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Organizing Your Home

As Published In Smead Organomics
Organizing Your Home

Publicity -- Smead Organomics

How many times have you thought about decluttering/organzing your home — then been scared away by the size of the task? You’re not alone! We all keep things that we don’t need and don’t use. But the key to cleaning out is moving past indecisiveness — a few “reality check” questions will help you stop being overwhelmed by the clutter in your life.

When Was The Last Time I Used It?

If you haven’t needed it in the past 12 months, chances are you won’t use it in the next year either (tuxedos and punch bowls, aside). But if an textbook or bowling ball you’ve not handled in decades means that much to you, store it with your keepsakes. Better yet, take a picture for your scrapbook and donate/sell it — just don’t take up valuable space in active storage areas with items you don’t use regularly.

When Will I Ever Need This Again?

Be honest about this one! At what point will a green shag toilet-seat cover be crucial to your survival? If you can picture a specific, concrete instance when you’ll reference that bank statement from 1973 in the foreseeable future, by all means keep it. However, “I might need it someday” isn’t a good enough rationale. Figure out when and if that someday will occur — if you can’t come up with a solid answer, it’s out of here!

Why Would I Need It?

Are you keeping clothes that no longer fit, appliances that don’t work, or 16 pairs of scissors when two would suffice? Why? A good rule of thumb is to only keep an item if it is, “beautiful, useful, or loved.” Otherwise, what purpose is it serving in your life? And what would it take to make a broken toaster useful or that scratched-up chair beautiful again? Are you willing to invest the time and effort? If not, buy-bye!

Who Would Ask Me For It?

People often hang onto stuff out of fear, because they’re worried that someone will ask them for it at some undetermined point in the future. If you’re talking tax paperwork (and the consequences involve the IRS or police), keep it — if not, think twice. Hanging onto an ugly lamp that Aunt Martha gave you in case she comes to visit isn’t a sign of respect — it’s creating clutter.

What Will Happen If I Get Rid Of It?

If you feel anxious about discarding an item, try to picture the worst thing that would happen if you got rid of it. Let your imagination run wild — your “worst case scenario” probably isn’t that bad. Will the world end if you toss out that ring binder you haven’t used since college? Nope. And when you picture how much better your life will be sans the clutter (with more space, less stress, and less mess) — suddenly, the decision is easy!

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

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