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The 5 R's to Clutter Control

When working with my clients, the topic of clutter is often a hot one, whether the clutter is in mental or physical form. Today I'd like to share with you the insights I gained as it relates to physical clutter.

As America's Clutter Coach™, Cyndy Salzman has seen her share of disheveled heaps and cluttered homes. During her talk I attended in Crystal Lake, IL Cyndy shared many tales of uncluttering her life and the lives of her clients. When working with my clients, the topic of clutter is often a hot one, whether the clutter is in mental or physical form. Today I'd like to share with you the insights I gained from Cyndy as it relates to physical clutter.

One of the most interesting statements Cyndy made was, "Sometimes our 'stuff' keeps us from spending time connecting with others". How true I realized that was as I thought of how many times I didn't invite over a friend or neighbor because my home was a mess or clutter filled. Or the many times birthday cards have been sent late because I know I HAVE the card I just can't FIND it beneath the piles.

If you're feeling overwhelmed by your clutter or it's keeping you from deeper connections with friends and family, take a look at the 5 R's to Cyndy's Clutter Control.

Before you begin tackling the clutter she recommends gathering a roll of trash bags (the dark ones) and 4 large containers (again not clear). Start in one place/room and tackle that area completely before moving on. Here's the 5 R's you'll use for controlling the clutter as you go:

1. Refuse (as in trash)

Use your roll of dark trash bags (not the clear ones so as not to be tempted to garbage pick - - you know who you are!) and as you are working throw out all the trash. Here's the key - - If you're embarrassed to give it to a neighbor, DON'T give it to charity! Cyndy shared that she has a friend who runs a charitable organization near her who told her much of their time is spent going through donations and throwing out the trash others couldn't bring their self to toss so instead they donated it. Make your donations count and get rid of the junk for them!

2. Recycle

Label one of your containers with the word Recycle and put anything into here that can't go to a landfill. Then when you're done organizing this first space you can pull out items to be placed in your weekly recycle bin and find a proper disposal for the rest. For example, a township near me provides special recycling days each month for taking the odd items like used motor oil, old paint, electric equipment, computers, etc.

3. Repair

In this container, place anything that is still useable if they were fixed. Here's the key - - Put an expiration date on the item. If you don't get it fixed by that date then get rid of it! If you can't or don't like to sew on those buttons, find a reasonable tailor. You get the idea!

4. Relocate

As you are decluttering your space you are bound to find items in it that just don't belong there. Perhaps they would more logically go in a different spot of your home or office. Instead of getting up to run to that room and put the item away, place it in the Relocate box. That way when you move to the next room to work you can pull out any items needing to be relocated there and save yourself a lot of wasted time running from room to room.

5. Remove

This last bin is for those things that are in good condition that you COULD use but you AREN'T! They are things someone else could really use or perhaps needs. When we're holding onto things we're not using, we keep it from the people who could benefit from it most. Stop HOARDING!

Another tip Cyndy shared with our group is that every year she has a "Set Your Own Prices" garage sale. Everything is free the last 2 hours and she always sells out! She also nets a very tidy profit and feels good knowing her "stuff" is getting into the hands of people who can really use it.

We have SO MUCH in our country and tend to cling to it so TIGHTLY. Let looseFeature Articles, release the stuck energy of your clutter and connect with the people you love!

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Victoria is a professionally trained and certified Business and Personal Coach. She helps ambitious working parents grow their business, live Guilt-Free, reclaim time and energy, and accomplish what really matters. After working with her, clients feel they have greater balance in their life, excel in their business and, most importantly, have more time for themselves and their families.Her website is

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