Ready to S.T.A.R.T. decluttering? Here's how

Organizing expert shares fast, easy method

By Sarah Mayberry, M.P.H. - Producer

DETROIT - Ready to start decluttering, but overwhelmed by the Konmari Method? We asked "Clutterbug" organizing expert Cassandra Aarssen to create a fast and easy alternative to jump-start your decluttering.    And it only takes 15 minutes a day!

Here's the cheat sheet to her  "Just S.T.A.R.T." method: 

S- Set a timer for 15 minutes
T- Use a Tidy Tote to gather items that don't belong in the room
A- Assign "good enough for today" homes for your items.  (Hint: think of the first place you would look for this item.)
R- Run!  Move as fast as you can and don't overthink.
T- Touch it once - Resist the urge to PILE and put it away NOW instead

"I like the S.T.A.R.T. method because it's perfect for busy, maybe even lazy, people who want to see an impact without having to make a bigger mess or spend a lot of time doing it," said Aarssen.

She insists, you can make an impact in just a few minutes a day.

"The 'S' in S.T.A.R.T. stands for 'Set a timer' for 15 or 20 minutes, and that's all you're going to spend," said Aarssen.

Next comes the "T"' for "Tidy Tote."  So what is a "Tidy Tote" you may ask?

"This is where you grab a laundry basket or something and run around in your room, pick one room, and fill it up with things that don't belong in that space," explained Aarssen.  "Next we have the 'A' for 'assign good enough homes.'  So if you come across something and you're like, 'I have no idea where to put this,' our natural tendency is to pile it for later. Instead, I want you to assign a spot."

Aarssen's advice?    Think about the first place you would look for that item if you needed it, and put it there.

"Next we have the 'R' for 'run,'" said Aarssen.  "When we're under a timeline, we're moving as fast as possible, we're going to make those quick, natural decisions, which stops us from overthinking the process."

The last step --

"'T' for 'touch it once' is probably my favorite tip," said Aarssen.  "So many times again, we're piling for later.  So when you have something in your hand, I don't want you to think, 'Indecision, where does this go, I'll put it here and deal with it tomorrow.' Instead, I want you to create a home right now."

Aarssen has identified four different types of  "Clutterbugs."  There is a free online quiz you can take to find out which one you are and identify your personal organizing style.  If you've tried to get organized before and failed, Aarssen says the quiz is the perfect place to start.


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