Out With The Old!

For some, spring brings a renewed sense of life and cleanliness to their homes, while others balk at the thought of having to confront the clutter that has been hibernating there since winter began. But with these tips for de-cluttering your unruly closet, bookshelves and junk drawers – and how to make the most out of what you find in them – you'll be ready for warmer weather in no time!

Woman organizing closet

CLOSET CONFESSIONS

Alexandra Evjen, stylist and founder of AVE Styles, a company devoted to helping people feel comfortable, confident and stylish in their clothes, says the first step to cleaning out your closet is to sift through and organize your shoes, handbags, scarves and hats.

Next, she advises creating three piles on your floor: consign, donate and trash. Trash clothing that has holes or stains since consignment shops and donation centers won't accept clothing that can't be worn. Evjen encourages letting go of clothes you hoped to fit into but haven't in a couple years as well as those that are uncomfortable, itch or annoy you. "If you haven't worn an article of clothing in a year and it's not a formal gown, it's time to donate, consign or toss it," confirms Evjen.

Final advice? "Bring a friend over as you organize your closet so he or she can give you an honest second opinion," suggests Evjen.

Repurposing closet items:

* Evjen recommends turning clothes you can't bear to part with into fabric wall art.

* Paint and bend old dry cleaner hangers into a colorful piece of home décor.

BURSTING BOOKSHELVES

First, remove everything from your bookshelves. Place trinkets and non-book items off to the side, and put each book into one of three piles: keep, maybe and donate/sell. Only keep books if they are a resource, have sentimental value or if you plan to read them in the near future. Place books you haven't read in a few years in the donate/sell pile.

When re-shelving the 'keep' pile, organize books by topic and group similar heights together for a uniform look. All books should be placed vertically with the titles facing outward. If there's not enough space, reevaluate your 'keep' pile.

Limit knickknacks on bookshelves. Instead, buy a small end table or round café table and arrange picture frames and mementos on it. Or purchase floating box shelves for displaying smaller items. A great rule of thumb: Get rid of one book every time you buy a new one.

Old books, new homes:

* Donate old books to a local refugee or child crisis center, or sell them to a used bookstore or on half.com.

* Consider storing resourceful and sentimental books you don't access often in a decorative storage ottoman or chest.

JAM-PACKED JUNK DRAWERS

We all have them – those places where we stuff items that don't have a home anywhere else in the house, hoping they'll disappear without us having to face them again. It's time to face those junky items! First, allow ample time for cleaning out your junk drawers correctly. Then, remove every item from the drawer, pitching the no-longer-working objects and those you haven't used in a year, and group similar items.

Invest in plastic organizers of varying size that fit in your new no-junk drawer, and place each group into an organizer that fits its size.

Repurposing old junk:

* Donate old cell phones and rechargeable batteries to Call2Recycle, a free donation company with 30,000 recycle drop-off locations throughout the US.

* Got wine corks? Try gluing several together to make a trivet, arrange them in a large picture frame for hanging wall art, or glue them around the outside of a circular mirror for decorative flair.

* Use that colorful junk mail you've stashed away for your kids to practice origami. Instructions for many objects are available online.

 

More tips on organizing and cleaning on SheKnows

Quick cleaning: Simple steps that make a big difference
Create a weekly cleaning plan
52 Ideas to organize your home: An orgaznizing tip a week

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Comments on "Spring de-cluttering: Closets, bookshelves and junk drawers"

Laura Vailas March 13, 2010 | 10:55 PM

Great information!

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