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Eliminate the clutter

Doris Benavides The Orange County Register

Maybe you’re getting ready to move or are cleaning up the inside of your home to put it on the market. Either way, you’re discovering you’ve got lots of junk cluttering up your living space. And it’s not pretty.

“Letting go” is the motto for eliminating that clutter, especially when moving into a new home.

“Most of my clients feel so bad getting rid of items that people give them that they hide them in the closet just to collect dust,” said Kiki Herr, owner of B&K, an organizing and interior decoration business in San Clemente, Calif.

Basically every part of any house — garage, home office, laundry room, kitchen and closets — contains unnecessary items, Herr said, based on her 15 years of experience organizing offices and homes and serving as personal shopper for celebrities such as singers Christina Aguilera and Seal.

Most people who hire organizers want all the organizing done for them; some even ask for periodic cleanups.

But there are those who just want to learn how to clean their space and keep it neat.

There is a place for some of your most treasured family memorabilia or favorite “junk,” but not for everything, Herr said.

Here are some of her tips for weeding out the clutter:

Get rid of it

If you have a collection you don’t want any longer, sell it or donate it. EBay is one place to start. Also estate sales and garage sales are recommended, and most organizers will also help with these sales.

Focus your time

You don’t have to do everything at once. Organize one room at a time, and concentrate on one area of that room.

If you start with the closet, keep your attention just on the closet. If you start to feel bored or tired, stop.

Trying to do everything all at once often leads to burnout — and you decide to chuck the whole project.

Sort through paperwork

Put papers in bins, then sort through one bin at a time so the task is less overwhelming. As you progress, put the paperwork into new file folders, and label their contents. The most important tools are a trash bag and a shredder. Toss reference materials; they can be found on the Internet.

Keep receipts and bills for no more than three years.

For business purposes, keep records for no more than seven years.

A spiral notebook will help to compile all those personal notes that tend to pile up.

Make it a priority

Set aside two hours a day so you can focus on organizing an area that really needs attention.

Make sure you let everyone know that you cannot be disturbed and that it is important you have this time to get things done.

Don’t overbuy

When people move, they tend to want to restock their refrigerator, home office, bedroom, bathroom or other spaces to make them look nice.

Make a shopping list and check your cupboards and supplies before you go to the grocery store.

Figure out what works

Finding a system that works for you is the best route.

Just because a system works great for a friend or acquaintance doesn’t mean it will work for you.

Donate

If you plan to lose a few pounds, hold on to clothing one or two sizes down. Donate everything else to charities.

The same applies to toys and books. If memories are attached to them, try to donate them anyway.

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