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Starting the new school year can be a great time to get motivated to revamp your space and clean everything out. A new school year is a new chapter and a new opportunity to start out on the right foot. To make your home a space where you and your kids can study, work, and play in a good environment, first make it feel livable and functional by making it clutter-free.

~ First, come up with some goals. Whether you simply want to go through things and get rid of some stuff or you have a particular image in mind for your home, it is helpful to start off the process with some specific goals. Go through some books or magazines and pick out images of homes to help you envision the kind of space you’d like to live in. Living in a clean and comfortable space can be the key to really feeling happy, healthy, and at home in the space you have.

~ Imagine your home the way a stranger would. It can become easy to give ourselves excuses to live with lots of clutter. We pick up an item we haven’t used in years and say to ourselves “but I might need this again!” Imagine you are a prospective buyer in your own home. Spaces tend to look best to strangers when they are clean and relatively empty, so go through and look for the spots where strangers would find the space overly cluttered and start getting rid of stuff.

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~ If you were going shopping in your own home, what would you buy? If you wouldn’t buy something again, it’s probably a pretty good indication that you don’t really need to keep it. Allow yourself to get really indulgent with the fun of getting rid of stuff. It can actually become pretty addictive to throw things out once you’ve gotten started. You’ll realize a few months down the line that you don’t miss any of the things you got rid of. In fact, you might not even remember what you got rid of to begin with. Get your kids involved in cleaning out their rooms, if they’re old enough, and treat it like a game. Everything they agree to get rid of is one point towards an ice cream party, for example.

~ Organize a yard sale and order some nice, custom signs from eSigns to place around the neighborhood to advertise the yard sale. Don’t forget to advertise in common meeting grounds like grocery stores with flyer boards, churches, and schools. Give yourself a yard sale goal. For example, if you are partly trying to clear stuff out in order to do a room revamp, set yourself an earnings goal to help offset the cost of your home redesign project.

~ Look around on home design blogs and idea boards to figure out some smart ways to organize and store things. A lot of times, the real key to getting an organized house is just in finding ways to get things organized in a better way. It can also help make your home look better, which can encourage you to keep going with your home redesign. Put a cabinet in the foyer and use it to organize such things as shoes, purses, backpacks, keys, jackets, scarves, hats, etc. Use decorative baskets and boxes for the things that won’t fit in the shelves and cabinets. If you really get creative, you can also consider more intensive redesign efforts like modifying your floors, walls, or staircase to accommodate more shelves and storage space.

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~ Organize the little things, too, such as your fridge, bathroom, and how you store your everyday household and office supplies. It doesn’t make sense to store everything away as you will want some of the items to be more readily accessible. For these items, take the extra effort to make your storage systems look nice as they will be out on display for everyone to see. For example, decorate some nice jars, baskets, and boxes to have out around the kitchen and living room for little things like pens and scissors. You should definitely organize your mail and other paperwork as well. Depending on how much paperwork you need to save, get a mail organizing folder or filing cabinet, and label everything. Go through all of your mail and recycle what you do not need, and label compartments to store everything else in for when you need to go back and find it.

~ If you haven’t used it this year, it’s time to get rid of it. This rule is especially true when it comes to the closet. If you’re a big fashion shopper, your closet may have a way of expanding quickly, so do yourself a favor and get rid of items you really never will wear again.

~ Make lots of trips to your local Goodwill or thrift store. It’s true you won’t recover the price on resale, but you will be able to claim a reasonable tax write-off for your donations.

Keeping your space clutter-free is an important step in making your home more comfortable. Get a jump-start on the process while the kids are getting back to school or daycare and when you’re finding a bit of free time in your days.

What tips do you have for keeping your home organized and clutter-free?

  • Amy

    Great ideas! Consignment stores can also be another way to get rid of some unwanted clothes and get back a little bit of money too.