Spring To-Do's

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Decluttering for the Millennium

How To Start Decluttering Your Home

Don't head into the new millennium – or this new stage of your life – bogged down by clutter. Take advantage of your nesting instinct and use it to get rid of the extra junk you've been lugging around. A good way to start: if your house were on fire, would you know what to take first? Do you know where that item is? Start in that room, and find at least five things to throw away or donate.

Decluttering is simple if you take it step by step. Don't plan to spend a weekend overhauling your home. Instead, set small, realistic goals: throw (or give) away two items during the commercial breaks of every television show you watch; set a timer for 15 minutes and get rid of everything in your refrigerator that has expired; put your photos in an album, and find a place to keep the album.

A word of caution: now is not the time to go through your clothes. You will depress yourself when you see that you can't wear your favorite jeans, and if you throw things away, you will regret it later. Save the closets for your baby's first birthday – if it doesn't fit you by then, chances are it's not going to.

Go through your old magazines ruthlessly – if it's more than six months old, toss it. You'll feel much lighter, your house will take much less time to clean and you'll be able to find things. An extra benefit: if you declutter your home while you're pregnant, it will be that much easier to childproof it after the baby is born.

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