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The Housewide Shoe Purge That Takes Less Than an Hour
Too many shoes
Photo: David Tsay

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Time Required: One Hour

Empty Your Closets
Each family member lines up his or her shoes in a long hallway or large room (if space becomes an issue, decamp to the driveway), grouping "like" pairs: flip-flops with flip-flops, pumps with pumps, sneakers with sneakers.

Trim the Fat
Next, says organization expert Peter Walsh, place "any shoes you don't like, that don't fit, or that you haven't worn in six months" into a box marked "donate." Exceptions—like those almost-new hiking boots you haven't worn in years but swear you'll take camping this spring—must be put to a vote.

Find Your Target
Using a tape measure, determine how many pairs of shoes each person's closet can hold, either on the floor—where a pair requires about eight inches—or on existing shoe racks.

Selectively Reduce
Each person donates one pair from each category (sandals, running shoes, etc.) until his or her target is reached. Group input is encouraged.

Get rid of it for good: Soles4Souls has distributed more than 19 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries; to find a location near you that accepts donations, visit Soles4Souls.org.

More Ways to Tame Clutter

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    10 Easy Ways to Eliminate Your Beauty Junk Drawer
    Make room in your bathroom or control an overstuffed makeup bag with these unexpected (and affordable!) storage solutions.
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    Planter
    Put It All in a Planter
    Try stashing your cache of hairbrushes or your extensive lip gloss collection in a container traditionally used for flowers. Editorial assistant Talie Tebbi suspends this metal, lace-inspired version on her wall (instead of from the ceiling) using a picture hanger to make everything easy to reach. "It prevents delicate things, like powder compacts, from sliding around in a messy drawer," she says.

    $5, Ikea.com

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      Adam Glassman's Closet Cleanout Tips
      If the thought of cleaning out your closet gives you anxiety, use Adam's rules to help you weed out what you don't wear.
      Adam Glassman and Oprah

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      Rule 1: If you haven't worn something for over two years, get rid of it. "Even if it's pricey," Adam says. "Give it to a friend who will make good use of it. Sell it, donate it, put it on eBay."

      Rule 2: If it doesn't fit you anymore, get rid of it. "Hang it up on the door and call it closet art if you want that for inspiration," he says. "But truthfully, by the time someone gets back into a size, it may be out of style."

      Rule 3: Don't fantasy dress. Oprah says she bought a lot of purses she thought would be perfect for a lady who lunches, but she never had time to go to lunch. If an item fits the lifestyle you want but not the lifestyle you live, get rid of it.

      Rule 4: Everything in your closet should promote joy, beauty and usefulness. "You should feel pretty in it, and you should be comfortable in it," Adam says. "And it should be really practical."

      Rule 5: If something brings up a bad memory or has a negative energy around it, purge it. You'll never want to wear something that reminds you of a bad time, but donate it and hope somebody else can enjoy it.

      Rule 6: Get rid of duplicates. If you have a ton a of things that look the same, streamline.
      FROM: Oprah Cleans Out Her Closet, Plus Jimmy Fallon
      Published on February 26, 2010

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        Turn Your Clutter Into Cash
        Sure, spring-cleaning is about shedding the excess from your life, discovering hidden design potential in your home, clearing the piles of stuff so you can breathe a bit easier. But it's also the perfect time to add some weight to your wallet and spread goodwill along the way. Peter Walsh says you should keep two words in mind when clearing your clutter: cash and karma.
        Turn your clutter into cash.

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        Where to Start: Assess your clutter and reexamine your relationship with stuff, Peter says. "Does the stuff we have in our bedroom, does the stuff we have in our garage, does the stuff we have in our house build and sustain the bedrock of a relationship? That's what it's all about." 

        Take Action: Sort the belongings you are ready to get rid of into five piles: trash, keep, donate, swap and sell. 

        Turn a Profit: Split your sell pile into items you can sell online and pieces for a yard sale. "The stuff you sell online on average will get you four to five times as much as in a yard sale," Peter says. "Millions of people can see it, and that creates a bidding war." Designer clothing, electronics, sporting goods and collectibles can bring top dollar. Posting items on Craigslist is the best bet, Peter says, because it saves you shipping charges. 

