm especially tired of simply having too many things!

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So, it's diet time!

But, if you're a clutter collector, like me, you'll need some professional help to at least learn some strategies. So, I called in the pro, Arizona's Mom, Gail Taranto (yes, Lisa Haffner's Mom!)

Gail does this for a living. She organizes people's lives and has no qualms about telling you that you simply don't need 6 packages of Q-Tips.

And in defense of myself, I'm not that messy, I can just come up with a viable reason to keep anything. But the result is packed closets and cupboards.

The Psychology of our

And, that excuse that I just wrote is exactly where we need to start - the psychology of clutter. We all have to face the excuses to keep something. And that's where a pro like Gail, or a really good friend or relative can really help. You need someone to help you be ruthless and to not accept any of the following excuses:

I'm going to use it someday. It reminds me of _____ or when I ________. I'm going to lose that baby weight and wear it again (especially if your child is 22). They just don't make them like that anymore. It was such a good deal.

Sound familiar? You can probably think of more than this.

All right. No excuses. You're ready to go.

Get Ready to Sort

Remember your goal is to get rid of anything that you don't use and love. So, first assemble boxes, or barrels or any type of container. Gail even puts done a sheet on a bed and simply makes piles. Consider these piles - keep, mend or fix, donate, sell, give to a friend, etc. As you touch something, decide, then and there, whether to keep it or not. And again, be ruthless!

Gail had a great idea when it comes to beauty products. She said to take them all out - all of the hair, face and body products you have - and put them on a table. Now, separate the ones that you really use regularly. Then, add up the approximate cost of the ones that you don't really use. You'll be shocked at how much money was wasted. I liked this idea, because it puts an immediate dollar figure to our clutter. Ouch!

Clothing and Laundry If your kids are like mine, I always found piles of clothes and the same excuses - "I hate to fold clothes," "I was looking for my favorite shirt in my drawer" and the ever favorite, "I couldn't find the hamper."

So, once again, Gail to the rescue. She had a great plan for kids and laundry. First, she says to teach the kids to do their own laundry. I love this advice; I waited way too long to do this. Then, of course, give children their own laundry hamper in their room. Make them different colors to avoid the confusion excuse! Then, buy a bunch of cheap hangers and some sort of rod for your laundry room. My laundry room is tiny so I used an over the door hanging rod. Now, teach the kids to take all their laundry out of the dryer a little damp and hang everything immediately. Let it all dry completely, and then it's their job to take their clothes directly to their closet. This eliminates the piles of clean clothes on the bed, never to be folded. It also clears up the dresser drawers for underwear, belts, socks, etc. I tried this a while ago with my son, hanging everything and it makes a world of difference.

One Last Clutter Buster

Maybe not considered true clutter, but my freezer holds mysteries that also represent a lot of money. So, I found this one last tip. Most of us will label what we put into our freezer, but then it ends up buried and forgotten. I seem to work off the top of the stacks. Here's a solution. Just grab a piece of paper and keep a pen handy. Now write freezer on it and put it near your appliance. As you put anything into the freezer for storage, add it to the list with the month that it went in. This will keep a running list of what you actually have and how old it is. It works!

My house is feeling thinner already. And, a pro like Gail will tell you that life becomes easier and well, lighter! Tackle one closet at a time. You'll love the difference.

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