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Clutter Clean - Up

If you feel you don’t have the time to organize every nook and cranny, start with these quick and easy steps:

1. Do the 5-things DashWalk into each room of your home with a box or garbage bag and choose five things you can throw out or donate. Choose duplicates or items that are worn out, outdated or rarely used.

2. Eliminate the ExpiredGather all your medication, vitamins, and over-the counter drugs in a bin. While listening to music or relaxing in front of the TV, begin looking at each item’s expiry date. Have a bag nearby to toss the outdated items and take them to the drug store for safe disposal. Store current medications in a cool, dark place out of children’s reach.

3. Toss the ToiletriesJust before brushing your teeth every night or jumping in the shower in the morning, spend just 5 minutes getting rid of bath, skin and hair products that didn’t live up to their promises. By the end of the week, you’ll have more storage space in your bathroom and easier access to the items you use regularly.

4. Clear the CountersRemove anything you don’t use daily from your kitchen counters. Put out an attractive bowl or basket as a catch-all for items that usually end up cluttering the counters. When the container is full, spend a few minutes going through it and either purge items or place them where they belong. Reward your efforts by displaying a vase of fresh flowers or a pot of spring bulbs on your counters.

5. Eliminate Under-Used UtensilsWhile waiting for water to boil or the oven to preheat, go through your utensil drawer and eliminate items you don’t use. Go through your kitchen ‘junk drawer’ and see what treasures you’ve forgotten about and what trash you can remove.

6. Move it ElsewhereEach time you leave a room, get into the habit of scanning it to see which items don’t belong in the space. If any of those items go in the room you are heading towards, take them with you. If something belongs upstairs, place it in a wicker basket you keep at the bottom of the stairs and take it to the proper room next time you go up.

7. Get the Family in GearMake a game out of de-cluttering by getting the whole family involved. Give everyone a box, put on some up-beat music, set a timer and see who can discard the most items from their room. Take the donations to charity and then choose a token prize for the winner and a reward for the entire family.

8. Do the Season-SwapNow is the time to put away the winter coats, boots and wooly hats and bring out the sun hats, rain jackets and umbrellas. Be sure to dry-clean all items before storing, even if they look clean. Body oils and not-yet-visible food stains attract moths. If you don’t have an extra closet, a rolling garment rack stored in the basement or spare room is ideal for winter coats during the summer

.9. Cut Clothing ClutterPut aside about half an hour to step into your closet and pull out any winter items you didn’t wear this year, while it’s still fresh in your mind. If you didn’t wear it this winter, you likely won’t wear it next, so let it go now rather than storing it for another year.

10. ‘Cut the Cord’ on ElectronicsAttached to your electrical gadgets? Perhaps it’s time to make a clean break. As we acquire the latest and greatest gadgets, we also need to get rid of the old, obsolete ones so that electronic clutter doesn’t take over our space. Gather up all the electronics you no longer use or want and take them to a nearby recycling depot, where they will be reused or recycled safely rather than end up in landfills. Look up a no-cost drop off locations in your area. Hellen Buttigieg

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