Purge your home entertainment collection
Walsh suggests that you purge your DVD, CD and book collections using this rule: “For every four or five you keep, remove one from your collection,” he says. “Give them to charity or to family or friends.” If they’re in good condition, you could even consider selling them on eBay.
Create locations for paperwork
Many people have one stack of paperwork where they dump all of their bills, payslips and other important documents. “That can be hard to manage, because it can quickly become overloaded,” says Karen Perkins, an accredited member of the Australasian Association of Professional Organisers. Her advice? Create document “locations”: have one specific location for your bills; one for coupons to buy groceries; one for important papers to be filed; and a central calendar where invitations and doctor appointment cards are kept.
Clean out your pantry
This is something you should do every six months as expiration dates can creep up on you. “Check through all your foods to see what you should keep and not keep,” advises Perkins. “You may have food in there that you intended to eat and never have.” Once you’ve removed all of the out-of-date food, wipe down each shelf and neatly re-stack the shelves, placing your most-used foods (cereal, cooking oil, condiments) near the front and your least-used foods (baking goods, specialty sauces) toward the back.
Every item needs a home
Setting things down haphazardly on tables or counters creates piles and confusion, according to Oprah’s organisational expert, Andrew Mellen. “My clients mock me when I say, ‘Where do your keys live?’,” he says, “but you never lose anything when you put it where it lives.”
Sort out your family photos
Start by grabbing some clear shoe boxes to store your photos in — then “get a kitchen timer”, Mellen suggests. “Sorting through photos leads to reminiscing, and suddenly it’s three hours later. But you’re not looking at photos now — you’re organising them so that looking at them later will be more fun,” he says. “Group the photos by subject, and while you’re grouping, you’re also sorting: is it a clear picture? Do you even know who those people are?” Throw away any photos that don’t measure up, and then label the boxes accordingly.