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Advice For Cleaning Up and Getting Rid Of Stuff

I am trying to clean up my condo. I have done really well. I am cleaning as I pick up, put away and straighten. There are repairs that need to be done and I can't do them. I have asked and am going to put up a sign at church asking for help. As I put stuff away I know it doesn't go in that place but I don't have room in the place where it should go.


I have the dining room set for sale in a local paper. The table still has stuff on it. I take stuff off and I just don't know what to do with the mess that is still there. What do I do? I also have stuff I would like to sell at a yard sale. I really need the money to pay some Dr.'s bills. That stuff is in the living room.

Sandy from Halethorpe

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June 30, 20080 found this helpful

Organize by putting yard sale items in boxes and labeling them. Any loose papers you have collected; go through and discard what is no longer needed and file the rest. If "STUFF" left on your table means saleable items or things you want to keep then find a good place to sit them even if it means buying a curio or china cabinet. Perhaps a trunk might serve a purpose for storing away those things you just can't part with or put them in the yard sale boxes. The goal is to be able to see the tabletop.

I am downsizing things in my livingroom and making ready for carpet to be layed. I do not intend on putting all that "stuff" back in place, but making the room more spacious with less clutter and maintenance. It's a time for reflection on separating those things that really have a meaning to me or bought on a whim.

Thoroughly cleaning is a good time to pass on items to family and friends or have a garage sale with the unnecessary or give something away what you think would be of special interest to some charity. Good luck!

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July 1, 20080 found this helpful

Depending on where you live you can offer items up in exchange for services you need in your home check. Beg barter and steal or you can bring your unused items to an auction or ask around church or neighbor hood for help in exchange for items and of course you can donate items and use as tax write off.

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July 1, 20080 found this helpful

First, locate some FREE sturdy boxes, ones that either have lids or still have the flaps attached. My grocery store gives away apple, tomato and banana boxes for the asking. They all have separate lids, making them wonderful for this project!

Get 4 sheets of paper (doesn't matter what size, as long as it will work for you). On the 1st paper, write TRASH. On the 2nd paper, write PUT AWAY. On the 3rd paper, write GIVE AWAY. On the 4th paper, write SHRED. Tape these to the boxes. You don't need the lids for the boxes right now, so put them some place where you won't lose them, and they won't get destroyed.

Now, decide where you are going to put the boxes that are labeled GIVE AWAY and PUT AWAY. You might want to put all the PUT AWAY boxes against one wall in your bedroom. All the GIVE AWAY boxes could go against one wall in your living room. Find a place for the SHRED boxes, too. Whatever works for you. But you need to know where they are going to go as you fill up the boxes. If you need to clear a bit of space for the boxes, do it before you start filling boxes.

Now, starting at your front door, work your way around the room from left to right. Don't jump around from place to place in the room or in your home. Work from left to right, top to bottom, back to front. Let's say you have an entertainment center to the left of your front door. Have your 3 labeled boxes right there by you. Starting at the top left part of the entertainment center, go through everything up there. Start at the back of the shelf and work your way forward. If it's trash, put it in the TRASH box. If you aren't going to be keeping it, but it's still usable, put it in the GIVE AWAY box. If it belongs in another room, put it in the PUT AWAY box. If it belongs in the same room, but in a different place than where you found it, put it where it should go, then get right back to where you left off.

When you've finished the top shelf, move down to the next shelf and work your way through that. Then tackle the next shelf down and so on. When you reach the bottom shelf or drawer, move on to the top of the next section of the entertainment center.

When you finish with the EC, move to the right. If there's something on the floor, put it into the right box and move along to the next thing. Continue working your way around the room. Work for 30 minutes, then take a 10 minute break. Then back to work again for 30 more minutes before taking another break.

When a box gets full, stop to empty it. If it's the PUT AWAY box, take the label off of the box and attach it to a new, empty box, put the lid on the full box, and take the box to wherever it is you decided to store PUT AWAY boxes until you have finished sorting through everything in your home. Same with the GIVE AWAY box.

The TRASH box needs to be emptied directly into the outdoor trash receptacle or into a disposable trash bag that is outside your door to be hauled to the trash later in the day after you have stopped sorting for the day. Don't let the trash bag get too heavy to handle!!

Go through your home room by room, following this procedure. When you have sorted everything into the appropriate boxes, first, shred the contents of the SHRED box. If you don't have a shredder of your own, sometimes your boss will allow you to use the shredder or shredder service where you work. If you don't have access to a shredder, contact a shredder service, or maybe you can burn the documents instead.

Next, give away the GIVE AWAY boxes. Don't have a yard sale if you can avoid it. Take the boxes to a thrift store donation box, or contact a charity to come pick them up. Avoid using Freecycle unless you are going to devote a single day to people coming to get the stuff. Anything not picked up goes to a donation box. If you do decide to have a yard sale, at the end of the sale, box up any unsold items and take them to a donation drop box immediately. Get that stuff out of your living space as quickly as possible!! You need the room!

