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  • Writer's pictureTreasea Johnson

Tips to Declutter

The following six tips from professional organizers Rhea Becker of The Clutter Queen in Boston and Barry Izsak of PackingMoving in Austin to help keep your clients from feeling overwhelmed. Whichever tactics they choose, remind them that playing upbeat music can also help get the job done.

Start small.

Izsak suggests starting with a single room, closet, or drawer that will offer immediate gratification once cleaned. “For most, that means not starting in a garage or attic since there’s usually so much stuff there, but in a smaller space that’s used daily. Working this way will give them joy right away,” he says. Becker loves starting with “that little kitchen drawer” where homeowners have crammed takeout menus, rubber bands, twist ties, plastic cutlery, and sugar packets. “Only put back what you really will use,” she says.

Tackle a whole room in a methodical way.

Head to a corner, work on that area, and move clockwise until the room is completed. This might take several hours or days. “Keep at it,” Becker advises, noting that the feeling of elation upon completing an entire room will offer the adrenalin necessary to move onto tougher spots.

Think in terms of categories.

If clients are overwhelmed by tackling an entire closet, tell them to start with one category. Pair up all your shoes, then purge the ones that need repair, are worn out, aren’t in style, or that you are simply tired of, Becker says. Then, move on to a new category such as belts, scarves, socks, or ties.

Love your thrift shop.

Becker recommends keeping a box or large sturdy bag in a convenient place and adding items to it that you’re ready to part with. As soon as the box or bag is filled, take it to a local shop. You might also consider a second receptacle in a linen closet for your local animal shelter, since they often need used towels and bedding.

Wear it or ditch it.

If you haven't worn something in a year or two, give it away, Becker says. If it’s vintage and valuable, it can instead become a candidate for an estate sale or auction.

Forget repairing broken stuff.

If you have stuff around the house that’s broken, torn, or missing a part, get rid of it, Becker urges. Most people never get around to fixing things they think they will unless it’s very valuable or of great sentimental value.

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