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Whether it’s within your home or personal life, the act of simplifying can be quite profound. It creates breathing space, both physical and emotional, and provides a sense of satisfaction, clarity, and calm. After all, for most people, calm and clutter do not go hand in hand.

But while the goal to live a less cluttered, more simplified life might be very appealing, the challenge lies in getting started. So if you’ve put off this daunting task because you don’t know where to start, here are 7 simple tips to get your living space in shape, one drawer or task at a time.

  • Consider your home and your lifestyle and set a clear, attainable goal. You might not be able to dedicate the time and energy to purge your entire home in a week. On the flip side, you might lose focus and steam by only tackling one drawer per week.
  • Give yourself 15 minutes a day to straighten up and declutter. Set a timer to help keep you focused and on task.
  • Apply the 4 box rule. Whether working on the junk drawer or an entire room, bring in 4 boxes and label them as Keep, Trash, Donate, and Relocate. Every item has to go into one of those boxes, and only those in the Keep box get placed back where they were or in a newly freed up space that makes them more easily obtainable.
  • Make a plan to have a place for everything, and put items where they belong right away. Remember, it takes longer to catch up than it does to maintain.
  • Go electronic when and where you can. If mail piling up gets you down, for example, consider going paperless. Use your desktop or smartphone calendar to keep track of to-dos, appointments, and important dates. You can also pay your bills and renew subscriptions electronically.
  • Turn sentimental into something useful. If you can’t stand to part with baby clothes, considering having them turned into a blanket or throw. Or simply pick out a truly special few and place them in a keepsake box, then donate the rest.
  • When deciding whether or not to keep an item, ask yourself these questions: Have I used it within the past year? Do I need it? Is it useful, meaningful, or beautiful?

While parting can be such sweet sorrow, creating a clutter-free environment can be way more beautiful, sweet, and rewarding.

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