It’s the second half of the decluttering plan for the year. Stay on track for a clutter-free home. Read on…
July: Yard, shed, garage and tools
Being outdoors in midsummer makes this a good time to get outdoor tools and equipment in order.
- Get rid of broken tools and those you no longer need
- Sort through gardening supplies
- Toss worn-out outdoor furnishings and decor
- If you’ve been collecting items to sell, hold a yard sale this month. At the end of the day, take unsold items to a charity donation center
Habit to cultivate: Keep everything in your garage or shed on shelving, not on the floor. This helps prevent accumulating a pileup of junk and keeps your gear cleaner.
Photos seem to be one of the most problematic items for many people to keep organized. Use the lazy days of August to sort through old photos and make books or prints from new ones.
- Choose a few favorite photos from this year and have them framed
- Edit digital photos and back up using a cloud service as well as an external drive
- Make a photo album or book from recent photos
- Sort through any bins of loose photos and put them in acid-free photo boxes or simple albums
Habit to cultivate: Take a few extra moments to tag favorite digital photos each time you upload. Then when it’s time to print or make an album, you can go straight to your favorites.
September: Mudroom, entrances and junk drawers.
Embrace the back-to-school spirit (whether or not you have kids) by getting the busiest zones of your house clutter-free this month.
- Put away stray items in entrances that belong elsewhere
- Add extra hooks or shelves if you need them to help corral items
- Sort through junk drawers, baskets, trays and any other spots that accumulate random junk
- Invest in drawer organizers or a wall-mounted organizer to keep small items neat
Habit to cultivate: Do an end-of-day tidy-up of the entryway, putting shoes, coats and random items back where they belong.
October: Dining room and entertainment supplies.
With the big holidays coming up over the next few months, October is a good time to get ahead of the curve and sort out your entertaining arsenal.
- Get rid of worn-out and stained tablecloths, placemats and napkins
- Count your dinnerware and serving pieces and consider whether you have enough, too much or too little for the amount you entertain
- Get rid of decor, table linens and serving pieces that you don’t like or that no longer fit your lifestyle
Habit to cultivate: Just like creating a wardrobe with lots of pieces that work together, think of creating an entertaining wardrobe that you can mix and match, rather than having lots of distinct sets of dishes.
November: Hobbies and crafts.
Get ready for holiday crafting and gift wrapping by clearing out your stash and organizing supplies this month.
- Clean out gift-wrapping supplies, tossing empty tape dispensers, out-of-ink pens and shreds of gift wrap and ribbon
- Downsize your craft stash by donating spare fabric scraps, yarn, scrapbooking paper and other materials — many organizations (schools, retirement centers and the like) are happy to accept donations of craft supplies, and there are even some craft-specific donation centers, like Scrap in San Francisco
- Keep works in progress together in bags, bins or boxes
Habit to cultivate: Take the time to put away your craft supplies neatly when you are done working. A messy stash makes it more likely you will buy something you already have simply because you couldn’t find it!
December: Holiday items and decor.
With so much going on around the holidays, it’s wise not to expect too much of yourself when it comes to clutter-clearing. That said, with all of the new gifts coming in, it does make sense to do some paring back to preserve balance in the house.
- Give away holiday ornaments and decor that you did not use this year, or that you no longer love
- Toss broken ornaments and recycle strands of lights that no longer work
- Exchange or give away gifts you received but know you will never use, and do not like — don’t keep things out of guilt. The one exception to this rule may be hand-knit sweaters. The knitter will never forgive you; that’s just how it is.
Habit to cultivate: Tell friends and family who ask (in advance of the holidays) that you and your family would prefer gifts that are experiential or edible. Most people honestly want to give you something you will like, and are happy for the guidance.
By: Laura Gaskill