(Family Features) If yours is like the average American household, you have amassed a collection of unorganized stuff, tucked away in piles or behind closed doors to deal with "later." Establishing good organization habits and creating proper storage areas can transform that chaos now and set the stage for less mess in the future.
Following are some simple tips to help make your apartment or home clutter free, and get you started with some new habits to keep disorganization at bay.
1. Don't buy things you don't need. Living clutter free gives you a better perspective of what you have, so you don't make unnecessary purchases, which can be costly and only add to the clutter in your home. Be wary of accumulating "aspirational clutter" - things you plan to use someday, but never quite get around to using. Though tempting, also avoid freebies and gifts with purchase that you don't really need. Remember, clutter creates more clutter.
2. Create zones. In other words, make a space for everything. Your entryway can become a repository, so sort mail immediately (recycle what you don't need), hang coats rather than draping them on available furniture and use a shoe bin or tray to organize pairs you wear frequently.
In the bedroom closet, use vertical space to create additional storage with organizing units. Wood organizers such as ClosetMaid Impressionstm offer an attractive way to de-clutter with kits and add-on pieces that let you create a customized storage system for your personal needs. A second shoe rack in the closet helps organize shoes you wear less often. In the living room, create specific storage spaces for remotes, blankets, gaming equipment and other items using storage bins and containers that complement your décor.
3. Reset yourself. Every night before you turn in, take a few moments to put things where they belong. This gives you a fresh, stress-free start in the morning and peace of mind knowing where everything you need is located.
4. Turn clutter into cash. Motivate yourself to de-clutter by making money on your unused and unwanted possessions. You can sell gently used clothing to local consignment shops, or donate to Goodwill, Salvation Army or another nonprofit organization. Remember to get a donation receipt, because you may be able to take a tax deduction.