(copyright Kristin Mallery) Any time of the year is a perfect time to de-clutter and enjoy living your life in simplicity. The cluttered kitchen shown above was tidied up by professional consultant, Kristin Mallery. Her websit
Simplicity is Bliss - Clear Out the Clutter
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FEBRUARY 17, 2008
Susan Scholl, HappyNews Columnist

Have you ever noticed how much better you feel emotionally after you have cleaned and organized your home or workspace? After you get your closets, shelves and drawers organized, life seems so much better. Clearing your space has a way of also clearing your head.
Any time of the year is a perfect time to de-clutter and enjoy living your life in simplicity. Often, a clutter-reducing project can appear to be overwhelming at first glance, so you may need to break it down into attainable goals.
This task is done most efficiently in three stages.
Stage 1 is surface cleaning. Go through each room and throw away the clutter that is laying on the surface but is not needed. This may include things such as advertisements, outdated materials, old magazines, newspapers and other obsolete papers. Take the time to move other items into the rooms in which they really belong, but don’t take the time to organize yet. That will come in the next step.
Stage 2 requires a bit more time. This is when you take it one room at a time. Depending on the size of the room and the extent of the clutter, it could take a few hours to a few days to complete a room. Begin by getting three large bins or boxes: Mark them as “Throw Away,” “Give Away,” and “Keep.” If you are considering having a yard sale or selling on E-Bay, then make a fourth box and label it “Sell.” Now you are ready for the sorting project.
Go through each drawer and closet. The best way do to this is to completely empty the drawer or closet. Then use your bins to begin the organization project. After you have your bins filled, then take care of them immediately. Everything in the “Throw Away” bin gets pitched. Everything in the “Give Away” bin gets given away, perhaps to a charity. The items in the “Sell” bin get put into a special area where you can gather such items without having them in your way. Do all of this immediately. Otherwise you are just going to shift your “stuff” from one placed to another.
From the “Keep” bin, rearrange all the drawers or closets so they are uncluttered and will be able to find what you are looking for quickly.
When you are in the second stage, this is when you pay attention to things that need to be repaired as well. Keep a running list of things you discover need some work, but don't start fixing it just yet. You will do that in Stage 3. Remain focused on cleaning out the clutter in every corner of the room, every drawer and closet. Be sure to work in just one room at a time so you do not lose your focus. It's very easy to lose focus in clutter. If you come across something you have been meaning to do for a long time, jot it down and keep moving through the clutter.
As you are proceeding with this project, start noticing how you feel. Have you been thinking about emotional issues that have been cluttering your mind as well? This is normal. As you reduce the clutter in your space, you will reduce the emotional clutter as well and will start to clear your mind. Enjoy it.
Stage 3 is where you will begin to fix those broken things you have noted. You may find yourself painting a room, touching up a paint job, moving furniture, and fixing those little things you have been tolerating all along (such as having the telephone is an inefficient place or fixing something that has not worked for years). You will read more about this later in upcoming articles dealing with getting rid of the things you are tolerating and serving you no purpose.
After you have completed your entire project, you might consider writing an article for www.happynews.com to share your positive experience.

Susan Scholl is a Certified Professional Life Coach. You can read more about her at www.susanscholl.com.
Kristin Mallery is a professional Clutter Consultant. You can read more about her services at www.clutterconsultant.com.