Everyone needs help getting organized. Even if your house is spotless, chances are there’s chaos somewhere in your life! So, here’s how to tackle some of the most common clutter problems, courtesy of the researchers at Real Simple magazine.

  • You start projects, but get overwhelmed. Your solution? SLOW DOWN! Steven Webber is the owner of Steve’s Organizing in Tacoma, Washington, and he says people tend to get overwhelmed by the emotions that come up when they sort through and purge their belongings. His advice? Don’t work for more than an hour continuously. If you think the task is going to take two days, it’ll probably take four. So, double whatever amount of time you originally set aside, that way you won’t get overwhelmed, and you’ll be able to take those needed breaks.
  • The stuff you have is organized – there’s just TOO MUCH of it. Experts agree that you don’t need to hang onto every little thing! Go ahead and keep your tax return records forever, but back-up material – like receipts and statements - can be shredded after seven years. Also, downsize your wardrobe. Your closet might be totally organized, but if you’re hanging on to those short shorts or other pieces of clothing you LOVE but don’t wear, ask yourself the “three F’S” – does it FIT, FLATTER, and make you FEEL like a million bucks? If the answer is “no” – give it to charity.
  • Let go of gifts you don’t use. If you feel guilty about giving away that paper maché napkin holder Aunt Betty gave you, take a picture of yourself holding it. Deb Allert is the owner of Clutter-a-Go-Go in San Diego, and she says the purpose of a present is for the giver to show their good feelings to the recipient. The actual item is a side issue. So, take a picture to remind you of their kindness, then let the gift go. You can visit RealSimple.com/Donations for a list of various charitable organizations to which you can donate your unwanted gifts.