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5 ways to declutter your life

By Darlene Jeter, Contributing writer
Published On: Feb 21 2012 04:52:22 PM CST
Updated On: May 20 2013 07:22:20 AM CDT
woman with iron and pile of messy clothes

iStock / icyimage

Some may think clutter is a sign of a genius at work. It is not.

Stacks of paper or clothes strewn everywhere creates a disorganized environment that will make even the simplest daily tasks a chore.

And if your dreams stretch beyond simply surviving day-to-day challenges to achieve something more substantial and successful? Good luck rising from a cluttered mess to get there.

Looking for an important letter for a meeting or a certain cream shirt to get dressed for work should only take a few minutes. If you live in clutter, it takes longer. Often, this can get a day off on the wrong foot by causing delays, flared tempers or grouchiness.

And who needs that?

But by taking a few simple steps, you can learn how to organize your life and make every day go a lot smoother ...

messy closet packed with clothes

Your closet

If you are like most people, you have too many clothes, shoes and stuff in your closet. Organizing a closet is not a gender-specific task. Men, you should do this, too.

Start by throwing away or donating those things that make up your Hope Closet: The clothes that you hope you will be able to fit again someday.

Next, it's time to color coordinate. Put all blacks, blues, browns, creams and other colors together. It also is a good idea to invest in nice hangers. The hangers that allow several things to be hung are a great option.

Many people are tempted to place shoes at the bottom of a closet. Don't do this. Purchase a shoe rack. If you are keeping your shoes in boxes, get rid of those. The boxes take away from the space that you can use.

It's likely that a closet bursting at the seams means a messy dresser, so don't exit your bedroom before you organize your dresser or chest ...

clothes overflowing from dresser drawer

Your dresser

You have likely looked for matching socks or those comfy undies to no avail on a recent morning.

This doesn't have to happen again if you just organize your drawers.

Start with an underwear drawer and only put underwear in there. This may be a good time to get rid of those white undershirts and tanks that are stained under the arms. That is really gross.

Designate a drawer for T-shirts. Roll them. Yes, rolling T-shirts will create more space in the drawer.

Designate other drawers -- a shorts drawer, a jean drawer, a jogging pants drawer, etc. It is a good idea to separate workout clothes from other clothes so maybe pick a drawer for workout gear so that you can grab what you need quickly and go.

A messy dresser and cluttered closet is unlikely in a neat room, so before exiting your bedroom clean up and make it clutter-free ...

messy bedroom closet clothes

Your bedroom

In order for your bedroom to be a true resting place, there should not be a lot of stuff everywhere. The top of the dresser should not be completely covered with bottles of this and containers of that. Clear it.

And clear the nightstand, too. A book, lamp, pen and alarm clock are the only acceptable items. If you have other items that you need to keep near the bed, use a small basket and slide it under the bed.

Is there anything hanging on the doorknobs? If so, remove it.

The absolute must-do to declutter a bedroom is to make up the bed. Tuck the sheets, smooth the comforter and fluff the pillows. This is sure to give the room a better feel and look.

And has anyone ever told you, your car looks like you live in it? It shouldn't ...

messy backseat of a car

Your car

You should be tired of moving things out of the passenger seat when someone wants to ride in your car.

Clean your car out.

This just doesn't involve running a vacuum over the mats and seats. Use a damp cloth to clean the dash and drink holders.

If it is necessary to keep a lot of documents in your vehicle for work, purchase a crate or organizer and put it in the trunk.

If you keep extra shoes or a bag of workout clothes in the backseat, put it in the trunk. And don't turn your trunk into a junk area, be organized.

Glove compartments and storage bins can get filled with papers and napkins. Go through those areas and get rid of anything that is not needed.

After the car is clean, it's time to organize your workspace ...

overworked man at desk surrounded by paperwork

Your workspace

While work usually cannot be as comfy as home, the mere sight of a bunch of stuff may actually be adding to your daily stress.

Paper clutter is the No. 1 problem for most businesses and 4.3 hours a week are used searching for papers, according to the National Association of Professional Organizations.

Get rid of paper.

Some people like to write reminders on Post-It Notes and put them all over. Don't do this. Keep a notepad of reminders.

While some people like to have a bunch of photos of family and friends in their workspace, it's probably better to go with one or two. If you like a lot of photos, invest in a small collage photo frame so that the photos are more organized.

If there is anything that can be put in a drawer, put it there. This would include pens, papers and books.

Decluttering your workspace is sure to make the workday less stressful. But if your closet, dresser, bedroom and car are organized, the day is sure to get off to a good start.

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