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The Most Valuable Tips for Anyone with Too Many Things at Home

The Most Valuable Tips for Anyone with Too Many Things at Home

Social Headlines: 1. You Can Have 1000+ Things Stuffed in Your Home But It Still Looks Neat. 2. A Quick Guide to Be A Home Decluttering Master 3. Home Decluttering Is A Piece Of Cake If You Know These Tricks 4. You Don’t Need A Maid to Declutter Your Home. Do These Instead. 5. No More Mess Around. Home Decluttering 101.

Most people have at least a little bit of clutter in their homes, those spots that are a little embarrassing, that feel unmanageable and are a consistent source of frustration.

Many others have whole rooms full of stuff they don’t use, things they think they might need someday so they are hesitant to throw it out, leaving whole sections of their home unusable for their intended purposes.

Still others have homes full of so many things they are unwilling to have people over, can’t easily navigate their space and can’t find the things they need when they need them.

Clutter on any level can bring about feelings of overwhelm and stress, with the added burden of not knowing where to start or what to do when they want to declutter.

How to Declutter Once and for All

Whether you have a few problem areas in your house or a building full of stuff that needs to be dealt with, the good news is that you can organize your home once and for all and make it a lot easier to keep it clean and decluttered.

These general suggestions and room-by-room guide offer simple solutions to help you get started right away and keep going with confidence.

Start with a Vision

    No matter which decluttering method you use, from Marie Kondo to the hanger flip method,[1] it’s important to start with a vision of what you want your spaces to look and feel like when you are done.

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    Think back to when you first moved into your house or apartment. What did you want it to look like? How did you want to feel walking in the front door? Let those ideas and feelings guide you as you make decisions when you declutter.

    Another good way to do this is to think of three adjectives you wish could describe an area of your home. Maybe you want the bedroom to be calm, romantic and cool, or the office to be organized, creative and open. Whatever your adjectives are, write them down and go back to those ideas as you go through the process.

    Make a List

    Sometimes when a job feels to overwhelming, it helps to make a list of all the little things you need to do to get to your goal or to finish a project. It’s the same when you declutter.

    Walk around the house or the room you want to start in and write down the things that need to be dealt with. In the bathroom, for instance, you might need to dispose of old makeup and medicine, get a bigger laundry hamper so people stop throwing their dirty clothes on the floor and clean out the linen closet.

    Having a list of smaller jobs is helpful because as you declutter you can mark things off the list, which gives you a sense of accomplishment and momentum.

    Start with the Spot Where It Annoys You Most.

    One of the best things you can do in any room or space you are trying to declutter is to start with a small area that really annoys you.[2] That spot where the junk mail always lands. The chair where people dump everything. Your bedside table piled high with too many books.

    Set a timer for 10 minutes and deal with that space. Step back and notice how much better it looks and how much better you feel.

    Cross it off your list and do something else.

    Remember, too, not to try to do it all at once. Some things are quick fixes,[3] and some will take longer. Depending on the level of clutter, it can take a day to a week or more of consistent work to declutter a space. Slow, consistent improvement is better than making good progress working hard for a day or two then burning out and never finishing the job.

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    Some people like to start decluttering at the door or entryway to a room and work around. Others start with flat surfaces or the floor first, then move to bookshelves and storage pieces.

    Another way to look at that is to start big[4]— kitchen counters, the top of the bed, the floor —and move on to smaller places and inside drawers once the major visible stuff is dealt with.

    Know What to Keep and What to Ditch with Four Bins

    A popular method to declutter any space involves four bins/boxes/bags. One is for trash, one for things you want to give away, one for things to keep in that room and one for things to keep that belong elsewhere. As you work your way around the room, everything goes in one of these bins.

    How do you decide what to keep and what to get rid of? Things that are broken, don’t fit or haven’t been used in the last year are easy choices to toss. Some people like to touch everything and only keep the things that spark joy or make them feel good.

    Moving everything out of a space and only putting back what really fits and what needs to be in that room is another great method. Imagine you are packing to move; would you want to take that thing with you? If not, get rid of it.

    Declutter Room by Room

    There are different methods that can help you declutter different areas of your home. Here are some things to think about and remember as you go through different parts of the home.

      Kitchen: Get rid of appliances, serving pieces, vases and other items you don’t use (even if someone got it for you as a wedding present). Get rid of plastic containers without lids, or lids without containers. Cull old spices and expired food. Think about how many coffee mugs and other items you really need and can easily store. Try to take everything out of cabinets–do this in sections if you need to–so you can really see what you have, what you use and how to better store it. Try to put things away near where you use them.

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        Bathrooms: Clear out old makeup and medicines, disposing of medicine properly. Get rid of torn or faded towels. Clear counters, cabinets and drawers of things you never use. Only leave things on the counter that you use on a daily basis, and organize them so your morning and evening routines will be easier. Make room for a candle and light it regularly as you’re winding down in the evening.

