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How to organize and declutter your home, room by room
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How to organize and declutter your home, room by room

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Create a home that’s clutter-free and inviting by letting go of items you no longer need or use.

Wondering how to begin decluttering your home? Here’s how to tackle the toughest areas of your house. Take a mental inventory of what you see and write down how the room makes you feel. Then, close your eyes and imagine what you want your new space to look like. Write down how the new vision makes you feel, and place this in a prominent spot as a reminder of what’s to come. If you stick to the process, you will reach your goals. Here’s how to tackle the toughest areas of your house.

Create a do-it-all entryway.

The entry is a sneak peek into the rest of your home, so you want it to be a functional space that also makes a statement. This area tends to become cluttered with miscellaneous items that don’t make it too far past the door. Organize the entry space to handle daily in-and-out items. Cover one wall with blackboard paint so you can leave reminder messages, or add fun hooks and shelves to keep keys, mail and other items sorted.

Make over your home office.

A cluttered office is more likely to serve as a dumping ground than a functional work space. Give this area a “space-lift” and you’ll feel the difference immediately. Get rid of furniture and miscellaneous items that are broken or nonfunctional. Then, brighten up the room using paint and a colorful rug. Finally, find useful objects such as desk accessories and file folders that speak to your personality — to make even the most mundane tasks a little more fun.

Donate unused food items.

The kitchen can be one of the easiest places to organize. Start by going through the food in your pantry. Box up unwanted items that haven’t been opened and aren’t expired and take them to your local food shelf. Next, go through your tableware, pots and pans and decorative kitchen accessories. Donate anything you aren’t using regularly or don’t love. Giving makes the letting go a lot easier.

Edit furniture.

Your home should reflect your personal style. If you are using furniture that was passed down to you, make it your own by painting it a new color or swapping out hardware such as drawer pulls. Don’t let sentimentality bully you into keeping items that are just not you. If a hand-me-down isn’t working for you, let it go and make room for a piece that you really love.

Inventory your closet.

Organizing closets is a great opportunity to take stock of how much stuff you own versus what you really use. Pull all the items out of your bedroom closet and sort them into like categories. Then, get out similar items stashed under beds, in a spare-bedroom closet or in off-season storage. Once you have items in a single place, it’s hard to ignore excess and duplication.

Clean out your medicine cabinet and linen closet.

Just like food, medicines and cosmetics have a shelf life. Check expiration dates and toss anything that’s past its prime. Sort through your towels while you’re at it, discarding rough, torn or stained ones, or repurposing them as rags.

Celebrate your accomplishments.

Stay motivated to continue organizing by finding ways to reward yourself for victories big and small. Every time you accomplish a decluttering goal, find a way to recognize it: take a walk, enjoy a treat or put money in a jar for a night out. Celebrating is a great way to keep yourself moving forward.

(Better Homes and Gardens is a magazine and website devoted to ideas and improvement projects for your home and garden, plus recipes and entertaining ideas. Online at www.bhg.com.)

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