        Make Karmic Cash: Take a look at your donate pile. Got an old prom dress? Consider passing it along to The Cinderella Project, and help out a magical night to a girl who can't otherwise afford a gown. Or, send your PC around the globe via The World Computer Exchange, which refurbishes your old hardware for disadvantaged kids. (Check out these other organizations for donating your unwanted stuff). "There are a whole lot of charities where your stuff can do such good to others. You can also get a bit of a tax write-off," Peter says. "The good that you do with the stuff you don't need, I believe will come back in karmic ways. Karmic cash." 

        Start Organizing: Use zones to create order in a crowded storage space like a closet or garage. Establish separate zones for, say, painting gear, Halloween costumes and gardening tools. Use bins or hanging shelves to create space in crowded closets, and make sure your hangers are all the same. This will give cramped quarters a sense of consistency and calm. 

        Got great organizing tips? Tell us how you earn cash from your clutter below! 


        Keep Reading
        Where to donate, recycle and sell almost anything
        Storage solutions from stylish women 
        5 finds that will change the way you handle clutter
        FROM: Nate's "How to Save You Big Cash" Makeovers
        Published on August 13, 2009

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          Finders, Keepers...Hoarders, Weepers
          What would your house look like if you never got rid of anything?
          Cluttered room
          Photo: Geof Kern

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          I'd like to say it was the mice that pushed me over the edge. It should have been the mice. But I ignored the evidence of their presence just as I ignored the towers of books and papers, the mountains of stuff everywhere.  Housekeeping has never been high on my priority list. By last spring, though, it had been years since I'd so much as glanced that far down the list. Even with the things a person needs to do to keep her family alive and non-naked, I was cutting corners, stopping on my way home from teaching a class to buy more underwear for all of us because that was easier than doing laundry. I had given up keeping house altogether.

          Okay, not altogether. I was still making a token effort at tidying—stacking my daughter's schoolwork, my students' papers, my own manuscripts, books, magazines, newspapers, and junk mail, and throwing small items (a watch with a broken strap, a stray battery or key) into one big bowl or basket or another. But the stacks were turning into heaps, the bowls and baskets had begun to multiply, and by last spring, every surface in the house seemed to be covered. The top of the upright piano was piled with leaning towers of sheet music, and next to the towers was a jumble of things I had set down "just for now." To eat dinner, we had to shove aside stacks of papers to make room for plates and elbows on the table. And in my study—once a sacrosanct place, a writer's haven—I had to pick my way through shopping bags that bulged with my 13-year-old daughter's outgrown clothes and multiple baskets of laundry I had managed to wash and dry but not put in drawers. In the closet, there were cardboard boxes full of memorabilia, manuscripts, letters, and Grace's baby things, her schoolwork, artwork, and picture books.

          And the closet was just for the things that had to stay clean and dry. Everything else we were saving was in the basement—a room I did my best to avoid. I didn't go down there unless I had to—and when I did, I kept my eyes trained straight ahead. I walked right by my husband's bed from before he moved in with me, and the two sets of rusting darkroom equipment and sagging cardboard boxes full of bottles of seeping darkroom chemicals. I didn't even glance at my daughter's disassembled crib and changing table and high chair, every bike she'd ever owned, two car seats and two booster seats, the plastic potty, the playpen, three broken vacuum cleaners, the motorcycle helmet, the space heater, and two window fans. I ignored the half dozen battered suitcases, some with broken zippers. The old tent. The four glass aquarium tanks. The grass skirt on a hanger, dangling from a pipe. The two shopping bags full of empty baby food jars in which once upon a time I had frozen my breast milk. I could go on, but I'm running out of space.

          Later, when i hire someone to help me deal with all of this, she would look around the basement and ask me, genuinely curious, "Have you ever thrown anything out?"

          "You mean, other than actual, you know, trash?" I said.

          She opened her mouth to say something, then closed it again. Her eyes were full of pity.

          By spring things were so bad, even my husband noticed—and housekeeping isn't even on his priority list. When he finishes a 14-hour day of painting in his studio, he sleeps; when he wakes up, the last thing he wants to do is clean—and who can blame him?
          PAGE 1 of 4

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