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We are making progress. You've got all your clutter in piles. Now you need to decide which area to start on. I would suggest you start with the easiest place first. For me, this was the master bedroom. You will be new at this, but you need to do a time estimate for each step. Do not start a section until you are sure you have enough time to finish it and put it back together. For instance, if you think the closet step, coming up next, will take you 2 hours, then make sure you have 2 plus some in which to do it. Take my word for it, if you leave it undone it will be worse than if you had just left it alone.

Begin by making your bed; then empty your closet. Everything goes on the bed. Lay your clothes neatly so they don't wrinkle, (shoes can go on the floor), scarves, hats, belts, cameras, etc... it all comes out. Once it is empty, sweep the floor, and wipe off the shelves, bars and doors.

Now take a good hard look at your closet. Is it like mine and poorly made, or does it have plenty of shelves and places for things to go? You are going to make your closet accessible and useful, easy to get things in and out of, and easy to put things away in. This requires you to have what I call "centers".

I have a shoe center, now-season center, off-season center, miscellaneous center, storage center, and empty hanger center. Things of like use go together in the different centers.

I have one tiny shelf in my closet, so I had to be ingenious. My closet is long and narrow with a small door. Here's what I did. I bought 2 hanging shoe holders for my shoes. They are made out of canvas and are hung at the left end of the closet in a recess. In this I put ONLY the shoes I knew I would wear. The rest of the shoes go in either the storage box for seasonal use, the trash, or the give away/garage sale box. Every pair has to go in one of those places - and be honest - if you haven't worn them for 5 years, well, you know where they can go.

Next, I bought some of those plastic things that have hooks at both ends and 5 holes for hangers to fit into. Once they are filled with hangers, they drop down and there is only one hook on the bar. I use these for all my seasonal hanging clothes. These went into the back recess of my closet where it is extremely hard to get to, but I only have to do it a couple of times a year. Cover the shoulders with plastic or tissue paper if you have a lot of dust. Again, be honest - if you haven't worn it, or it doesn't fit - out it goes into the give-away or trash box.

Now hang up all the clothes for the current season. Get rid of anything that doesn't fit or you really don't like. Be ruthless.

If you have plenty of shelf room, you can get some plastic see-through storage containers and fill them with sweaters, belts, purses, and things that you need AND use. It's nice to be able to see the contents, but labels work well for opaque boxes.

I have a couple of pair of shoes I use often on my floor, and also a basket for dirty clothes. My unused guitar is in the back of the closet. I also store my camera and a shoe cleaning kit on my tiny shelf. You can put other things in your closet, but make sure that this is the best place to put the item.

You should be nearing the end of the pile of stuff on your bed. Don't just reclutter your closet because you don't know what to do with something. It's ok to put an item in the goes-somewhere-else box if you are not sure what to do with it.

Your closet is officially done! You can repeat the procedure with your dresser, vanity, bedside table and under the bed. Here are a few tips. I keep extra make-up in a basket on my floor. I also have a basket underneath the vanity for hair appliances and tall bottles. I store plastic containers with seasonal clothes under my bed. Extra blankets go in a box under the bed (or between mattresses) in the hot seasons. Extra sheets go in a drawer in the room where they are used instead of a central linen closet. I have only one spare set of sheets per bed, plus a set of flannels for our bed for winter use. Keep a trash can with bags in every room and gather them up once a week on trash day.

If you have read my section on Stations, you will realize that you can clean and declutter your whole room in just one week of afternoons. After you do this ONCE it becomes maintenance. Maintain your closet on a daily basis, same with the other areas of the room. What this means is, never put anything where it does not belong. Shoes go in the shoe rack, clothes go on hangers on in the basket to wash. Make-up and appliances are always put back where they go.

The rule to remember is:

Establish a place for everything, then always put things where they go.


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