Released December 29, 2008
URBANA, Ill. - As the New Year approaches, many people are looking to simplify their lives. If you are in that category, University of Illinois Extension can help.
"If you're keeping every bill, receipt, and financial statement because you're afraid to toss anything or if you can never find anything once you put it away, or if you want less clutter but can't figure out how to get started, there's a website you need to visit," said Jane Scherer, U of I Extension urban programs specialist and director of web programming.
Dealing With Clutter (http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/clutter/dealing.html) was developed by Karen Chan, a U of I Extension consumer and family economics educator.
"The website has sections dealing with the big questions of clutter," said Scherer. "How to clear it out, what to do with financial and tax records, how to organize kitchens, clothing, kid's stuff, and keepsakes--all topics that can stymie people trying to de-clutter their homes."
Getting rid of clutter means throwing it away, recycling it, donating it, or selling it. But that means attacking the problem first.
"Try this strategy to tackle a junky area," Scherer said. "Arm yourself with four large containers--boxes or large garbage bags--and one laundry basket. Have one bag or box each for the following items: garbage, recycling, giveaways or donations, yard sales or consignments.
"Items that you intend to keep but need to return to their correct places in other rooms should go into the laundry basket."
The website continues with more detailed strategies. There is also a section to help overcome the barriers faced in simply getting started.
"When you're having trouble deciding what to get rid of, ask yourself the questions on the Clutter Emergency Card," she added.
The Clutter Emergency Card contains six simple queries:
- How long has it been since I used this?
- Do I like it?
- Does it work properly? Is it broken?
- Do I have more than one kind of this thing? How many do I need?
- If I keep this, what will I get rid of to make room for it?
- Can I locate this information somewhere else if I need it?
Contacts: Jane Scherer (217) 244-2849
Bob Sampson, 217-244-0225, email@example.com