Keep it clean

Want to get your mind out of the clutter and keep it that way? Organizing expert Celeste Levy offers up tips for keeping your home minimalistic, clean and stylish

Christin Roper

How do you think clutter and disorganization affects day-to-day lives?
Being organized, although challenging at times, enables the homes to function more efficiently and productively. Having a system in place that works frees up your time and money to enjoy life as opposed to wasting time looking for something that you know you have, somewhere!

What are the first steps you'd recommend for someone who wants to de-clutter and get organized?
Taking time to go through, room-by-room, drawer-by-drawer is a good route to take. I'd start in a smaller room, say the bathroom. Have one or two people in the household examine products, discard expired items, get rid of anything that has not been used in awhile. Have a pile or bag for trash, recycled products, donated items and things you want to keep. Once you determine what isn't needed, you should have enough space in the room to organize your drawers, cupboards and closets in a functional way. Once a smaller room is out of the way, tackle a larger room like the kitchen. I find once you are motivated and realize what you can accomplish the task becomes freeing and addictive.

What are the biggest mistakes the average person makes that leads them to having cluttered spaces?
I would say a bad habit to get into is not dealing with things as they come into the home. For example, junk mail, newspapers and recycling products could be a problem in a kitchen or office. If you put them in the proper place when received or ready to file, there will be a lot less clutter around the house.

I recognize I'm a bit of a pack rat, do you have any tips for breaking this habit?
I would suggest, again, going through your things a bit at a time, discarding or donating what is not needed and sticking to the rule when you bring something into the home, try and get rid of something to make place for it. For instance, if you purchase a new knickknack for the living room, maybe pick a few things that you don't need and donate them to someone who may appreciate them.

What are some tools that can help you keep your bedroom, living room or home office organized, but still looking stylish?
There are a vast number of products on the market for organizing purpose these days. I prefer covered boxes, bins and baskets. Another great idea is to visit flea markets, yard sales and antique shops for vintage boxes, containers and ideas. In the bedroom, try to keep the dresser clear of clutter. Its a great idea to have some small boxes or baskets on the dresser to collect it. Keep your dresser drawers organized, try and put laundry away upon folding. This should allow you enough space and function for the room.

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