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10 Smart and Efficient Ways to De-clutter Your Room

10 Smart and Efficient Ways to De-clutter Your Room

The idea of living a minimalist, uncluttered life is one that many of us aspire to. We are willing to de-clutter our rooms, own fewer possessions, and simplify our lives so that we can have less to clean, less to organize, less to worry about, and more money to spend on the things that matter.

However, many of us feel like we don’t have the energy to de-clutter and often get stuck at where and how to begin. While it’s always tough to get rid of the “good” old stuff lying around our homes, it is possible to de-clutter your room with less pain than you might think.

Here are ten smart strategies to help you efficiently de-clutter your room, drawn from various experts.

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1. Set aside a few hours to de-clutter and tidy up.

According to Washington DC’s organizing and de-cluttering guru Nicole Anzia of Neatnik.org, you should clean out and de-clutter your house a little bit each day. Refrain from setting aside an entire day to organize your whole house. Few people have the energy and/or focus to spend 8 hours straight tidying up, she says. Instead, allocate a few hours—just 2 or 3—on one project or room at a time. That way, you will be motivated to start de-cluttering and escape frustration and burnout as the day progresses.

2. Sort things into categories and discard everything that does not “spark joy.”

Sorting out involves arranging things into categories, such as things to recycle, donate, toss, and give to friends. Marie Kondo, author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” offers a simple and effective strategy for sorting out and discarding. She says discard everything that does not “spark joy,” after thanking the objects that are getting the heave-ho for their service.

“Sparking joy” can be a flexible concept. But, according to Ms. Kondo, that which is itchy, or too hot, is certainly joyless. So is anything baggy, droopy or with a flared leg. She recommends that you hold each item in your hands and have a dialogue with yourself to determine if it sparks joy.

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3. Assess what containers you REALLY need.

Avoid going out on a buying spree to get a ton of storage supplies before you know exactly how much stuff you are packing. All those pretty boxes, baskets and bins at the Container Store won’t do you any good unless they fit the space in the closet, on the shelf or under the bed. In fact, Ms. Kondo is adamant that you don’t need to buy any organizing equipment—your home already has all the storage you need. As for containers to pack things to toss away, grab a large trash bag and see how quickly you can fill it. You may even fill a few trash bags specifically for Goodwill.

4. Finish each task—completely.

This is a crucial step: once you have sorted things out in your room and decided where everything is going to go, put them there. Don’t stack boxes or bags in your room for later delivery or for disposal at a later date. Finish the task now. That is to say, take the boxes and bags out to the trash or recycling immediately. If you are giving something to a friend or donating something to charity, put the items in your car or make arrangements for dropping them off as soon as you finish the process. You have done such a good job of tidying up, why leave it unfinished? Complete the task fully!

5. Think vertically.

In small rooms, maximize the space by thinking vertically. For example, could you hang shelves above your desk for extra papers or books? Maybe you can hang some utensils on the walls to save space in the kitchen. New York City prop stylist Erin Swift is actually a fan of displaying everyday dishes against a well-marked chalkboard wall. She says the dark backdrop allows her to clearly indicate a home for each of the items and encourages others to help restock once the dishwasher is finished. Her advice: “Draw outlines of shapely pieces if you’re the artistic type, or just say it like it is, with words.”

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6. Shred the papers.

Ms. Kondo’s de-cluttering instruction concerning papers is most liberating. She says you should just throw papers away. “There is nothing more annoying than papers,” she says firmly. “After all, papers never spark joy, no matter how carefully you keep them.” Shred sensitive papers, file important ones (if need be), and throw the rest away. You don’t really need most of the papers that you are keeping in your room anyway. Papers generally only make your room stuffy and unattractive.

7. Hang clothes—they look happier hung up.

Ms. Kondo proposes the agreeable technique of hanging clothes. She advises that you hang up anything that looks happier hung up, and arrange like with like, working from left to right, with dark, heavy clothing on the left. And she explains why: “Clothes, like people, can relax more freely when in the company of others who are very similar in type, and therefore organizing them by category helps them feel more comfortable and secure.”

8. Clear out your medicine cabinet.

Don’t forget to go through your medicine cabinet and discard outdated medicines and any other stuff in there that you don’t use, including outdated creams and ointments that you discovered don’t work on your skin. The fewer things you have in your medicine cabinet, the easier it is to find (and replace) what you need and the more clutter-free your room will be.

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9. Create a tidy tub for all the “unfindables.”

Stuff that you use in different seasons like goggles, sunscreen, and bug spray in the summer and gloves, hats, and mittens in the winter can quickly pile up and clutter your room. Design blogger Benita Larsson suggests that you find a galvanized tub and divide it into discrete compartments using “walls” of foam core for the unfindables. Place the tub at a convenient place near the entry to your room so you can arrange your stuff for grab-and-go convenience at different times of the year and for different purposes.

10. Give away one item each day. 

Don’t think that once you have organized your room, you are done. You will need to create an efficient and logical system for processing and managing incoming and outgoing items, or you might find yourself forced to clean up another mess of clutter again a month later. Colleen Madsen of 365LessThings.com gives away one item each day and recommends that you do the same. Over the past several years, she says she has experienced quite a transformation simply by reducing her stuff one day at a time.

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David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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