5 Tips To Conquer The Clutter

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Welcome to Tuesday’s Tips, the one day a week when I break the format of answering your questions and I dispense useful, actionable and empowering tips!

Clutter drives me crazy, not just because I’m a New Yorker, but particularly because I’m a New Yorker.  I live in about 1200 square feet ~ not bad by New York standards, but let me tell you: Nothing cramps a space faster than shit that you don’t need.  Below are my personal secrets for conquering clutter in the Sterling home:

1. EMPTY EVERY BAG. In my home, you do not cross the threshold of our front door without emptying every bag and depositing said contents in their intended homes. Every shopping bag, nap sac and purse gets emptied and put away before it passes the welcome rug.

2. DO NOT ADD. I love home décor and I love to collect, but I do not bring anything into our home unless, A) I know exactly where it will go, and B) There is something that I’m willing to give up where it’s going. We do not add. We replace.

3. NO HORDING. We made it through Hurricane Sandy without stocking up on food ~ and we made it for 6 days, without power, feeding an entire apartment building floor (10 people). In all likelihood, your pantry has enough food. Stop buying things that you don’t need. This goes for keepsakes and freebies as well. I toss birthday cards and unwanted items within a week of getting them. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love the person who gave it to me. It means I equally love my clean home.

4. TAKE IT WITH YOU. Every time we leave home, we take garbage (recycling or regular garbage) out with us. We never leave empty handed. As a result, there’s no fight about who’s taking out the garbage because we know the answer: We both are.

5. DO IT NOW. There is no later. There’s only now. Do it now to avoid having a project to contend with later. The dishes are a great example. Go on. Stop thinking and just clean them up.

Bottom line: Clutter creates chaos in our brains which undermines our ability to function and to enjoy peace. With less distraction, our brains function better, our anxiety decreases, our self-esteem increases and we feel more competent. So here’s your challenge: Follow these steps for 30 days which will bring you right into the holidays and see if your stress isn’t lowered as a result!