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How To Get Rid Of Clutter Fast, According To Organization Experts

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With the popularity of Netflix's Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, people all over the world are starting to see their space in a whole new way (not to mention using the phrase "spark joy" on a regular basis). Kondo's best-selling books and TV show highlight the impact that purging your home can have — both on your abode's physical appearance and on your wellbeing (because as you probably already know, mess = stress). The good news is, with such a focus on getting organized these days, it's easier and more accessible than ever to learn how to get rid of clutter fast — you just need to learn where to look. And that's where the experts come in handy.

Whether you're looking to tackle your messy closet, unkempt kitchen, or are simply in search of what products can help you stay organized, it's helpful to look to the pros to get you kickstarted with confidence and keep you on track. While not everyone has the funds to hire professional organizers to get the job done, there are a few general rules and tricks that you can implement if you're taking a DIY approach. Ahead, find some expert advice from Melanie Charlton of holistic organizational design firm Clos-ette and National Association of Professional Organizers member Christel Ferguson of Space to Love and give your home the de-cluttering it needs so you can start spring off on the right foot.

Make It Official

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Like any goal you set, it's helpful to solidify a date and time to tackle this project and make it official. "Schedule it in your phone or put it on your calendar, it will never happen if you don’t," says Ferguson. "Then assess what areas you can get done in that time you scheduled. If you only have an hour, work on what’s on your desk or in your kitchen drawers. Yes, it is always hard to know how long clearing clutter will take but start small and work your way up. It does get easier as you go."

Set Ground Rules

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Lay down a few ground rules about what to keep, toss, or donate, then stick to them, suggests Charlton. For example, if you haven't worn or used something in over a year, if it's broken and you're not likely to fix it — it's probably time to get rid of it. "We tend to hold on to clothing and accessories sometimes which just take up valuable space and truly create more clutter and chaos on our life," she says. "Same goes for accessories, beauty kitchen wares, makeup or beauty products which have expired, cracked dishes or glasses, a shoe or bag beyond repair or sale."

And Ferguson adds that — like the popular Kondo catchphrase goes — only keep the things that genuinely bring you joy. "While you’re getting rid of clutter don’t think of the monetary value of items or have any obligation towards objects because they were a gift or given to you by family member," she suggests. "If you don’t like it, don’t keep it. Tip: Hold off on memorabilia type clutter for last, you may end up down memory lane for hours."

Put Like With Like

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During the sorting process, grouping like items together will clearly show you where there are opportunities to scale back. "You will probably have multiple of the same item, group them together and 'keep the best and get rid of the rest'," Ferguson says. "No one needs five spatulas."

Know When To Call In The Troops

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Simply put, not everyone is organized by nature, which is why it's important to know when to ask for help. If you can swing it, don't be afraid to call in the experts if this project is just more than you can handle. "They will help you get rid of clutter faster than you would ever be able to do alone," Ferguson says. "[And they] will keep you on track and moving forward."

If hiring a professional organizer isn't an option but you still need an extra hand, consider enlisting a friend or two — but choose strategically for their strengths. "[Use someone] who isn't afraid to tell you the truth," Charlton recommends. "Someone whose style you admire and opinion you trust."

Maintenance

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Once you've dedicated your time, energy, and potentially money to this project, don't let it go to waste. Clearing out the clutter is step one, but it's just as important to maintain the work you've done to keep things organized. "Do this twice to four times a year to keep yourself and your stuff in check, literally," says Charlton, who recommends keeping inventory lists to stay on track. "Keeping yourself aware of what you have also helps you to not over-buy as much."