How many times have you uttered the words “Ugh! I’ve got to clean this house; there’s never enough time in the day.” Or at least something to that effect? You wouldn’t be the first, and certainly wouldn’t be the last. According to the AIFS (Australian Institute of Family Studies) most working individuals in Brisbane spend the bulk of their time working, and very little time doing housework. If the individual is married with children, housework actually doubles. Logically it makes sense that the more people in a house, the more clutter develops. However, clutter also develops quite significantly whether there are children or not. The idea is to find a way to decrease hours spent cleaning regardless of family size. This article will help you: organize, prioritize, and space save. It is often hard to focus around and amongst the clutter, and following these easy 12 tips will save you from headache, stress, and anxiety.

Step 1 – Make Sure All Items Have A Designated Place

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Whether it is mail, books, pens, and other stationary items make sure they have a designated area you will always remember to put them in. Plastic containers can easily house pencils, pens, markers, erasers, etc. Metal dividers found at your local craft store, can be used to divide important/time sensitive mail from the magazines or coupons. Books could always be neatly stacked on a on a table or a shelf bought from your local department or hardware store.

Step 2 – Be Sure to Put Things Back in Their Designated Area

It is very easy to use things and leave them exactly where you feel like leaving them. Although seemingly convenient, the problem lies in forgetting where we left them. If you immediately put items back after use, you will always have it when you need to use it again.

Step 3 – Get Rid of Spares

Most of us have more than 1 of the same item (let’s just say a favorite T-shirt). For some reason we always feel if one gets lost, dirty, or stolen, we’ll always have a backup. Though it seems like a great idea, it can contribute to the unnecessary clutter in our closets. Go ahead and free up some space by donating the extras.

Step 4 – Get Rid of Things You Haven’t Used in a Year, and Quite frankly Will Not Use Again

Most often you talk yourself into keeping things because you will eventually need or use them in the future. We’ll use the example of a magazine with an awesome sales price of a certain style and color purse you’ve always wanted. Well if you’ve let the magazine sit around for a year, most likely the purse is no longer on sale or in season. Throw away the magazine, and make some space for another. At least you won’t have old out of date magazines mixing with the new ones taking up much-needed space.

Step 5 – Commemorate and Reserve Sentimental Items

We now live in a world where technology rules. You no longer have to hang on to that bright yellow stuffed cat your mom bought you at 3 years old. You can take a picture of it on your phone, laptop, or digital camera and have it forever.

Step 6 – Do Not Keep Items Out of Guilt

Your boyfriend/girlfriend broke up with you on Valentine’s Day and crushed your entire world, so what do you do? Get rid of everything that reminds you of him/her, or hang on because you think maybe one day you’ll get back together? Well, regardless if you get back together with your ex or not, don’t guilt yourself into believing you need to keep all the “knick knacks” they’ve ever given you. If you think simply throwing them away would be too much, take pictures of the items and bury them deep in your phone memory so you don’t have to stare physically at “what once was” hanging on your wall, or lying on your dresser.

Step 7 – Throw Away, Give Away, Sell or Donate

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When deciding what you’d like to get rid of, begin by evaluating the worth of the item. Think to yourself, “Can I make any money by selling this?” Use sources like Facebook, Craigslist, Amazon or eBay. You can also have a good old fashioned garage sale. If you find the items just simply aren’t worth the effort to sell, maybe your friends and family could use them. You might even want to donate to either a church or the Salvation Army and then use it as a tax write-off. Take a look at this comprehensive guide from Lifehacker on how to get rid of unwanted junk.

Step 8 – Go for Cover Furniture

If your place is compact, or if you have a room in your home that is a bit tight but nevertheless a very useful space, choose plastic containers that have drawers. It offers space and at the same time saves space, but most importantly it keeps the room from being filled with clutter. Or maybe you might choose a closet with a sliding door concept rather than open shelves, this keeps the room neat and clutter free.

Step 9 – Get Rid of Items You Wouldn’t Buy Today

Maybe as a kid you collected beany babies or hot rods, and you’re used to them occupying a certain space in your room. Well if you go to the store and don’t find yourself with an urge to buy any more “collectible” toys, maybe it’s time to let it go. You’ll be happy you did!

Step 10 – Store Useful Items Under Your Bed

A very private and pretty neat place to store your unmentionables is in a lockbox or secured container under your bed. Most often we like to store things in drawers that we might consider easy access, but if it’s extremely easy for us to get to, imagine how easy it is for someone else to get to.

Step 11 – Think High

Most often we forget that we have loads of space in our homes because we don’t think “high.” Our homes have a vertical space that can be utilized just as much as the horizontal the more area you “purposefully” use, the less clutter and mess to clean every so often. Check out this guide from How Stuff Work on how to utilise vertical space.

Step 12 – Gauge Your Expenses

If you find yourself buying things that you don’t necessarily need and aren’t immediately using perhaps you should take a serious look at your spending habits. Scaling back might seem difficult, but it also can be fun and easy on the pockets. Think of the money you’ll save if you take a second to think truly about needing an item or product vs. wanting an item or product. Wanting may or may not take up useful space, but needing a product will force you to make space and make the best use out of it.
Hopefully, this fun list has caused you to think a little differently about space in your home, how to utilize it, and how to save money and time by assessing your spending.

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