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Declutter, get organized in 2012



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Brigitte Todd, founder of Clutter T.O.S.S. Photo by Patrick McAbee. (click for larger version)
January 11, 2012 - Groveland Twp.- Brigitte Todd knows that lost time is lost money. Lost keys, lost documents, and general clutter causes stress.

A common New Year's resolution is to get organized and not coincidentally, January is National Get Organized Month.

"Being organized saves lots of money, stress, nerves," says Todd. "The less stuff you have laying around, the less stress you have."

The township resident, wife, and mother of three has made organization a priority in her life and helps others get organized, too. Her home-based business is Clutter T.O.S.S. (Totally Organized Simply Simple) and she travels to clients' homes to declutter and set up organizational systems.

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Todd has been called on to help clients who are selling homes, dealing with a flooded basement, and others who are simply overwhelmed and do not know where to begin to get their lives in order. You don't need to be a hoarder in order to benefit from her simple tips:

n Everything should have a home. If an item doesn't have a home, and is moving from place to place around your home, you might not need it.

n Items should be kept close to where you use them. In the kitchen, keep your mixer close to your baking supplies. Keep similar items together.

n On your counters, and in your cabinets, look critically at what items you are using on a regular basis. Not using the bread machine, the blender, the crock pot or stock pot regularly? Move them to another room if need be. Just don't forget where you placed them.

n Particularly if you have a small home, try to only buy items that have multi-uses. "Do you really need that hot dog cooker or cupcake thing?"

n Don't allow clutter in to your home. Bring in the mail and immediately toss the junk mail. Read newspapers and magazines within a few days or before the next one arrives. "If they stack for a month and you haven't read it, why do you have it?"

n Do electronic bill pay and switch to electronic statements to reduce mail and filing.

n If you buy a new item of clothing, get rid of an old outfit.

n In your closets, hang clothes one way and after wearing, turn the hanger the other way. After six months, donate or toss whatever has not been worn.

n Spices, cosmetics and medications all get old. Check expirations or label them with dates they were purchased. Periodically check them and throw out the old.

n Clutter can be overwhelming. Don't let it be. Choose one thing that you can do in 15-20 minutes or whatever amount of time you have. "Don't feel overwhelmed, pick a small spot and go. Your house didn't get cluttered in 24 hours and it won't declutter that fast, either."

Todd is also a consultant for Clever Containers, offering various organization tools. For more information on Clutter T.O.S.S. or Clever Containers, call Brigitte Todd at 248-819-2243.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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