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Sat, Oct. 19

Decluttering 101

Our mother had some of the ugliest clothes ever. So one year, my sister and I went through her closet and donated all of them. In celebration of National Get Organized Month, here is an inspirational story, as well as a couple of tips and tricks to get started. Hint: These tips can be applied to any room in the house.

Tip #1 - Getting started can sometimes be overwhelming. When that happens, just walk into your closet and pick up one piece of clothing. It doesn't matter what piece it is; just pick up one. If it looks great on you, fits and you love it, keep it. If it has holes or stains, toss it. If it's something that doesn't fit you anymore or is no longer your style, donate it. Then pick up another piece of clothing and do the same thing. Soon, you will have piles for each category: keep, toss, and donate.

Tip #2 - Stop buying things just because they're on sale - you know who you are! Just because it's on sale doesn't mean you desperately need it, will even wear it, or will use it. It will probably end up on the shelf way in the back. You'll look at it and say, "Oh yes - that. I'll wear that one day. I'm keeping it." When organizing your closet, if your clothing doesn't work for your current body or make you look and feel fabulous, you don't need it.

Tip #3 - This tip works really well for clothes and shoes: one in, one out. If you have a yellow shirt and you buy another similar yellow shirt, take the old one out and donate it. If you have a pair of black pumps but feel they need to be updated, get yourself a new pair and donate the old pair.

Organizing can be overwhelming, but the benefits of saving time and money and bringing order to your life are well worth the effort of picking up that first piece of clothing.

And my mom's closet? She loved it.

Mother-daughter professional organizers Denise and Nicole Mueller have more than 15 years of experience at Herman & Lily's Professional Organizing (, and are members of the National Association of Professional Organizers.

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