Room-by-room tips for decluttering your home

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Welcome to a new year! It is a perfect time to wipe the slate clean and start fresh and what a better way to do that by decluttering your home.

Before you begin the fun journey of organizing, it's a good idea to get some ideas down on paper.

Ask yourself: Why do you need to organize your home? Where in the home do you plan to begin? How much time do you plan on spending per day/week on organizing? Do you have the necessary supplies ready (boxes, totes for storage, garbage bags)? Where do you plan to donate your unwanted stuff? Having all of this decided beforehand will help you follow through on your organizing goals.

Here are some quick tips to help you get started with the process, room-by-room:

Living Room

- Think multipurpose about your existing furniture or accents. Can they be used in more than one way? Ottomans are great for relaxing, but also can be used for storage of extra pillows or blankets.

- Install floating shelves on the walls. They can be used to stash pictures of the family, books or photo albums and free up space on flat surfaces.

- Rearrange the furniture to create a better flow to the room is maybe all that a room needs to feel organized.

- Use a tray on the coffee table for magazines or remotes.

Closets

- Add hooks for a quick way to hang frequently used items.

- Use pool noodles to keep boots from flopping over and create more floor space.

- Add baskets to corral small items such as belts and wallets.

- Double hang your hangers using soda tabs and save 50 percent more space. (Just put one hanger through one hole, then another hanger through the other hole.)

- Store out of season clothes in a storage box or space saving bag.

Kitchen

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- Declutter all kitchen cabinets and drawers by adding drawer dividers, which will keep things neat and organized.

- Hanging your pots and pans is a great way to give you extra cabinet space

- Use your wall space and add open shelving units for more storage.

- Magnetic spice containers can be hung on the wall for quick and convenient use.

- Line your refrigerator shelves with mats. This is a great way to keep things clean.

Bathroom/ Linen Closet

- Purge old and outdated items to free up extra space.

- Use glass jars or baskets for small items.

- Use the wall space over the toilet to hang floating shelves or small bookshelf.

- Add hooks on the back of the bathroom door for towels or robes

Office Space

- A small filing cabinet is a great way to keep all of your important documents organized and handy for next time you need it.

- Color code your filing system; separate the system into five color categories: financial, taxes, personal, insurance, house documents.

- Create a mail station to maintain control of the paper coming into the house. Have a folder for incoming mail, outgoing mail, things to be filed and bills.

When you do begin the process, be gentle with yourself. Don't expect to have it all done in a week and don't strive to make it perfect. That will just derail you and set you up for failure. Make sure you take breaks and reward yourself after every session. Also, get the family involved. It can be more fun and it helps to keep you accountable.

Missy Garcia is a Pittsfield native and a wife and mom to a 16-year-old son. She started cleaning homes in 2008 as a way of supplementing her income but quickly fell in love with it. She officially started her own business, Fresh Start, in 2013. Garcia loves that she gets the opportunity to help others live a calm and clutter free life.


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