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Everyday inspiration: Organize a cluttered space

Elaina is a Phoenix-based freelance writer, blogger and co-founder of the Kidlee baby book app. Check out her blog, Fun Finds For Mom, for product reviews, recipes and fun activities for moms and kids.

Clear the clutter

Researchers at Princeton recently found that visual clutter doesn't just annoy us, it actually makes it difficult to focus and process information. We asked four women to do themselves a favor and organize a cluttered space.

Challenge: Organize a cluttered space

Why? Watch an episode of Hoarders. Then browse the beautifully organized and labeled shelves and pantries on Pinterest. An organized, clutter-free space is like a mental breath of fresh air.

Makeup drawer | Sheknows.com

Lauren: When SheKnows presented me with the challenge of organizing a cluttered space, I knew exactly which disheveled area of my life I was going to take on: my makeup drawer. You know, the one full of old foundations, discolored and cracked eyeshadows and more impulse buys than I care to admit. (I can totally pull off purple eyeliner — with the right outfit it will be perfect... ummm, no!) It had gotten to the point that I couldn't even close the drawer all the way. So I grabbed a garbage bag and got to work. I tossed out anything I hadn't used in a while. (That coral sparkly lipstick is never going to work, as much as I wanted it to.) I didn't have the heart to take a "before" picture. You would have probably put me on the show Hoarders if I had. But after about an hour of organizing and cleaning (note to self: wash makeup brushes more than once a year from now on), my drawer is clutter-free and everything is exactly where I need it. I can't even tell you how happy it makes me to get ready in the morning with my perfectly organized makeup drawer. Now who wants to help me tackle my closet?

Deborah: We moved into our house a year and a half ago and we lost a basement in the move. I loved my basement; it had lots of storage area. Last weekend, we finally emptied our storage unit. There was no way all of that stuff was going to fit. We've been filling the space with new things. So, I had a garage sale. As I sold stuff, I packed the stuff up that we were keeping and shelved it in the attic, all marked with sizes and who they belonged to. Everything else, we are donating to the homeless shelter. This is how I organize. I get rid of stuff.

Kerry: I know people say to let go of the cleaning and the clutter. With a full-time job, commute and three active kids, the free time I have is limited and I really don't want to spend it cleaning. Still, I know when I stare at chaos, it makes me stressed. So, every so often, I tackle a drawer, a table, a countertop. This week, my office desk was in need of some TLC. I decided to spend just 10 minutes filing and piling and tossing. The end result? A presentable desk, clear mind and full trash bin.

Akilah's Room | Sheknows.com

Akilah: My room is tiny. I'd say it's small, but that would be a complete understatement. Basically, my room can fit a queen-sized bed, a shelf unit and a small desk. It's not a lot, but New York is not cheap and I'm not here that much anyway.

That said, this big pile of projects that never came to fruition only makes the room seem that much smaller. I had put off digging through the clothes/papers/framed artwork/musical instruments/cameras etc. for so long because I knew it would become a much bigger task than I wanted, but I bit the bullet and did it. The biggest saving grace here was my brand-new desk. It gave me room to display the things I'd always wanted to, while the storage space helped to get some stuff off the floor.

Mission accomplished.

Our Everyday Inspiration series wants to inspire you with small ways to improve your life. We've asked 20 women to take on a variety of small challenges and share their results. See all of our Everyday Inspiration challenges here, and meet the women here.

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