Do you often spend hours looking for things? Have you ever discovered a box full of items that you haven’t looked at, or needed, in years?

Do you avoid certain dark corners of your home or garage because you just can’t deal with the mess?

Are you moving in the next few weeks and want to avoid moving carloads of stuff you don’t need?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, don’t stress out, the steps below will help you

sort, separate and store

The first step is the most difficult and time-consuming — sort through the mess and separate it into three categories: Stuff you don’t need anymore, junk you never needed in the first place and useful items that you forgot you had.

give useful items a home

Now that you know what items you want to keep, store them in suitable containers that you’ve clearly marked with a label. This is where a good electronic labeller comes in. Electronic label makers date back almost 20 years to when Brother introduced their popular P-touch brand. Today, they can be purchased in most office supplies stores, or online at places like “We encourage our customers to use colour coding to organize multiple storage boxes,” says Marc Ruel, product specialist at Brother Canada. “It may seem strange, but they report that they get addicted to their labellers.” However you do it, creating a system that works for you will make it that much easier to stick to.

So now that you know what you’ve got, where are you going to put it?

Resist the temptation to put all those boxes back in the same shelf in the garage; give them proper homes instead. The best way to determine where something should go is to put it near similar items. Stray tools go near screws, bolts and hardware. Gardening gloves and tools go near seed leftovers and bulbs. Camping gear? Meet fishing gear.

If you’re like most people, you’ll be left with all sorts of things you just don’t need. Now’s the time to join forces with your neighbours and have that massive garage sale you’ve been putting off for years. An electronic labeller will come in handy here too.

donate what you don’t need

With so many items for sale, buyers will appreciate that your items are all clearly price-tagged — negotiable of course.

Everything that is left over goes to the Salvation Army or your local thrift shop.

Nothing against yoga, massage or long walks in the park, but if you really want to de-stress, de-clutter: Nothing clears the mind like clearing the pile of junk that’s accumulated in your cupboard.

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