The Declutter Detox
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Spring cleaning—though it sounds great in theory—can be a daunting task. You may not have Hoarders-level junk piled around your place, but "clutter, both mental and physical, can decrease your productivity and cause constant, low-grade stress," says Barbara Reich, professional organizer and author of Secrets of an Organized Mom.
There's enough stress in your life from work, relationships, etc., without letting that pile of junk mail add to it—so take these seven simple steps from Reich to de-clutter all that space-hogging stuff, one day at a time. (Next step: Try a 7-Day Digital Detox that doesn't involve ditching your phone for a week.)
Day 1: Dump Your Duplicates
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If you have multiples of anything—two coffee makers, three ladles, two copies of the same book—it's time to donate them, says Reich. We promise you don't need a back-up blender. (Clean yours the right way and it'll last you a lifetime.)
Day 2: Corral Miscellaneous Items
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There's probably a spot where you throw all those random things you have in your hands and pockets when you walk in the door (chargers, keys, wallet, etc.). Instead of dumping it all into a pile on your counter or scattering it throughout the house, designate a tray to corral it all (which will look cute and keep things from "running away").
Day 3: Stop the Junk Mail Madness
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Of all the mail you've gotten in the past week, how much of it is stuff you actually need or look at? Yeah, we thought so. You can reduce unwanted catalogs, new credit card offers, blah blah blah, with a free services like Catalog Choice or OptOutPrescreen.com, which send opt-out requests on your behalf. (Aggressively unfollowing people and brands on social is also a good idea, as this writer demonstrated.)
Day 4: Ditch Your Old Duds
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Think about how much space you'd have if you finally got rid of it all those clothes you've been swearing you'll wear forever but haven't actually taken off the hanger in six months. Reich recommends getting rid of clothes that are stained, pilled, or beyond repair, and ones that are too big and too small. Save the space in your closet and drawers for clothes that you really love and wear. (And you know what that means: more room for amazing workout leggings!)
Day 5: Do the Expiration Date Detox
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Toss expired toiletries and medication. "Discarding these items is non-emotional, immensely satisfying, and takes little time," says Reich. Ditto for the rows of expired condiments and stale crackers in your refrigerator and pantry. (That way, you'll actually have room to do that whole meal-prep thing you've been meaning to try.)
Day 6: Play Matchmaker
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Now that you've gotten rid of a bunch of unwanted stuff, it's time to organize what you do have. Group like items together—like stashing all your bobby pins in one container and keeping all pens in one drawer. "Whether you're dealing with batteries, light bulbs, black sweaters, or jars of peanut butter, this is the only way you'll know how much you have and when you need more. It's the only way to prevent buying what you already have and don't need," says Reich.
Day 7: Dress It Up Nice
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Last but not least, make all your hard work look pretty; Reich recommends using uniform hangers, labels, and containers throughout your place. "This will eliminate visual noise and make closets, pantries, and drawers more peaceful to peruse," she says. Guys, that's basically an excuse to troll Pinterest for hours. You're welcome.