• Rod Sarmiento

Tips for Removing Junk From Your Home

If you own a tennis racket you haven't played with in 15 years, this article is for you.

If you are starting to think about clearing out your home , After all, if it has been months, or a year (or longer) since you last really tried to get rid of the unwanted things residing in your home, we already know that cleaning can easily turn into anyone's least favorite task to do.

So if your house is beginning to resemble the inside of a garbage can, or your backyard looks like a junkyard, try these strategies for removing the unwanted stuff from your home.

Set goals. It might not be practical to tackle all the clutter throughout your home, or even an entire room, depending on the severity of your situation and what your energy level is. So don't even try. Just determine what you want to attempt.

Cecilia Anderson, a professional organizer based in the District of Columbia, says you might decide your goal is "to get rid of 40 percent of the contents of the garage" so before you start the clean out, set your goals of what need to accomplished.

Set guidelines. Anderson also says you might want to give yourself guidelines, like "making a blanket decision that all magazines more than two months old can automatically be thrown out, or that any clothes smaller

than one size below your current size can automatically be donated."

Having guidelines will speed up the process, she says. Plus, Anderson says, "If you start with some low-hanging fruit, it will get easier to make decisions confidently."

Throw away all garbage. If you have rooms crammed with clutter, you probably have items that can be immediately ferried to the garbage can without giving it a second thought. Maybe there's an empty bag of chips lying around (you know, real garbage), or some empty shoe boxes you kept, thinking you might store something in them one day. Get rid of them. Make getting rid of trash one of the first things you do, advises Felice Cohen, a professional organizer based in New York City.

Identify what you want to get rid of. If you can, at the start of your junk-removal process, put everything in one area, Cohen says. If moving everything to one area isn't practical, she suggests labeling the items so you know what will eventually be going to charity or what you plan to sell and actually dispose of.

Set a timer. This doesn't have to be an all-day affair. If you want to work in small doses, Cohen suggests setting a timer or planning to fill up a certain number of bags, echoing Anderson's advice about setting goals and guidelines. It'll keep you from getting overwhelmed, Cohen.

Know who will be getting your junk. That is, if you're going to start writing your junk-removal story, try to have your happy ending already planned. In other words, where is all this stuff going to go, if not to another part of your home? You have several possible exit doors to consider, according to Cohen.

Hire a professional junk remover. There are plenty of them out there, like Baypro Junk Removal service in SanFrancisco Bay Area .

"For a fee, they will come and take the stuff away," Cohen says. "That's the quickest way to do it, at a reasonable price."

Have a garage sale. But Cohen recommends you think long and hard about that before committing."A garage sale takes a lot of effort, and the payoff isn't always worth it," she says. "Shoppers come looking for a bargain, and you won't make that much money, and most likely you'll end up either bringing it back into the house or donating it."

Donate it. Cohen says this is usually the best strategy. "Salvation Army and Goodwill may even pick up the stuff," she says. "You receive a tax write-off, and while it's not the equivalent of what you spent on those items, you're not going to make the money back from selling it at a yard sale."

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