Tom Vesolich
RE/MAX Executives
8442 Old Keene Mill Rd
Springfield,  VA 22152
"each office
independently owned"

 Keeping Your Home Clutter Free

As a homeowner you may have noticed how hard it is to deal with the #1 enemy—the monster that lurks under every bed and in every closet—CLUTTER! Nothing will interfere with your enjoyment of your home as much as disorganization and clutter.

After you moved in and got organized your closets probably looked pretty orderly and your garage actually had room for the cars. But this blissful scenario most likely didn't last beyond the first year. Take a firm stand right now against the clutter monster! And heaven help you if you committed the act of mindlessly boxing up your clutter to bring it with you to the next house!!!!

Let’s look at some ways to prevent the clutter in the first place. You can call this your Homeowners’ Declaration of Independence.
  1. Garage sales are events you stage, not events you attend. Unless you are a professional junk or antique dealer, there is no reason for you to ever attend a garage sale. Think of them as the entry level drugs offered by the clutter “drug lord” to get you hooked.
  2. Discover the joys of borrowing. Let’s be honest. There are some things you might only use two or three times a year (fondue set, espresso maker, sewing machine, Super Dooper Foot Spa, etc.). You don’t need to buy these things! Your friends will be happy to dig them out from under their beds to loan them to you upon request.
  3. Throw away those full-color store ad inserts in your newspaper and the mailbox—do not browse them first. I’m talking about the good ones from Walmart, Kmart, Target, Kohls, etc. Those ads exist for one reason only — to make you think you need more stuff. I know, you think you are just window shopping, but that is the first step to buying a juicer with 10 attachments, a second George Foreman Grill, or a desktop fountain like the one in your attic.
  4. Treat Ebay (and other internet shopping sites) like disaster sites—steer clear of them. You will not escape unscathed. Clutter will leap onto your shopping cart of its own volition!
  5. Finally, if you absolutely must buy something, do it only to replace something you already have. It’s OK to replace your grill, the refrigerator, your coffee table—just don’t multiply them!
Try this exercise to begin the battle against clutter: We define clutter as anything that is out of place, broken, unused or just something you really dislike. Start in one small place (a closet or junk drawer will do nicely) and put things in order!

First, you will need 4 cardboard boxes and a large trash can. Label the boxes as follows:
                                             * Put away     * Fix     * Set Free     * Mementos

Set an alarm clock to go off in 1-2 hours. You don’t want to overdo things! Open the closet or junk drawer and select the first object. Now we will use the four definitions of clutter to help us decide which receptacle to use for each item.

* The trash can. You will find plenty of stuff that is absolutely unusable. Be ruthless.

* The “Put Away” box. Anything goes in here that is out of place and would be better off in a more convenient location. As soon as the alarm clock goes off you will take 10 minutes or so to put all the items in this box where they really belong.

* The “Fix” box. If the item is damaged or missing a part, but you are certain you would use it regularly if repaired, put it in this box. Objects can only reside in the fix box for one week before they have to change residence! If you do not repair the item by week’s end it must go into the “Set Free” box. * The “Set Free” box. This box will hold items that you dislike, things you haven’t used in more than a year, orphaned gifts from friends and family (when you said, “Oh, you really shouldn’t have!”), things that still have some good use in them, things that will surely fit again “someday.” This box will go in the trunk of the car. You will take the box to a local resale store or to a charity center. Many charities will even pick up this stuff at your front door—what convenience! You will be doing a good thing, since someone will be getting some good out of these items right now.

* The “Mementos” box. This one can be a bit tricky. It’s for things that have true sentimental or family heirloom value. You will want to invest in a cedar chest or other similar sized permanent storage unit. The items from this box will go into that permanent storage. But remember, that cedar heirloom chest will fill up rapidly if you are too casual about “what’s an heirloom.” Consider passing on some of these things to extended family members right now—don’t wait 20 years!

Now you are one closet closer to having a serene, uncluttered home! Next week use this same process and tackle another corner of the house!