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10 Easy Tips to Instantly Declutter Your Home

10 Easy Tips to Instantly Declutter Your Home

Turning your house upside down once or twice a year for a thorough cleaning is an exhausting process that often leaves you wishing you could be more organized throughout the year. Decluttering doesn’t have to be a big ordeal that saps your energy. Each of these easy decluttering tips can be done in ten minutes or less and will leave your house looking neat and uncluttered.

1. Plastic Cups

Open your kitchen cabinet and look inside. Ideally, you will be treated to the sight of a cupboard full of lovely glassware. If you see a cabinet full of plastic cups, it may be time to pare down your drink ware collection. Restaurants, movie theaters, and local businesses often give away drinking vessels with branding and promotional information brightly printed on the side.

It is all too easy to wash these and put them in the cupboard with the rest of your glasses. Soon, you have an army of plastic cups advertising at you every time you reach in the cabinet. Save one to wash the dog and donate the rest.

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2. Shabby Linens

It’s no secret that we all have sheets and towels that have seen better days. Many people hang on to these well-worn items longer than they should, creating chaos in the linen closet. Look through your linens and toss anything with holes or tears. A good rule of thumb is to keep what you would feel comfortable with a guest using and get rid of the rest.

3. Writing Utensils

Everyone has a junk drawer bursting with odds and ends that don’t belong anywhere else. At least half of every junk drawer seems to be filled with accumulated pens and pencils. In a digital age, no one needs that many writing implements. Keep a few of the ones you like best and donate the rest to your local school.

4. Condiments

Every time your order take out, it seems that they put double handfuls of condiment packets into the bag. Instead of tossing the unused packets, many people shove the extra condiments into a drawer where they languish for years. Don’t fall into the condiment trap. Look for all those stray packets and toss them in the garbage. If you don’t feel comfortable trashing them, see if your local food bank would like them.

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5. Old Cosmetics and Beauty Products

Tossing food past its expiration date is a no-brainer, but it seems to be uncommon knowledge that cosmetics and beauty products have a shelf life as well. As a rule, anything older than two years needs to go. Old cosmetics are a favorite hangout for germs and any beauty product past date just won’t be as effective. Check the expiration dates for your favorite products and be merciless.

6. Magazines

That large stack of old publications that resides on your side table or in your bookshelf is taking up a lot of space. Perhaps you told yourself that you would use them in a future DIY decoupage project, or there is a specific article you just knew you would want to reference one day. Realistically, you are very likely to never get around to those projects. Digitize the articles you want to keep and recycle the rest. You just crossed something off your to-do list.

7. CDs

With external hard drives and cloud storage, there is just no reason to keep your old CDs. They will soon be as unfamiliar to kids as eight tracks. If you just can’t bear the thought of parting with your most treasured CDs, put them all on one spindle and toss their jewel cases. This will free up most of the space they were occupying while allowing you to hold on.

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8. Extra Cords and Cables

Long after electronics and appliances have made their way to the charity shop, the cords, and cables that came with them remain in the junk drawer. Be brave, and pull out that tangled mess to determine which cords you still need. Recycle the extras or send them to the charity shop to reunite with their lost electronic partners.

9. Fridge Magnets

It seems that every take out restaurant, gym, and mechanic bombards you with a free magnet to stick on your refrigerator. Eventually, your fridge becomes so weighed down with these that you may not even remember the original color of the appliance. You do not need those magnets. Any phone number you need is programmed into your device or just a click away online. Keep one or two and get rid of the rest. You will be amazed at how much better your kitchen looks.

10. Outdated Documents

If you are like most people, you file your important papers and forget about them. There are few documents you need to keep for more than seven years. Go through your papers and shred the ones that you have been hanging onto for no reason. Sign up for online statements for everything you can to keep the paper from piling up again.

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After you go through your home for a clutter free living using these simple tips, every room will feel more spacious and usable. Getting rid of the items on this list has the added benefit of automatically updating the look of your home. With all those plastic dishes gone and a visible refrigerator, your home will be a much more aesthetically pleasing space to entertain.

Featured photo credit: shutterstock via cdn-media-1.lifehack.org

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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