          Bedroom: Your bedroom should be a sanctuary, but more often it’s a dumping ground. Clear out things that don’t belong. Make spaces as clear as possible. If you store bills and paperwork in the bedroom, at least put them in a pretty box so you don’t have to look at them every night. Think about hotel rooms; that’s how you want your bedroom to feel. Don’t forget to go through drawers and under the bed.

            Kids’ rooms: Kids are hard because they want to keep everything. Do your best to encourage them to get rid of toys and books they no longer use, as well as anything that is broken (that’s good advice throughout the house). Make sure what returns to the space actually fits and is stored in a way that the child can clean up themselves.

              Living rooms: Whether you call it the living room, family room or den, this is a space that should be relaxing as well. Declutter things that don’t belong, accessories you don’t love and toys that aren’t played with or could go elsewhere. Some amount of decorating is fine, but don’t cover every surface with stuff.

                Office: If you have a home office, it’s probably a catch-all for all the random stuff you don’t know what to do with. That makes decluttering easier in a way but harder, too, because this is stuff you think you want to keep but don’t really have a place for. Be relentless and only keep things you love or really need.

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                  Guest room: Much like your bedroom, the guest room should be as hotel-like as possible. It’s often seen as an extra storage space, but you don’t want your guests to feel like that.

                  Decluttering Is Only the Beginning, Maintaining Tidiness Is the Key

                    Doing a major declutter is a great step, but maintenance will have to be done regularly to keep it up. The good news is it never takes as long as that first time, and you’ll be really motivated to keep your space in good shape once you’ve seen what it can look like.

                    It ‘s a good idea to go through clothes, books, toys and other items at least once a year to get rid of the things you aren’t using.

                    A one-in, one-out rule can help keep clutter under control because you aren’t adding things to your home without taking other things away.

                    Keep track of items you still tend to lose by having dedicated spaces for them or using a device like TrackR .

                    And spending some time each week resetting your problem areas should keep your house looking and feeling great for the long term, which is why you wanted to declutter in the first place.

                    Reference

                    More by this author

                    Sarah White

                    Freelance Writer, Editor, Professional Crafter

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                    Last Updated on September 30, 2019

                    How To Write Effective Meeting Minutes (with Examples)

                    How To Write Effective Meeting Minutes (with Examples)

                    Minutes are a written record of a board, company, or organizational meeting. Meeting minutes are considered a legal document, so when writing them, strive for clarity and consistency of tone.

                    Because minutes are a permanent record of the meeting, be sure to proofread them well before sending. It is a good idea to run them by a supervisor or seasoned attendee to make sure statements and information are accurately captured.

                    The best meeting minutes takers are careful listeners, quick typists, and are adequately familiar with the meeting topics and attendees. The note taker must have a firm enough grasp of the subject matter to be able to separate the important points from the noise in what can be long, drawn-out discussions. And, importantly, the note taker should not simultaneously lead and take notes. (If you’re ever asked to do so, decline.)

                    Following, are some step-by-step hints to effectively write meeting minutes:

                    1. Develop an Agenda

                    Work with the Chairperson or Board President to develop a detailed agenda.

                    Meetings occur for a reason, and the issues to be addressed and decided upon need to be listed to alert attendees. Work with the convener to draft an agenda that assigns times to each topic to keep the meeting moving and to make sure the group has enough time to consider all items.

                    The agenda will serve as your outline for the meeting minutes. Keep the minutes’ headings consistent with the agenda topics for continuity.

                    2. Follow a Template from Former Minutes Taken

                    If you are new to a Board or organization, and are writing minutes for the first time, ask to see the past meeting minutes so that you can maintain the same format.

                    Generally, the organization name or the name of the group that is meeting goes at the top: “Meeting of the Board of Directors of XYZ,” with the date on the next line. After the date, include both the time the meeting came to order and the time the meeting ended.

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                    Most groups who meet do so regularly, with set agenda items at each meeting. Some groups include a Next Steps heading at the end of the minutes that lists projects to follow up on and assigns responsibility.

                    A template from a former meeting will also help determine whether or not the group records if a quorum was met, and other items specific to the organization’s meeting minutes.

                    3. Record Attendance

                    On most boards, the Board Secretary is the person responsible for taking the meeting minutes. In organizational meetings, the minutes taker may be a project coordinator or assistant to a manager or CEO. She or he should arrive a few minutes before the meeting begins and pass around an attendance sheet with all members’ names and contact information.

                    Meeting attendees will need to check off their names and make edits to any changes in their information. This will help as both a back-up document of attendees and ensure that information goes out to the most up-to-date email addresses.

                    All attendees’ names should be listed directly below the meeting name and date, under a subheading that says “Present.” List first and last names of all attendees, along with title or affiliation, separated by a comma or semi-colon.

                    If a member of the Board could not attend the meeting, cite his or her name after the phrase: “Copied To:” There may be other designations in the participants’ list. For example, if several of the meeting attendees are members of the staff while everyone else is a volunteer, you may want to write (Staff) after each staff member.

                    As a general rule, attendees are listed alphabetically by their last names. However, in some organizations, it’s a best practice to list the leadership of the Board first. In that case, the President or Co-Presidents would be listed first, followed by the Vice President, followed by the Secretary, and then by the Treasurer. Then all other names of attendees would be alphabetized by last name.

