Each spring and fall, do CPR on your closet: Categorize, Purge, and Rearrange. Carefully consider each item. If it doesn't make you feel wonderful or look fabulous, it's a no. Put it in the "to donate" box, and put that box in your car.
Declutter and Donate
Keep a donation hamper in your closet. Every two weeks select an item of clothing you haven't worn in the past six months and throw it in. When the hamper is full, take it to a local charitable organization.
Save Your Linen Closet
Is your linen closet overflowing? Pare down your stock to three towels and washcloths per persons, two sets of sheets per bed, plus a set of each for guests.
Create an indoor mailbox in a central location. Set a time to go through the box once a week. Open everything, pay bills, file important correspondence, and recycle junk mail.
Recipe for Organization
Have a pile of cookbooks gathering dust? Scan and print the one or two recipes you use the most often, then donate the book. Same goes for recipes in magazines. Tear out the relevant pages, then recyle the rest. Put the pages into clear plastic pockets in a three-ring binder. You've just made yourself a customized cookbook with plenty of room to grow.
Give frequently accessed papers (takeout menus, sports schedules, phone directories) a dedicated spot rather than leaving them in a pile on the counter or stuck to the fridge. Three-hole punch all that paper, then store it in a pretty binder with labeled tabs.
Declutter on a Dime
Shop dollar stores for storage bins and baskets, then buy a bunch in the same color. Displayed in multiples, inexpensive plastic or cloth bins look calm and organized -- and they offer tons of storage space.
Extra Storage Space
Use the backs of doors and cupboards for bonus storage space. Shallow shelves, hooks, and over-the-door organizers make convenient spots for items that are chronically homeless.
Create zones for kitchen tasks you do on a regular basis, such as making lunches or baking. Designate a shelf for everything you need for the job, including nonperishable foods and special tools or utensils.
An Orderly Nightstand
Designate your nightstand as a clutter-free zone that's a pleasure to wake up to. Limit yourself to a reasonable number of books. Set out a tray to hold change and jewelry. Park a basket below for blankets or magazines.
The next time you sit down to watch TV, pull out a drawer, any drawer. During commercials, sort the contents into four piles: keep, toss, donate or sell, and items to relocate. Then put back only the keepers, using expandable organizers to keep them tidy.
Junk Drawer Strategy
Tackle your junk drawer first. Remove anything you don't use at least monthly, then sort what's left into compartments of an organizer that completely fills the drawer. You won't have room to stash things that don't belong there.
Streamline your cleaning products into five basics: all-purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, wood polish, abrasive cleaner for bathroom and kitchen, and floor cleaner.
Don't get stuck at the grocery store without your reusable grocery bags again. As soon as you unload groceries, put the bags back in your car or on a designated hook by the door.
When you're trying to decide whether to keep something, ask yourself three questions: Do I love it? Do I use it? Could someone else use it?
Tailored to You
A system that's a natural extension of your habits is easier to stick with than one that forces dramatic change. So set up solutions right where clutter collects, such as a labeled pail for each family member's shoes and other equipment in a bookshelf right by the door.