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10 tips to cut the clutter

Ours is a culture of abundance. Even in this time of economic recession, most of us have more "stuff" than we really, truly, need. Clutter, whether it is too many tasks on our agenda, too many thoughts pulsing through our minds, or too many belongings in our homes, seems to be a societal epidemic.

When we slow down a bit and take notice, however, we find that more stuff actually creates more stress. Additionally, the state of having too much stuff to care for, clean, and manage means less time for connecting with family and friends, taking care of yourself, and nurturing your soul and creative spirit.

Reducing physical clutter in the home creates a sense of calm, and allows energy to flow freely throughout. New possibilities emerge and creative solutions to old problems seem to appear from nowhere.

Here are some things you can start doing now to make it happen:

1. Designate one spot for all incoming mail/paperwork and go through it daily.

2. Unsubscribe from email newsletters, blogs, and retail email lists that no longer interest you. It's YOUR inbox, after all.

3. Before purchasing anything, from new socks to a new smartphone, ask yourself: "Do I love it?'' and "Will I use it?'' Think twice unless the answer to both questions is a resounding "Yes!''

4. Commit to clearing clutter from one area of your home each day for a week and schedule 10 minutes daily to do it. Start with something totally feasible, like your medicine chest.

5. Meditate for five minutes each day. This will help declutter your mind and give you the clarity to keep what's essential and part with the rest.

6. Eliminate clothing from your closet and dresser that hasn't been worn in the last calendar year.



7. Find a home for clutter-prone items, you know, the things that wind up on the kitchen table, living room floor, and bedroom dresser. Designate a place for them and make a habit of putting them there, every single day.

8. Create clutter-free zones in your home. The entryway is a great place to start. If there is clutter in the entrance, 98 percent of the time there is clutter throughout the house. The kitchen table is another good choice. Keep what you love and use, recycle, donate or toss everything else. Be ruthless!

9. Use "maybe'' boxes. If, in the course of decluttering, you're not sure what to do with an item, put it in the maybe box. Note the date on the box and store it out of sight. If you don't go looking for those items within six months to a year, it's time to get rid of those things.

10. Evaluate your commitments. Most of us are overscheduled, which is its own form of clutter. Make sure your commitments are reflective of your values and your priorities. Say no to new commitments without guilt and drop whatever commitments no longer serve you. Your life needs space for free-flowing energy, just like your home.

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