Now you can work on the PUT AWAY items. Take the first box from the stack of boxes you've collected, and put away every single item in its proper place. If you can't put everything in it away because you need something to put the item in, then make a list of needed items to help you get better organized, such as "4 shelf bookshelf." Then keep an eye out for a way to make or find what you need. Put items that would belong on/in that bookshelf all together in a box bearing a taped on sign that reads BOOKSHELF ITEMS. Then move along to the next box, adding to your list of things to procure to improve your home organization project.

Once everything is in its proper place, you can easily clean your living space, and more importantly, you will have the items you need at your fingertips.

When you use something, put it away. If it's trash, throw it away. If it's something you want to give away, put it in a designated place and get it out of your home every week when you run your errands. If it's something that needs to be shredded, do it right away and don't let it pile up. (Voice of experience here . . . BAD mistake to let it pile up!!)

Hope this helps you out some. Best wishes!

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July 2, 20080 found this helpful

Go to This is a cool website that can help you get organized. It has helped me, although I haven't done everything like I should! If you sign up for it (it's free), you'll get e-mail reminders every day. Pretty neat! You ought to check it out.

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July 2, 20080 found this helpful

I feel your pain! One thing that helped me was to set a timer (I typically did 30 mins) and work for just that amount of time and walk away. Get a couple boxes. Separate out things for yard sale, pricing them as you go, vs. things that you really, really want to keep but don't have room to keep sitting out. When a box is full, close it up and stack it in the corner. When it looks like you have enough for a decent sale, go ahead and have it, even if you haven't gotten through everything in the house. You can always have another sale later. After the sale, this is very important, put everything back in the box and take it straight to good will or arrange ahead of time for a charity to pick the items up later that same day. If you take it back into your house, it may never leave.

As far as the paperwork goes, get yourself some binders and a hole punch. I have a binder for medical bills for each year, one for other bills for each year, one for owners manuals, one for insurance paperwork, one for car repair/maintenece, and one for house repair/maintence, and one for miscellaneous important receipts. You may not need as many, but start separating your papers into piles of stuff that goes together and a binder system that would work for you should emerge. Binders are good because they can sit on shelves. I have a basket with a lid that all important papers go into until I have time to file them correctly. I file 1 to 2 times per week. Before anything goes into the basket, I open it and decide if it's imporant or junk mail that I can throw away.

If you have magazines, catalogs, newsletters etc, try to just tear out anything extra special and pitch the rest. If you have an overwhelming number, you may just want to pictch them all and in the future start the tear out sysytem. Almost anything in those magazines can be found on line if you really need it and if they're not organized, the information is no good to you anyway because you'll never find it when you need it. Again, things you tear out should go in binders by subject so you can actually find them when you need them.

When the binder system was recommended to me, I thought it was too much work. I won't lie, it is a lot of work in the beginning, but once you get into it, keeping it up is very simple. The bonus is you can always find the important suff quickly!

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July 2, 20080 found this helpful

All the advice has been good thus far...also, there is Freecycle you can list stuff you want to just give away. Check for a group in your area...they are international and it is free to join! Then...after you get rid of everything...have you tried Fen Shui? Sometimes something as simple as re-arranging the furniture in the room with your table will help it to become and stay un-cluttered. You would be amazed! Just do a google search and you will come up with endless information! Good luck!

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July 2, 20080 found this helpful

I also recommend She gives you plans about how to cope with clutter and housework.

You can use three cardboard boxes for clutter and not buy her package. For me, h er method was much quicker. I think shes labeled them Keep, Sell, and Throw Away, but you should check at her site.

Dont be discouraged. This didnt happen in one day and its not going to be solved in one day. You can do it.

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July 3, 20080 found this helpful

Thank you all for your tips. Flylady really bogged me down. I have joined 2 different times. I get bogged in the emails and couldn't keep up with that. That really was making me go in the other direction. I have some men coming to fix some stuff next week. I have had that in my head so I seem to be working better just knowing someone is coming.

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February 13, 20090 found this helpful

I am in the SAME situation but possibly worse. Free boxes help, and if no storage area, try to find a wall you can stack the labeled boxes on and up. Cover with a sheet or cloth or tarp so it looks tidy. Unless you have basement or garage which I don't.

I do go backwards often so understand it isn't easy. I think tabletops are a pile catcher and a real problem for many of us. Sort mail as fast as you can: trash, bills, to read. Date the to read and if a month old throw it out because another month of things is waiting to be read then.

List on your church bulletin board anything you want to give away or free will donation.

ALSO if you have a friend that will come over and help you, that would be great. I don't, all are too busy. But it would be easier with someone to talk to.

Don't be married to any of your stuff. Losing the detachment of it will help you get rid of it.

Best of luck to you.

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February 28, 20090 found this helpful

The best thing I did to get rid of stuff was to join a Yahoo group called freecycle in my area. The group is open to individuals who want to help keep usable items out of the landfills, continue to put it to good use, feel good about helping others. It is rare that I have posted anything on that group that someone hasn't wanted. I believe there is a freecycle group in most areas. Search "freecycle" or "recycle" for your area in Yahoo.

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