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the best advice you've received

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
i thought it would be fun to do a thread of the most helpful decluttering/organizing advice we've each heard, read, or whatever.

my favorite is, only keep things you use or love. (there are other variations of this, but "useful" doesn't matter if you don't actually use it, and "beautiful" doesn't either, if you don't actually love it.)

dh's favorite is setting the timer for 15 minutes, going at it like a madman, and then stopping when the timer goes off. he sees it as a challenge to accomplish as much as he possibly can in that span of time, without feeling obligated to *finish* organizing, cleaning, or what-have-you.

okay, now i'm ready for your words of wisdom! i need them!

klaus 9-8-05
sonnen 3-25-07
post #2 of 40
I read Tim Gunn's book on style and he said keep only what you love and what looks good on you. And wear everything you own (and if you don't - donate it). My closet is a lot neater and less stuffed and I feel better about what I am wearing. It was like permission to donate all that stuff I spent money on and never wore because it did not fit right but I was keeping because I had spent money on it. And all it did was add clutter to my closet. And now I use his motto before I buy anything. The best result is I spend less on clothing now. I have to LOVE it and it has to look good or I do not even take it home.
post #3 of 40
Everything needs to be in its place. If it doesn't have one, find one or out it goes.
post #4 of 40
These are great!

Mine is "Let the library store your books for you" because I have a very hard time getting rid of books.
post #5 of 40
Hands down: For every new thing you bring into the house, throw out or donate/give away something else.
post #6 of 40
post #7 of 40
Thread Starter 
these are great! keep 'em coming . . .

i really wanted tim gunn's guide to style. i doubt my local library has it (yet?) but i bet i could find it used on amazon by now. hmm. maybe i will wait and see what i get for christmas. my mil usually does barnes&noble gift cards!

i would like to apply the "for every new thing you bring in" rule when we bring home our christmas gifts. i actually find it stressful to bring home all that *stuff* that doesn't have a place to be put away yet, but if we just remove an equal amount of stuff, then it will have a place!

thanks ladies!
post #8 of 40
i'm really really enjoying another poster's suggestion to get to zero by the end of every day...resetting the house. it has inspired me to keep my kitchen at its default setting every evening, and maintain it throughout the day - so much better! i look around the house and see what the basic state should be for every area, it has helped me to put the bathroom in a different order than i might otherwise! getting laundry to zero is getting a load washed, dried + put away...not sitting in baskets. i've actually begun to apply it everywhere, so i'm working on getting our finances reset each month - credit cards zeroed, all accounts at least to in the black, and growing. all of this is just helping me think about how i want things, and how to keep things put away in their home, restored to order, daily.

post #9 of 40
Great ideas! I love the one "only keep things you love". I am not a packrat by any means, i love cleaning out my storage area once a month and donating/selling new items, but it seems i have a problem getting rid of stuff like old bills, paperwork, i'm always scared i'm going to need it.
post #10 of 40
This isn't a pithy phrase, but something that has really worked for me is that for everything I'm debating whether to keep in the house or not, I analyze the actual cost of keeping it. Is it worth the storage space in our house? How much do I pay per square foot in mortgage a month, and is the value of this item to me greater or less than that? Is it worth the extremely high cost of moving, if we have to move from our beloved small house to a big house to store this item and other clutter?

Keep 'em coming! I love this topic!
post #11 of 40
One I've recently learned from a MDC mama is "erase the evidence" So, for instance, if you go to the kitchen to make a snack put everything away before you leave the kitchen.
Simple, and it works! Plus it makes me feel like I'm doing something "bad" when I'm doing something good, which makes it fun and more motivating.
post #12 of 40
If you're addicted to accumulation, think of space as a possession and work at getting more of it every day by eliminating everything else.
post #13 of 40
Thread Starter 
ooh, i love the idea of obsessively trying to acquire more open space.
post #14 of 40
post #15 of 40
pick up things and put them away at the end of every day.

Easier said than done, but it does feel great to wake up to a clean house. Even if it doesn't stay that way for long.
post #16 of 40
Originally Posted by Eclectica View Post
Mine is "Let the library store your books for you" because I have a very hard time getting rid of books.
Brilliant! I love this
post #17 of 40
I like the idea of only keeping what your storage furniture can hold. So, if you have too many books to fit on the shelf, (get a bigger shelf) or better yet, get rid of some books! I realized I had too many towels to fit in our towel space but I didn't realize it because there were always tons of towels in the laundry. duh... we have fewer towels now
post #18 of 40
If you haven't worn an article of clothing in over a year, donate it, give it away.
post #19 of 40


You don't climb a mountain by looking at it.
Little steps will get you there and you'll hardly notice the effort until you're at the top, marveling at how far you've come.
post #20 of 40
One of my friends argues that it's all about convincing the mind and actions will follow. I used to kid her about her New-Agey ways, but over the years she has convinced me that some of her little tricks are very useful!

From her I learned to say "It's so EASY to ______."

Like, "It's so easy to take a few minutes to clear off the counter."
"It's so easy to wash the dishes right now."
"It's so easy to take 15 minutes to sort this bookshelf."

Try it...it helps! Wow! Life is so EASY!

Another of her favs was, "I have *plenty of time* to do the things I want to do." (Used that one a lot at work when I was super busy and had a lot to get done and was feeling stressed...)
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