Resolution: How to Declutter

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Welcome to the Riverfront Times’ Five Days of Resolutions. Start living right.

Everyone accumulates things. It doesn’t matter how much you keep up with the clutter; at the end of the year, it can be easy to feel like you’re drowning in things.

Decluttering doesn’t have to mean throwing everything away or even really throwing anything away. Most items can be repurposed, regifted or donated. Sometimes, though, it can be challenging to know where to start.



Marie Kondo may be an icon of organizational skills, but she isn’t a realistic model for most of us. It’s OK to have more than five shirts, especially when life gets too busy to do laundry for a couple of days. The important decluttering should involve the stuff you don’t use often enough to warrant the space it takes up. Ask yourself the question, “Does this take up more space than it’s worth?”

No matter how big or small the decluttering mission is, I start with a clean bed. It has been a game-changer for me. First, make the bed, giving yourself a platform to put all the stuff on. Once you’ve covered it with clothes, knickknacks or really anything contributing to the clutter, there's no option of going back to sleep until it's clear again. The project is locked in.



After you’ve discerned which items take up more space than they’re worth, there are plenty of places across the city to donate them. There are old standards, such as Goodwill or the Salvation Army. But you might try House of Goods and Oasis International. They focus on assisting refugees new to St. Louis but will help anyone in need and are good local options.

For the things you keep, it can be a struggle to know where to put them. Everything needs somewhere to go. That process might involve actually buying more things in the form of organizers. There’s no need to spend a ton of money, but some discount-store containers can help keep everything neat. Make a list of the organizational categories you need and get that many baskets or drawers in the appropriate sizes. There doesn’t need to be any guilt associated with the decluttering process. Keeping on top of clutter is a difficult task for a lot of people, and even the most disciplined people build up a collection of excess during the year. Any progress is good progress when it comes to entering the new year a little fresher.
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