shutterstock_168163970Clutter is an inevitable fact of life; it accumulates almost by itself and, if left to its own devices, quickly grows out of control. This mess isn’t going anywhere by itself. It takes a conscious effort to clean the clutter, and for that it is necessary to have a game plan. While the process itself is time-consuming and requires a significant amount of forethought, there is good news: once everything is organized, it’s that much easier to maintain a nice, clean space. Two or three positive daily habits should be all that is required to keep your home clean in the long-term!
There are four steps to eliminate clutter:

  • Donate
  • Organize
  • Clean
  • Define habits

These steps seem daunting at first, but are really very simple to accomplish. With a plan of action in mind, anyone can make their home look as if it just sprung from the pages of a magazine. Say hello to your dream home and goodbye to cluttered closets with this step-by-step guide to home organization rehab!

Go through each room in your home and look at what you haven’t worn or used in the last year. Are you still hanging on to that juicer from your 1995 wedding? Is there a stack of ugly sweaters lurking somewhere just waiting to be eaten by moths? Do a little soul searching and find it in yourself to let go of these items. Even if something was a gift, the important thing is that you have your friendship with that person. Give yourself permission to focus on the emotional relationships you’ve built and drop the need to cling to physical objects.

So, how do you locate a charity once you’ve compiled items to donate? Do a quick online search for local groups that might be in need of items. Is there any particular cause you feel an affinity toward? Consider whether you want to support domestic violence survivors, veterans, the homeless, or even animal rescue organizations. Also consider whether you are able to drop off donation items at the charity’s physical location or if they offer pick-up services.

Once you have selected a group, try to look up the details on Charity Navigator. Evaluate the charity’s financial score as well as their accountability and transparency. These items are crucial to make sure your donations really benefit the causes you intend. For charities not listed on Charity Navigator, check sites such as Charity Watch to make sure no red flags have been raised. Donate intelligently and avoid popular scams.

A few organizations to consider during your search:
Who benefits: Vietnam Veterans of America
Pick-up Available: Yes

Habitat for Humanity
Who benefits: Your local ReStore location
Pick-Up Available: Yes

Purple Heart Pick-up
Who benefits: Veterans
Pick-Up Available: Yes

Organizing an entire home will take some time, so give yourself permission to move slowly. Break up the responsibility of organizing the house and tackle one room at a time to prevent burn-out. Intersperse organizing with Pinterest binges (yes, really!) to research fun DIY options and lifehacks that could make the home beautifying process easier.

It is possible to speed up this process by calling a home organization professional. Companies like Boston Closet Co. offer free in-home design consultations with trained professional designers. Closet organization companies create more than custom shoe racks – options are available for every room of the home! Enjoy a wide variety of custom shelving options, pegboard and cabinets to instantly create more usable space in the laundry room, living room, garage, and pantry.

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Having a clean home makes you want to keep it clean! Employ the use of green cleaning agents from brands like Ecover, Seventh Generation, or Mrs. Meyer’s. These non-toxic products are safe for use around children and pets. Bonus: these brands smell incredible, so your home will be fresh as a summer’s day when you are finished. For glass surfaces, mix one part vinegar with two parts water for an all-natural glass cleaner that doesn’t streak or leave residue behind.

For an even easier clean, call a green cleaning company. The Boston area is home to numerous eco-friendly cleaning services who can transform your space from dingy to dazzling in a matter of hours.

It’s easier to keep a home clean than it is to clean it once everything is dirty. Identify your biggest “trouble spots,” such as a counter where mail is continuously dropped or a pile of dirty clothes that keeps reappearing in your bedroom. As you determine each area of concern, develop one technique to perform daily that will fix the problem. For instance, the mail could be opened and recycled immediately instead of lingering on the counter. It could also become a habit to pick up clothes once daily before bed to prevent large piles from accumulating on the floor. Practice these habits regularly – after all, it takes 90 days of regular practice before something truly becomes a part of your routine.

With these helpful hints, it’s easy to imagine a spotless home where organization solutions abound. The community around you will benefit from household donations and your family will breathe easy in a clean, more livable space. Practice these tips on a daily basis for results that last a lifetime.

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