Clutter-Busting Secrets of the Pros
Start in the upper left-hand corner of one wall and start "reading" from left to right and from top to bottom. "The room is a book, a dresser is a chapter, each drawer is a paragraph, the boxes or trays or Ziploc bags in the drawers are the sentences, and the things in the containers are the words," says Alice Winner, an organizing consultant in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania. "Get rid of the extra words―things―that are making your life more complicated and unmanageable."
- Any time you feel your attention straying to another part of the room or house, take a break or simply repeat, "Left to right, left to right."
- Resist the urge to skip "chapters." If you jump around the room, dealing with a pile here and a pile there, the room might still look cluttered after a three-hour session.
- Find a motivator for your work. Tack up an image from a magazine or book of a room you'd like to emulate.
Why It Works
- It's difficult to determine the best place to plunge into an organizing project. This eliminates that problem: Just go straight to the upper left-hand corner of one wall. It also curtails aimlessness, because you always know what to tackle next.
- You provide yourself with a prototype as you go. Say you're editing your filing cabinets, and you feel your focus flagging as you encounter another overstuffed folder labeled "Miscellaneous." Look at the drawer you've just completed for a visual reminder of what all the drawers will look like when you're done.