22 Aug 2014
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Clean Out the Clutter, Get Organized in 2013

Professional organizer offers ideas to declutter and organize your home in the New Year.

Clean Out the Clutter, Get Organized in 2013 Clean Out the Clutter, Get Organized in 2013


Did the holidays bring a whole new level of clutter to your home?

The New Year is the perfect time to get a fresh, clutter-free start. The hardest part can be getting started.

“It’s the biggest block for people. They don’t know where to start,” said Michelle Prima, professional organizer and owner of Prima By Design, Inc. in Buffalo Grove.

“I advise people to start in the area that bothers them the most and will give them the most satisfaction to clear up,” she said. “The first few things they have to get rid of is very difficult, once the process gets rolling, it’s a lot quicker and easier.”

Prima is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers Chicago. She has been a professional organizer for eight years and offers a free 30-minute consultation to clients.

This is the time of year that people look to get organized and get rid of clutter, Prima said. “I think people are realizing that it’s much easier and less stressful to live more simply than trying to maintain all that clutter,” she said.

Prima's clients are looking for help with problem areas. “They are struggling in another part of their work where they are not as productive as they could be or losing things or realizing it can be easier if they were organized,” Prima said.

A key to decluttering is not only sorting through stacks and problem areas but also changing your habits, she said. Years of clutter will not go away in a weekend so be patient, she said.

Mindful consumption is one way to change behavior, particularly when it comes to shopping, she said. If you buy a pair of shoes, go through your closet and get rid of an older pair.

Decluttering and getting organized should really be a family effort, Prima said. “Everyone has to be onboard and everyone has to be cooperative as far as putting things away and not bringing extra things in (the house.)”

“You have to start changing everybody’s habit,” she said.

Prima is holding a free lecture, De-cluttering Your Home a Room at a Time, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 8 at Mount Prospect Library, 10 South Emerson Street. Prima recommends registering for the lecture.

TLC, which broadcasts “ Hoarding: Buried Alive,” has lots of information and tips to get organized and get the clutter out of your home:

Cleaning tips:

  • Turn cleaning day into a family activity and give out prizes.
  • Create a cleaning checklist to get organized.
  • Drop two Alka-Seltzer tablets into toilet to help freshen it.

Attack clutter:

  • Discard expired items, like food, medicine. If items don’t have an expiration date, create one. For example, toss out magazines after a month.
  • Use space creatively. You can use walls for storage by putting up shelves or create more space on your desk by hanging photos.
  • Donate or sell unusable items. 

Stay organized

  • Make time to stay organized.
  • Set guidelines to keep clutter at bay.
  • Schedule a time to clean.


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