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It’s that time of year again. Time to de-clutter, organize and finally stop hoarding those magazines (you're not going to read them, OK?). But let's be honest--easier said than done. To give us the motivation we need, we’ve enlisted the help of The Productivity Pro, Laura Stack. (Yes, that is an actual title.) She walks us through seven key steps to successful spring cleaning.

/images/articles/1. Prepare
Family Circle Magazine

1. Prepare

Start by labeling five large boxes with the following categories: Put Away, Give Away, Store Away, Shred and Trash. Feels good already, don’t it?

/images/articles/2. Focus

2. Focus

Concentrate on organizing one area at a time. Select a space such as a drawer, shelf, desk or entire room if you're feeling ambitious. If your cleaning lacks focus, you’ll end up with multiple “half-organized” areas, which basically equals one whole mess.

/images/articles/3. Use a Timer

3. Use a Timer

Unlike the KonMari method, Stack’s OK with breaking things up. In other words, it doesn’t have to be an all-day affair. When you’re ready to begin, set your timer for 50 minutes. When it buzzes, use the last ten minutes of your organization session to clean-up the boxes: put things away, place charity items in the car, move stuff to storage, toss out the trash. This way things don’t pile up, even if you can't finish in one sitting.

/images/articles/4. Try Innovative Storage

4. Try Innovative Storage

Anything that goes together should be stored together. Find attractive boxes, baskets, toolboxes and totes to organize common items such as batteries, make-up, tools, cleaning supplies or gift-wrap. Use duffel bags to store sports equipment--one sport per bag per person.

/images/articles/5. One In, One Out

5. One In, One Out

As you group similar items together, avoid keeping too many of the same thing. Do you really need five spatulas or three dozen sweaters? Instead, the next time you think about purchasing something you already own, give serious thought as to what are willing to give up in order to bring said item into the mix.

/images/articles/6. Shred, Shred, Shred

6. Shred, Shred, Shred

Paper piles can stack up fast. Toss what you can--but shred sensitive documents with a reliable device. Stack swears by the Fellowes 79Ci as it can crosscut up to 16 sheets of paper at one time. It even works on credit cards (think about that one for a second).

/images/articles/7. Tag Items

7. Tag Items

If you’re still having a hard time parting with certain things such as clothing or kitchen gadgets, place a tag on each item with the date one year from now. If you use the item, take the tag off. When that date arrives, anything that still has a tag goes.

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