Who doesn’t want to declutter and save money at the same time? Professional organizer Monica Friel recommends you focus on three key areas that attract clutter: Your closets, the garage, and your basement or attic.
1. Clear closets and donate
Start by making a “donate” pile. Donating unwanted clothing and other items can save space (and money, come tax time). Just be sure to get a receipt for your records and know that some locations prefer to schedule pickups for furniture or larger donations.
For the bulky, winter clothes you intend to keep, consider storing them in Ziploc® Space Bag® products to stay organized and save a bunch of space.
2. Don’t forget the garage
The garage can be a clutter collection zone that’s more important than you think.
“It’s kind of a window to what the rest of your home is like,” said Friel, who runs her own Chicago-based organizational business called Chaos to Order.
So do a seasonal purge or re-organization. For example, in the spring, put away shovels, salt and snow brushes. As the weather warms up, use Ziploc® brand Big Bags to store large toys and items such baseballs and footballs. “The same change of season cleaning that we do to closets, we should do for the garage,” Friel says.
Again, donating items creates space, saves money and helps a good cause. So toss what you don’t need or haven’t used in the past year.
3. Tackle the mess in the basement
While you’re in cleaning mode, channel that momentum into tackling a bigger project such as the basement or attic.
“Now is the time to dig into the tough projects,” Friel says. Too often, homeowners get overwhelmed by overly-cluttered areas and avoid them. “They say, ‘Oh my goodness!’ and turn around and walk upstairs,” she says.
If you’re guilty of this behavior, here are some tips to turn a dreaded chore into a less-daunting task:
Pump up the volume. Make a de-clutter playlist full of high-energy tunes.
Break it down. Devote a block of time to one area of the basement and focus until it’s done.
All together now. Enlist the family and do short bursts of cleanup, meaning each person picks up 20 things in the next 15 minutes.
Create rewards. After the task is finished, watch a favorite television show or movie. Or award prizes to the person who picks up the most.