Step 4: Learn the Game Rules
You have the plan and the room, now do it! Here are some guidelines that should keep you on track to a clutter-free home.

Start on time. You have a lot of work ahead of you! Your commitment to this project is your first step toward creating the life you want to have. Don't put it off for another second.

Don't argue. Have the whole family work together on one area so you can give one another guidance. Listen with respect when you talk about whether to keep something. Remember, save the hard decisions for later and don't argue about whose stuff is taking up all the space.

Don't waste time. Now is not the time to take a trip down memory lane. Touch each item once, make a decision and move on. Also, no breaks or phone calls. This is a workday!

Make your piles. Move stuff out of the room and into three piles: trash, keep and donate. As you do, assess your progress. Remember, the trash pile should be growing—and quickly.

Don't stop until you're done. The last thing you want is to end the day with a bigger mess than when you started. Finish the job. Bag up all the trash and put it in bins. Return all the "keep" items to their proper places. Move your charity donations to a specific location, drop them off or prepare them for pickup.

Evaluate and congratulate. As you finish the quick purge, you will make discoveries. You may find yourself feeling attached to things you know you shouldn't keep. One family member may want to keep something another one doesn't. Take the time to discuss your discoveries from the day.

Go to step 5: Do it all over again
Excerpted from It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh. Copyright © 2007 by Peter Walsh. Reprinted by permission from Free Press, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.


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