Ask Erin: “Fall” Into a Clutter-free Life
article by Erin Sharplin Love
Fall is the perfect time to slow down, to reassess and to reclaim your life from any clutter that accumulated over the busy summer. But where do you begin? Reorganizing your life can seem overwhleming, and without a game plan, your efforts could fall quickly by the wayside. But don’t despair! The purpose of this article is to guide you through the process of clearing your home, your mind and your schedule in ONE MONTH! Yes! It can be done! Read more to begin your “fall” into a clutter-free life!
First, you must prepare yourself and your family for the changes that are about to come. Each task in my schedule takes approximately one hour to complete, so you should anticipate the time a project will take and plan each day around the work. *Note: My time assessment is based on a home that is somewhat organized to begin with, but that needs a little refresh and revamp. If your home is more disorganized, it might take you a little longer than a month to complete the task of getting organized. However, that’s OK! Just do it!
Days One & Two – The Entryway
What better place to begin than the area you see immediately when you enter your home! If you are like most of my clients, this area also tends to be a dumping ground for everything!! Instead, let’s create a tidy entryway that will set the tone for the rest of the house!
1. Assess the space – What needs to stay and what needs to go? For example, if an item is not something you would grab on the way out or redeposit on the way in—like keys, a coat, rain boots or an umbrella, then put it where it belongs.
2. Clean – Sweep, dust and vaccuum the space.
3. Create a home for the items that will remain. For instance, are there a few pairs of shoes that you’d like to remain in the entryway? Why not organize them on a decorative tray to make the area more inviting. (You may already have the perfect one in your home!) Set out a pretty bowl or small tray to gather keys, spare change, etc.
Day Three – Paper Clutter
Most paper clutter cannot be cleared in one day, much less one hour, so on this day, I want to guide you toward derailing paper clutter immediately when it enters your home.
1. Assess the situation – What is happening to your mail and other paperwork right now? Does it sit in piles for weeks or months? What is your biggest struggle?
2. Create a system for handling mail immediately upon entering your home. Perhaps a decorative box or basket for keeping bills and important mail and a pretty container for throw-aways could be set up in close proximity to your entryway.
3. Throw away any and all junkmail immediately in the above trash container you have chosen.
4. Unsubscribe from catalogs or magazines that you don’t want or need anymore.
5. Finally, designate one day a week to take action on the items inside the basket.
Days Four and Five– Books and Magazines
I must admit that real books and magazines are my weakness! They are filled with knowledge that my mind is just waiting to soak up! So, it goes without saying that books potentially could be hard to part with. I understand! As with all organizing, we must pare down to only the items that are really important.
1. Assess the situation – How many books and magazine do you currently own? Do you have the room for that number of books? How are they currently being stored?
2. Toss or recycle any books and/or magazines that you no longer want or need.
3. Keep books that you or a family member plans to read or refer to again, that are in good shape or that you absolutely love and want to display.
4. Clean the area – dust, sweep, etc.
5. Finally, create a functional space for storing the books and magazines you have kept. For example, organize types of books together and place magazines in a labeled bin.
Day 6 – DVDs and Videogames
This area of your home can quickly spiral out of control, so an organization system is a must! You are a few steps away from having a collection of DVDs and videogames that you actually watch and play and that are stored in a functional and organized space.
1. Assess the situation – How are your DVDs and videogames currently being stored? Are there some that are never used?
2. Gather – Collect all DVDs and videogames from every room of your home and place in a central location to declutter.
3. Begin a donate pile – Designate an area for those items you no longer want or need so you may donate them to someone else in need.
4. Sort – Separate DVDs from Videogames and place them in the room/area in which they will be used.
5.Create a functional storage system – I suggest purchasing DVD boxes that can be labeled, so that everyone knows where to return his favorite DVD or videogame.
Days 7 and 8 – Living Room
A living room should be a space where your entire family can gather. It should be fun, relaxing,and functional.
1. Assess the situation – Is your living room fun, relaxing and functional right now? If yes, what is working? If no, what isn’t working?
2. Declutter – Remove and put away any items that do not belong in the living room.
3. Gather all decorative items, such as pictures, knickknacks, candles, etc. and place them in a central location for restyling. During this step, get rid of anything that you no longer love or want to use!
4. Rearrange furniture, if applicable, to better suit the layout of the room. For instance, there should be enough seating in view of the TV, but there could also be space for another seating area, too (maybe in front of a fireplace or in front of a large window). Just remember to take note of everything that happens in your living room and design your layout accordingly.
Erin Sharplin Love, owner of Panache by Erin, is a Certified Fashion and Image Consultant, Professional Organizer, and Certified Wedding Coordinator whose specialties include outfit coordination and closet organization. Love has a knack for creating the perfect organized spaces that work with each client’s personality, for helping her fashion clients develop their own personal style, and for helping her wedding clients create the wedding of their dreams within their budget and without the stress. Panache by Erin offers the following services – outfit coordination, personal shopping, personal color analysis, home/office organization and wedding/event coordination. To learn more, please go to www.panachebyerin.com.