Peter Walsh: 10 Keys to Organizing Your Home

Start Slowly
It's taken months for your house to become cluttered so it's not realistic to try and organize everything in one day or even a weekend. Instead, start small -- one room or section of a room at a time. Make a commitment every day to declutter another part of your home until it's done. A simple trick to get you started is to use the Trash Bag Tango technique. Every day walk around your home and in 10 minutes fill one bag with trash and one bag with items that you want out of your house -- send them to Goodwill or set aside for a yard sale. Do this everyday for a month and the change will be dramatic!
Find a De-Cluttering Buddy
An honest friend will help you put things in perspective and help you part with that neon jumpsuit from 1982. It's tough to declutter alone, and working with your significant other can be way too emotional. Using that objective third party will take a lot of the sting out of decluttering and extra hands always make for lighter work.
Hold a Neighborhood Garage Sale!
Turn trash into cash by selling the items you no longer need in your home. A neighborhood yard sale may be even a better idea -- more families mean more advertising and more business. Consider donating the funds to a local charity.
Use the Ratio Rule
If you're overwhelmed by lots of books, or clothes or shoes or anything that you have a lot of, try this simple technique to make decluttering feel not too overwhelming. For every four items you keep, discard one -- throw it away, give it to a friend or donate to charity. Challenge yourself and try to lower the ratio to three to one or if you are really brave, two to one. Continue this routine until the items you're keeping fit comfortably into the space you've allotted them.
Understand and Honor Your Treasured Collections
Items stored in a trash bag and covered in dust in the attic aren't collections. If you say that you value something then demonstrate that commitment by the respect you show to that item. If you truly treasure things display them proudly and properly in your home, otherwise get rid of them.
Make Your Bed Every Day
Your mom was right! Making your bed everyday is an instant quick fix that makes any room look neater. A made bed anchors a room, immediately suggests tidiness and order and -- let's face it -- it's much nicer to climb into a made bed at night than slipping under a wad of crumpled sheets.

Design a Place for Paperwork
Managing and controlling paperwork is one of the biggest clutter issues in the home. Have a center and filing system for bills, important files and magazines. Keep books and magazine to a number that fit your shelves or bookcases, no more. File only what you need to keep and shred old or junk mail. This cuts down on the paper clutter being strewn around your home.
Try the Reverse Clothes Hanger Technique
We wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. De-clutter your closet space so that you and your clothes can breathe. At the start of the season reverse the way your clothes are hung in your closet. When you wear and return an item, replace the hanger the correct way around. At the end of the season you can clearly see what you haven't worn and, most likely, what you can live without! Seriously consider discarding those items of clothing that are still hanging on clothes hangers facing the wrong way.
Organize Your Monthly Receipts
Keep track of bills, receipts and household paperwork easily and efficiently. Use an inexpensive 12-month accordion file to quickly organize your monthly paperwork, receipts and even paid bills. At the end of 12 months discard the oldest bills and receipts. This is a simple solution to that messy paperwork that can really get out of hand.
Understand That It's Not Always About the "Stuff"
Don't be too hard on yourself. Recognize that the clutter is often a reflection of something deeper that might be troubling you. Dealing with the clutter can open up not only the physical space in your life, but also your emotional, psychological and spiritual space as well!
270-180-PeterWalsh-butt-and-clutter Peter Walsh is the author of six books on decluttering your home, head, heart and hips, including two New York Times best sellers. His most popular title, 'It's All Too Much', has just been released by Apple as an app for iPhones and iPads. Download the app on his website. Or, pick up one of his books at your local bookstore. You can also find Peter on Twitter @PeterWalsh.

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