When it comes to tackling clutter, it's okay to take shortcuts, says Jeff Bredenberg. Instead of worrying about being a perfectionist or implementing some complex organizational scheme, opt for simple, real-life solutions that work for you, he says. Peter talks with Jeff, author of How to Cheat at Organizing: Quick, Clutter-Clobbering Ways to Simplify Your Life, about his pared-down tips for decluttering.
Strip: Pull everything out of the cluttered storage area, pantry and closet so you can assess what you have.
Scrap: From foods you never eat to clothes you never wear, throw away the stuff that is "no longer good, no longer relevant to your here-and-now life," Jeff says.
Sort: Put like things with like. "Cluster them together into easily understood groupings," he says.
Store: Return items back into their appropriate storage areas using proper storage bins and boxes.
Jeff also shares these clutter-busting tips:
Celebrate throwing things out. Jeff says we need to balance the desire to acquire new possessions with an equal and opposite desire to toss out old, unused things.
Go for quality, not quantity. Whether it's tools or shoes or clothes, instead of buying lots of poor-quality stuff, invest in fewer items of higher quality that will last much longer.
Buy duplicates. Rather than lugging things around or scrambling to find what you need, simply keep duplicates of essentials items in various locations such as your gym bag, car or bathroom. "At any time in your life, these items are instantly accessible to you when you need them," Jeff says.
Printed from Oprah.com on Monday, December 9, 2013