Get control of your clutter

So, the home is gorgeous, the yard is perfect but inside, your things cover every surface. Whether you’re setting up for an open house, or trying to get the packing done, the last thing you want is clutter complicating the process. Seems easy, right? But getting control of the mess can be harder than it sounds. 

You have plenty of choices: boxes, shelves, under-bench and table storage; so many that it can just make your job harder by creating more clutter. There are lots of television shows, DVDs and self-help books that purport to show you the best ways to organize your life. You don’t need to become the model of organization to get your home on the market, merely start with these few simple rules. 

The Rules

Getting control of your clutter can be overwhelming, but you can get through it. 

1. One Step at a Time: It looks like a huge job, but you’ll manage. Just do one part at a time. Start small, say, with the kids’ toys or a junk drawer and work your way through the room. Then move to the next room and repeat. Focus on just the part you’re working and don’t worry about the rest until you get there.

2. Keep Track of the Time: It’s easy to get caught up thinking about why everything is important or getting just the right setup on that bookshelf, but it’s important to keep yourself going. Limit yourself to short blocks of time, 1-2 hours, and complete a whole block before moving on. For example, start with your junk drawer (come on, everyone has one): get the entire thing sorted out, then move on. That could mean moving on to the next project, but you can also go back to your life. Unless you’ve left this to the very last minute, don’t think you need to get it all done in one day. You can reduce the stress substantially by spreading it out.

3. Give Yourself Enough Time: However long you think this job will take, double it. The doubling rule is a good standard for planning for two reasons: First, you won’t be disappointed if it takes longer than you initially thought and second, if you are lucky and get done early you’ll be extra excited!

4. Keep it Simple: Making your de-clutter plans too complicated only slows you down. Use the four box rule: Keep, Give, Discard, Save. The discard box is for anything too used, damaged or otherwise inappropriate for giving away or keeping. Anything from junk to trash goes here. The Keep box is just a temporary spot, use it for things that are staying in the same room, drawer, or shelf. This helps keep them out of the way while you finish sorting anything else. The Save box is similar to the keep box, except these things go in other rooms. Lastly, the give box: this can be things going to friends or family, and should also include anything you want to donate to charity. Charitable donations are a valuable tax break that can help offset some of your other expenses. 

Your clutter is your business, but it’s a good idea to ask your real estate professional about any specific staging needs to help show off your home to potential buyers so you can take care of those items first.

True Values at the Dollar Store

The wide variety you can find at the bargain dollar stores may be a treasure hunt or a total waste of your money. When it comes to choosing those items that are worth a quick trip to the store; experience is a good teacher. You could also ask your friends who shop at dollar stores what they have found to be of value. Pinterest and blogs often have dollar store ideas that will save you time and money also. 

Crafters Control Yourselves

To have a list when you arrive at the store can help cut down on the possible sticker shock when you check out and realize you put more than you intended in your cart. If you are making a craft project have the complete list of materials needed with the items you want to purchase from the dollar store highlighted in some way. This way if you run across something that isn’t highlighted, but the store happens to carry, you can grab it and save yourself an extra trip later. Items like glue sticks, poster board, markers, glitter, foam wreaths, silk flowers, and ribbon can all be great buys at the dollar store. 

Gift Baskets Galore

When you have those occasions that require a gift and a card the dollar store is a definite win-win place to shop. The teacher appreciation basket that you want to put together, but not spend the whole nest egg on, can be made with fun items from several departments within the store. For example, a small organizer bin filled with travel size facial tissue, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and pain reliever. You could add some tea bags of assorted flavors, mixed nuts, and a chocolate treat. Put this is in a large cello bag found and tie it up with a ribbon and as a final touch a thank you/appreciation card on the front. 

Frugal First Aid Kit

Putting together a first aid kit for your home or that care package for the young adult moving out on their own can be done within a short time frame. The dollar store carries first aid items in smaller packaging so you can put everything in a small container. Grab a bowl that has a snap-tight lid or a zipper pouch like a pencil box or bag. Fill the box or bag with band-aids, allergy relief, antacids, nail clippers, vinyl gloves, paper tape, and gauze. You may even find some items not mentioned that are useful additions to a life preparedness kit. 

Go check out one of your local dollar stores this week and see what you can find of value.