- Divide your clutter into piles of related stuff.
- Label the piles.
- Finish sorting before you toss anything (if an item belongs in another room, just put it outside the door until later--don't let yourself get distracted for now).
- Go pile by pile, throwing out anything that's obviously junk
- Go through again, asking yourself if you really use everything. If not, donate it.
- Toss cords if you can't find what they go to.
- Keep and store photographs, but throw out nicknacks and memorabilia (memories remain even if you throw things away).
- Throw out magazines more than a month old and newspapers more than a week old unless you reference them often.
- Toss expired warranties, expired insurance policies, and old instructions.
- Figure out where things should go in the room.
- Place items you use frequently in easy-to-reach places. Items you use less often can go in less-accessible places.
- To store smaller items, buy containers that reflect your style.
- Measure items to make sure you get the right size containers.
- Buy containers like magazine holders that force you to organize (when it's full, it's time to clear it out).
- Label containers.
- Sort new items as you get them.
- Ask yourself: Will I really use this? If not, don't keep it.
Summarized from "How to Get Organized" in the 1/7/06 Seattle Times