Real Estate

Creating some space

Palo Alto organizer gives tips on how to start de-cluttering

If your home is filled with clutter and piles of miscellaneous stuff, it might be more a place of stress and frustration rather than relaxation and joy. Clutter can cause tension between family members (if one has a higher tolerance level for clutter than the other) and serve as a constant reminder of unfinished tasks.

De-cluttering can be hard. It takes time, and for many, the decisions around what to keep and what to get rid of can be difficult. Here are a few suggestions to make your de-cluttering process easier:

Presents from a relative or friend -- Embrace the joy you felt upon receiving the gift; don't keep it out of obligation;

Your child's three-dimensional art -- We all love our kids and the masterpieces they create. However, three-dimensional art will not stand up over time. Take a picture or create a photo book of artwork, then get rid of it. Don't store it in your attic or basement thinking your child will want it someday;

Years of back issues of your favorite magazines -- You will not "someday" find the time to read them. And when you do have time, there will be other things you will find to fill it;

Clothing in multiple sizes -- Yes, you spent money on these items. Yes, you really hope to be that size again. However, only hold onto items that fit you now and make you feel good when you wear them. The rest are just guilt objects saying, "Why did I buy that?" or "I wish I could get in shape so I could wear that again";

The drawer, bin, box, or container of random electronic cords -- The cords are likely for old technology or relate to an item you have replaced, given away, or are no longer using. Recycle the unidentified cords and free up some space in your home;

Boxes that electronics came in -- Unless you're an Internet re-seller, you will not need the box again. If there are accessory parts to an item you need to keep, put them in a clear plastic bag and label it with the item name/description (or put a piece of the box with the item photo or description inside the bag). Store all your electronic accessories in one area;

Linens -- How many sets do you need for each bed? How many extra towels do you need? You may want to reconsider if you have more than two sets of sheets or towels that are frayed, old or thin;

Vases -- Is the cabinet above your refrigerator or below your sink stockpiled with floral and plant containers? Unless you're buying fresh flowers every week, you can probably live with less and free up some space for items you do need.

Lori Krolik is a certified Productive Environment Specialist and professional organizer and the owner of More Time For You in Palo Alto. Her website is moretimeforyou.net.

A new columnist

For many, August is the start of a "new" year. You can buy calendars that go from August to August. The scent of sharpened pencils and the clack of binder clips go along with new fall season.

With that, the Home & Real Estate section welcomes columnist Lori Krolik, whose Palo Alto company, More Time for You, provides professional organizing help for homes and businesses. She brings years of experience sitting in people's garages and closets, handling their mementos, clothing and housewares sensitively but firmly as she helps them clear space for themselves.

She says, "If your home is filled with clutter and piles of miscellaneous stuff, it might be more a place of stress and frustration rather than relaxation and joy." Read on, and bring on a freshly organized fall.

— Elizabeth Lorenz

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