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Seven ways to de-clutter your life

Seven ways to de-clutter your life

Look around: Are you a hoarder? If your home is overflowing with clutter, it's time to get rid of the stuff you don't need, organise what's left and get a fresh start.

1. Think positive.
Write down a phrase that reflects exactly what you want, such as: "I want to move forward and become more in control of my life." Keep saying it and you’ll feel less daunted and more excited about having a clear-out.

2. Phone a friend.
Many clutter-clearing projects stagger to a halt under the weight of the emotion found in all your old stuff. A friend can move you forward when you pause too long over school reports or letters. Or, hire a professional organiser.

3. Now, ready...
Pick a time when you have at least three hours free. Choose one area or cupboard that has been annoying you the most. Don't get caught up in 'zig-zag' organising — running from one room to another.

4. Get set...
Have at least four strong garbage bags or big cardboard boxes handy. Label them "Rubbish", "Recycle", "Give Away" and "Belongs Elsewhere".

5. Start sorting!
Throw out clothes you haven't worn for the past two years — chances are you won't wear them again. If you have a computer, you don't need paper copies of everything. Toss 'no brainers', like old calendars and dried-out pens, straight into the rubbish. If you feel guilty about waste, take magazines to old people’s homes and children's toys to doctors' surgeries.

6. Put it away.
Once you know what you're keeping, decide where it all goes and what kind of system you need to store it. To keep things tidy, consider installing shelves and hooks, so you store upwards rather than spread out along bench and table-tops. Find containers that are attractive and handy: Stackable plastic boxes on wheels let you see what you have without lifting them, shoe pouches and shelf dividers keep clothes from getting messy, and bottle caddies help you store and move tools, make-up, cleaning products and baby needs easily.

7. Stop it from happening all over again.
The fact is, stuff will keep coming into your home — you just have to keep sending it right back out. Remember: bring in only what you really want, love, or need. Don't buy anything just because you're in a good mood (or a bad mood, or because it's on sale …)

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