Not everyone is a natural born neat freak. There are some of us who just seem to be surrounded by “stuff” everywhere we go. Whether it’s stacks of napkins in the car, piles of paper waiting to be shred or countless messages in our inbox. At some point though, we all hit our breaking point and the clutter becomes too much. If the stuff in your life is making you feel distracted and overwhelmed, it’s time to declutter and make room for what’s important.

  1. Focus on one area at a time

Instead of trying to conquer everything at once, pick a small area you can tackle within 15 minutes and save the rest for another day.  It can be your dresser, junk drawer, kitchen cabinet or any other area that’s been bugging you.  As you sort through each item, ask yourself the following questions:

  • When’s the last time it was used?
  • Does it serve a purpose?
  • Do I still love it?

By putting thought into every piece, there’s a better chance you’ll only hold on to the things you absolutely can’t live without.  Anything you don’t plan to keep needs to be tossed out or placed in a box to be donated.

  1. Reduce your closet to 40 hangers

No matter how much clothes we buy, most of us only gravitate towards a few key pieces.  To eliminate the excess, narrow down your wardrobe to 40 hangers.  This includes your outfits for work and play.  Try on each item of clothing and only keep the ones that make you feel good.  Forty might seem like a small number but you can always accessorize or mix and match pieces to create new looks.

  1. Enforce a one-in, one-out rule

It never fails that anytime you attempt to give up shopping, an incredible sale pops up.  Rather than deny yourself, enforce a one-in, one-out rule.  For every new item you bring home, you must get rid of something you currently own.  If your used items are still in good condition, try to sell them online for extra cash.

  1. Toss out papers you can find online

Back in the day, you needed to keep the user manuals for all your gadgets in case they malfunctioned.  That’s no longer the case though, thanks to the internet.  If you know the products name, you can find everything you need online with a quick search.  Therefore, there’s no reason to have a stack of manuals lying around.  Toss them out and free up some space.  While you’re at it, dump all the takeout menus hiding in your kitchen drawer.  Most restaurants have menus on their websites which you can refer to when you’re ready to place your order.

  1. Clean out your phone

How many shots does it take you to get the perfect selfie?  Chances are you’re not just one and done.  If you’re guilty of taking 20 variations of the same shot, choose one and delete the other 19.  There’s no need to eat up your phone’s memory with pictures that will never see the light of day.  Also delete any music, videos and apps that no longer interest you.

  1. Unfollow or unsubscribe

It’s not uncommon for our tastes to change over time.  You may be loving someone’s Instagram profile right now, then be annoyed by them next week.  It happens to all of us.  If you’re not thrilled with what’s been appearing on your timeline lately, hit the unfollow button.  Do the same thing for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and any other platforms you’re on.  We also suggest removing yourself from newsletters, blogs and forums you’re not feeling anymore.  Only stick to content that aligns with your interests.  If you’re just not into social media like you used to be, consider getting rid of your accounts altogether.

  1. Organize your purse

Ladies are notorious for carrying large purses filled with everything but the kitchen sink.  We get that you want to be prepared for any unexpected situation.  But, if your bag feels like you’re carrying around a set of 10 lb. dumb bells, it’s time to lighten your load.  Dump out your belongings and repack it with the following essentials.

  • Your wallet
  • Keys
  • Cell phone
  • A phone charger
  • Tissue
  • Small umbrella
  • Feminine care products
  • Hand cream
  • Breath mints or gum
  • Lip gloss, lipstick or Vaseline
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Band-aids

And that’s it.  Leave everything else at home.

  1. Say yes to less

Sometimes we make plans to hang out with people then regret our decision as the date approaches.  If your schedule is jam packed with things you don’t enjoy, it’s time to start the process of elimination.  Create a list of your obligations, choose the five that are most meaningful and eliminate the rest.  Call, text, send an email, do whatever it takes to get out of it.  Just don’t wait until the last minute to cancel because that’s rude. From this point on, make it your business to only say yes to things you really want to do.

  1. Participate in a 30-day declutter challenge

Some people work better when they have a set plan in place.  So we’ve come up with a calendar filled with small tasks you can complete each day for a clutter-free life.