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All contents © 2011
by Lori Ann Curley
unless otherwise specified

Other articles I've written

The following article "De-Junk Your Home; De-Junk Your Life" won won seventh place in the 73rd Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition.


    Clutter is everywhere in your home; clutter is everywhere in your life, keeping you from finding what you need and what you want. I can’t promise that getting rid of the clutter in your home will help you get rid of the clutter in your life, but de-junking a little of both can certainly help. This article will help you de-junk your home, which hopefully will give you a springboard on the life part.
    I set aside a recent Saturday for a desperately needed de-junking and organizing of my home office. I went from total mess to an organized room in one day.
    First, I collected the tools I needed to organize: several boxes and storage containers (think Rubbermaid®) in varying sizes, other specialty organizers such as boxes for photos or magazine holders, and a trash bag or two or three... Then I took a picture of the mess. I wanted photographic evidence of the transformation.
    I used the multi-box method of de-junking:  
    I also added two boxes for the unique challenge of my home office:
    My best friend during the de-junking process was the trash bag. I had items that have been sitting around for years without being used or even handled. I’m not talking about old tax records or other items that must be kept, I’m talking about “stuff”: old magazines and newspapers, greeting cards from friends and family, junk mail that looked interesting when first opened, knickknacks, etc. Well, I gave myself permission to throw that stuff away. I put it in the To Donate or Sell box it if it was still in good condition, but I had to be rid of it. Most of the items I touched that day went straight into the trash.  When in doubt, throw it out!
    Amy Rehkemper, a professional organizer and founder of A Place For Everything Organizing (now Simplify Organizing Services), created the following list of questions to help rid the clutter in homes:

    To Keep or Not To Keep

    I began de-junking my home office with the table I use as a desk. Using the multi-box method, I had the table that once overflowed with clutter cleared in five minutes!  I picked an item, put it into its appropriate box, and moved on to the next item. No hemming and hawing, no second guessing. Then I did the computer desk, the storage desk, the floor, the wardrobe, etc. until everything was in one of the boxes or in the trash bag.
    I took out the trash out right away. I did not look through it again. Anything in it, I let go. The few items in the To Be Put in Storage were placed in a Rubbermaid® bin and moved to the attic. I set aside the To Put Away in Another Room and To Donate or Sell boxes because I use these for all the rooms in my house that I’m organizing.
    Next, I found a home for all the items in the To Put Away in This Room box. I do have several Rubbermaid® storage containers in varying sizes, so organizing my crafting supplies and gifts and, yes, some knickknacks was easy.  I put photographs that had been collecting for years into a nice box designed solely for this purpose. I used magazine holders for the magazines I decided to keep–mostly my copies of Woman’s Day. I even used the newly-cleared bottom of the wardrobe to store items. Finally, the To Deal With When I’m Done Cleaning box: I put these items into a milk crate file and deal with a few each week.
    The filing I left for another day; that’s a whole other article unto itself.
    When all was said and done, I took the after picture with my digital camera. I proudly showed the images to my colleagues the following Monday.
    When you decide to de-junk and organize your space, remember these tips:
    In the future, whenever you’re tempted to buy something new, think not only if you can afford it, but where will you put it in your home. Hopefully this will prevent the clutter from coming back into your home and back into your life.

Very Helpful Resources:

*I do not endorse these commercial websites. I simply found their products to be useful, so I provide a link to them to help you meet your organizational needs. -L.

Copyright © 2008 by Lori Ann Curley (including pictures, but not the Rehkemper "To Keep or Not To Keep" list).  Do not reprint or use any part of the above without permission. To request permission for the article, send me an e-mail. For permission for the "To Keep or Not To Keep" list, contact Amy Rehkemper.

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