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Clear the Clutter

March 27, 2014

Think it’s impossible to see how your brain works? Walk over to a closet or open a drawer in your home. What you see is what you’ve got. While a few of you may be looking at something that could grace the pages of a Martha Stewart publication, chances are most of you are looking at a jumble of products, clothes and knick-knacks that live together for reasons unknown to your rational mind. Coupons, letters, bills and a hand sanitizer shoved into your kitchen junk drawer? Don’t get embarrassed — get organized!

The following room-by-room checklist offers the perfect opportunity to cut through the clutter while staying light on the landfills and giving you peace of mind!

Get room-by-room help for the bathroom, the kitchen, the home office and the clothes closet using this step-by-step green home guide.

Helpful hints for getting started

  • Get a good night’s sleep before any major project and work at the time of day you feel at your physical peak. A tired mind makes tired decisions.
  • Eat a good meal before you start and have lots of water and healthy snacks available.
  • Create an environment that supports your best efforts; music and aromatherapy are a couple simple things that will soothe your soul during the process.
  • Be sure you have set aside a block of time commensurate with the size of the project. The ideal first pass is five hours.
  • Warn family members that you will need some private time, and do not let yourself be interrupted. Nothing is worse than coming back to a disastrous closet when you’ve used all your strength elsewhere.
  • If any aspect of getting organized is outside your comfort zone (for example, if you have a large collection of receipts that need to be sorted and you don’t know what to save for the IRS), hire a professional organizer or call upon an organized good friend or family member for guidance.

The bathroom

If we are indeed spiritual beings having an earthly experience, then it stands to reason that taking care of the body is a sacred task. Yet most of our bathrooms are often neglected and/or abused. Let’s see how we can transform this room to a place of peace.

1. Linen check

What’s the condition of your towels? If they’re faded, threadbare and holey, let them go. Take them to your local vet or animal hospital. They need your old sheets as well.

2. Let go of disappointments

We all invest in products from time to time that disappoint us. We feel too guilty to let them go, letting them live on indefinitely in our cupboards as space hogs. The solution? Host a “Product Swap Party” for your friends. With everyone’s hair and skin having such different needs, what disappointed you might be a great find for a friend.

3. Divest in packaging

Are there products you love so much that you purchase them in multiples? Very often the commercial wrapping that comes with these products takes up a lot of space. Recycle the plastic and cardboard.

4. Detangle your haircare

Take an honest look at your brushes, combs and rollers. Pull out any you might not be using. If they’re in good shape, remove all excess hair and soak them in a solution of water and baking soda before rinsing, air-drying and donating to a shelter. Exceptions are items with wooden handles, which will waterlog, those with boar bristles, which will curl, and those with rubber cushioning, which will split. For these, remove all excess hair and scrub clean with a good shampoo. Rinse under the faucet and let air dry.

5. Face the bacteria

Check the expiration date on your makeup. Separate out anything that is more than six months old, as bacteria likely resides there. Rinse and recycle all recyclable glass and plastic (making sure to check the number of the plastic, so that you don’t put anything on the curb that will ultimately not be recycled).

6. Sort your meds

Take a look at your medicine collection, identify what’s expired, then remove the label, and rinse and save the bottles for travel purposes.

Helpful hints for everyday upkeep:

  • Keep a sponge handy for quick wipes of the counter every time you exit.
  • The mirror gets water and toothpaste splashed at regular intervals. Keep a spray bottle of homemade cleaner and a soft cotton cloth under the sink. Spray and wipe at least once a day.
  • Make your own cleaner for the countertop and the mirror by mixing equal parts vinegar and water. Vinegar has the added benefit of being both a disinfectant and a deodorizer. The smell dissipates the minute it dries.
  • Straight vinegar will clean your bathroom bowl.
  • When your counters need a good scrub, use baking soda! Add a little water and you’ll have a natural cleaning paste.
  • Remove and recycle the plastic wrap from around your soap. Soaps last longer when they’ve been dried out a bit.

 

Find the whole article from our friends at Gaiam.com (including complete checklist) here!

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