Resolution: Put Your House on a Diet

Follow these six tips to get your home trim and clutter-free in the new year.

The Bagster is an easy way to get rid of clutter--just fill it up with unwanted items and schedule a pickup. Image: Waste Management

Every January, millions of people pledge to lose weight by hitting the gym or going on a diet. But like our bodies, our homes also accumulate excess baggage. So this New Year, why not put your house on a diet? Here are six tips to help your home lose its “love handles” of old clothes, obsolete gadgets, furniture and more. Now you and your house can both meet your weight-loss goals this year.

Do the 27-fling boogie

You might not be able to think of 27 things in your house you no longer use, but if you get a box and don’t stop until you find them, you’ll clear up space and have something to donate to a local charity. FlyLady, who learned this tip from Suze Orman, adds this advice: “As soon as you finish filling the box, take it to the car. You are less tempted to rescue the items.” You can also do this again for a 54-Fling Boogie, and send 27 more items directly to the trash.

The biggest losers

If your home is on the obese side of the spectrum, it calls for extreme measures. A Bagster acts just like a dumpster but with the portability of a large shopping bag. Just fill the container with all of the items you’re ready to let go of, schedule a pickup, and before you know it, you’ll have shaved some serious weight off your home.

Oprah’s diet plan

If you’ve been loath to help your home lose that extra baggage because you don’t know what to do with the items, Oprah has the answer. She gives a comprehensive, state-by-state list of where to get rid of anything from furniture to that old pair of golf clubs. Plus, you get to help a local charity.

Lose that post-child weight

Did your kids skip town but leave their clutter? When children go to college or move out, their old stuff can add some serious heft to your home. It’s best to get them to come clean it out themselves—they know what items are significant, and which ones aren’t. But if they moved across the country, and home visits are too precious to waste cleaning, you can do the deed virtually. Just take photos of their items, upload them into a shareable album, and have them choose what gets sent to them and what gets pitched.

Don’t let the mailman ruin your diet

A few days of piled-up mail can easily put a few extra pounds on your kitchen table. Household advisor FlyLady says to combat the daily onslaught, deal with the paperwork the moment it comes into the house with a garbage can and calendar at your side. Then always put the bills in the same place, and set one or two days a month to tackle them.

Book yourself a healthier weight

It’s hard to let go of books you’ve read, but bookshelves can only hold so many. Put them to a new use—as shelves! This simple DIY project actually uses your old books as a storage solution. With this, you’ll clear out your place and—just like with your own diet—you’ll probably impress your friends.
 
If you’ve lost the extra weight and still have a messy house on your hands, consider some of our top organization tips: 7 Storage Solutions You Didn’t Know You Had, Pegboard Storage Solutions: Hole-y Sheet!, and Low-Cost Kitchen Storage: Cheap Stress Reduction.