FRESHEN UP
YOUR HOME

Spring is known for a lot of great things. Flowers start blooming, birds start chirping and people start fall in love. It's also known for the one ritual every packrat dreads: Spring cleaning.

If your house is jam-packed with junk and you're fed up with it, take comfort in knowing that by breaking a few bad habits, you can create a more organized and harmonious space!

Here are some tips to help you freshen up your home:

Maximize your storage

First, figure out what you don't use a lot that you must keep. Then create levels of storage based on how often an item is used. Box up everything that you hardly ever use and designate a small area of your garage, basement, or storage unit for those items. Make a point to revisit everything you've stored every four to six months to reevaluate what you still need. Everything that doesn't make sense to store can be thrown out, donated or sold.Other tips:

  • Buy a coffee table or an ottoman that can hide everyday items -- like books, magazines or your kids' toys -- inside.
  • Get some cool bins and containers that you'll want to display on your shelves for things that you need less often.

Be sentimental sparingly

Be realistic about what objects mean to you! Don't keep every gold-star report from third grade, but pick one that you're most proud of and then frame it and give it a place of honor on your wall. The same thing applies to trophies, stuffed animals, and old books. Even photos: if you can't identify what's happening in the picture or where it was taken, it may be time to get rid of it.

Get digital

If you're still drowning in paper, scan the most critical stuff into your computer. Creating digital files of old CDs, photos, and documents can save a LOT of space -- just don't forget to back up your information on a disk, CD, or external hard drive. Consider paying your bills online to cut down on the paper that's coming into your house (not to mention the paper -- and postage -- going out.) But don't save the old bills for too long -- most accountants will tell you that you can shred old credit card statements after three years.

Shop carefully

Clearing up clutter will work in the short-term, but for lasting results you have to change your attitude toward what you buy. When you're shopping, ask yourself: How will this fit into my home? Where will I keep it? When and how often will I use it?  Why am I buying it: because I want it, need it, think it's too cheap to pass up, or because it looks interesting or pretty?Focus less on what you can accumulate, and more on what you'll value and what will make a positive contribution to your life!

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