                    It is also common practice to note if a participant joined the meeting via conference call. This can be indicated by writing: “By Phone” and listing the participants who called in.

                    4. Naming Convention

                    Generally, the first time someone speaks in the meeting will include his or her name and often the title.

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                    For example, “President of the XYZ Board, Roger McGowan, called the meeting to order.” The next time Roger McGowan speaks, though, you can simply refer to him as “Roger.” If there are two Rogers in the meeting, use an initial for their last names to separate the two. “Roger M. called for a vote. Roger T. abstained.”

                    5. What, and What Not, to Include

                    Depending on the nature of the meeting, it could last from one to several hours. The attendees will be asked to review and then approve the meeting minutes. Therefore, you don’t want the minutes to extend into a lengthy document.

                    Capturing everything that people say verbatim is not only unnecessary, but annoying to reviewers.

                    For each agenda item, you ultimately want to summarize only the relevant points of the discussion along with any decisions made. After the meeting, cull through your notes, making sure to edit out any circular or repetitive arguments and only leave in the relevant points made.

                    6. Maintain a Neutral Tone

                    Minutes are a legal document. They are used to establish an organization’s historical record of activity. It is essential to maintain an even, professional tone. Never put inflammatory language in the minutes, even if the language of the meeting becomes heated.

                    You want to record the gist of the discussion objectively, which means mentioning the key points covered without assigning blame. For example, “The staff addressed board members’ questions regarding the vendor’s professionalism.”

                    Picture a lawyer ten years down the road reading the minutes to find evidence of potential wrongdoing. You wouldn’t want an embellishment in the form of a colorful adverb or a quip to cloud any account of what took place. Here’s a list of neutral sounding words to get started with.

                    7. Record Votes

                    The primary purpose of minutes is to record any votes a board or organization takes. Solid record-keeping requires mentioning which participant makes a motion — and what the motion states verbatim — and which participant seconds the motion.

                    For example, “Vice President Cindy Jacobsen made a motion to dedicate 50 percent, or $50,000, of the proceeds from the ZZZ Foundation gift to the CCC scholarship fund. President Roger McGowan seconded the motion.”

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                    This vote tabulation should be expressed in neutral language as well. “The Board voted unanimously to amend the charter in the following way,” or “The decision to provide $1,000 to the tree-planting effort passed 4 to 1, with Board President McGowan opposing.”

                    Most Boards try to get a vote passed unanimously. Sometimes in order to help the Board attain a more cohesive outcome, a Board member may abstain from voting. “The motion passed 17 to 1 with one absension.”

                    8. Pare down Notes Post-Meeting

                    Following the meeting, read through your notes while all the discussions remain fresh in your mind, and make any needed revisions. Then, pare the meeting minutes down to their essentials, providing a brief account of the discussion that summarizes arguments made for and against a decision.

                    People often speak colloquially or in idioms, as in: “This isn’t even in the ballpark” or “You’re beginning to sound like a broken record.” While you may be tempted to keep the exact language in the minutes to add color, resist.

                    Additionally, if any presentations are part of the meeting, do not include information from the Powerpoint in the minutes. However, you will want to record the key points from the post-presentation discussion.

                    9. Proofread with Care

                    Make sure that you spelled all names correctly, inserted the correct date of the meeting, and that your minutes read clearly.

                    Spell out acronyms the first time they’re used. Remember that the notes may be reviewed by others for whom the acronyms are unfamiliar. Stay consistent in headings, punctuation, and formatting. The minutes should be polished and professional.

                    10. Distribute Broadly

                    Once approved, email minutes to the full board — not just the attendees — for review. Your minutes will help keep those who were absent apprised of important actions and decisions.

                    At the start of the next meeting, call for the approval of the minutes. Note any revisions. Try to work out the agreed-upon changes in the meeting, so that you don’t spend a huge amount of time on revisions.

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                    Ask for a motion to approve the minutes with the agreed-upon changes. Once an attendee offers a motion, ask for another person in the meeting to “second” the motion. They say, “All approved.” Always ask if there is anyone who does not approve. Assuming not, then say: “The minutes from our last meeting are approved once the agreed-upon changes have been made.”

                    11. File Meticulously

                    Since minutes are a legal document, take care when filing them. Make sure the file name of the document is consistent with the file names of previously filed minutes.

                    Occasionally, members of the organization may want to review past minutes. Know where the minutes are filed!

                    One Caveat

                    In this day and age of high technology, you may ask yourself: Wouldn’t it be simpler to record the meeting? This depends on the protocols of the organization, but probably not.

                    Be sure to ask what the rules are at the organization where you are taking minutes. Remember that the minutes are a record of what was done at the meeting, not what was said at the meeting.

                    The minutes reflect decisions not discussions. In spite of their name, “minutes,” the minutes are not a minute-by-minute transcript.

                    Bottom Line

                    Becoming an expert minutes-taker requires a keen ear, a willingness to learn, and some practice, but by following these tips you will soon become proficient.

                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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