Kathy Vines, the expert behind Clever Girl Organizing , in Melrose, doesn’t sugarcoat things.
“Spending $1,000 at an organizing store doesn’t make you organized,” she says. “Throwing everything in a dumpster doesn’t make you organized.”
To truly declutter, she says, a person needs to look within.
If you’re ready to face your inner clutter, here are her top five tips:
■ Know your danger zones and triggers. “Are you a Future Clutterer (‘I might need it some day so I should keep it.’)? Or a Past Clutterer (‘This reminds me of a time or a person from my past and I can’t bear to let it go.’)?”
■ Understand that ‘later’ is a dangerous word. “ ‘I’ll do that later’ is the gateway to ‘I’ll do that never.’ ”
■ Accept that everything must have a home. “When they don’t, they end up surfing from spot to spot, pile to pile, drawer to drawer, never to be found when we need it.”
■ Never leave a room empty handed. “Always be in the mode of ‘hitting the reset button.’ If you leave a space, look around for something that needs to be returned to where it goes.”
■ Try bite-sized decluttering attacks. Set a timer for 20 minutes and eliminate other distractions to see what you might accomplish. One drawer, one pile, one box, one space.Beth Teitell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @bethteitell.