Introducing Special Guest Columnist Punxsutawney Phil

Punxsutawney Phil has the right idea. One of the largest members of the ground squirrel family and a “true” hibernator, he suspends regular activity during the winter, entering a deep sleep and avoiding frigid weather in an underground hibernation chamber. Humans also tend to slow their activity through the winter (albeit in climate-controlled homes and with a host of entertainment options), but we can take a few cues from the world’s most beloved weather prognosticator. This week, the Organizing Blog turns things over to Phil to get his advice on a life well-lived. His initial counsel? “Cut the #clutter for a restful winter. And keep your burrow #tidy.”

Dog Days: Decluttering With Pets

If you have #pets, you know that they can contribute to the #clutter and #grime that your home attracts. And the “dog days” of summer are as good a time as any to discover a few strategies to keep your space #organized and #tidy — whether you have a #dog, #cat, or some other furry, scaly or feathered friend.

First, tackle #decluttering #KonMari-style. “When going through your dog or cat’s items, focus on which of them bring your pet the most joy or serve a true purpose,” FreshPet says. “They usually make it pretty clear what they like and don’t like. Keep only the items that make your #pet the happiest.”

Try not to get too sentimental about pet possessions. If there’s something that has particular significance such as your pup’s first collar, frame it. Most other items can be discarded; #donate lightly used items to a local animal shelter or ClothingDonations.org. If something holds memories but is of little use, take a picture of it before letting it go.

Life Storage suggests creating pet “stations” around the house, designating bins and baskets for grooming items, outdoor/exercise needs, toys, and food and treats. If you house your pet in a crate, cage or aquarium, keep any related supplies #organized nearby for convenient care and maintenance.

PopSugar offers a list of 10 pet #organization products “sure to make your life easier,” or you can DIY your own storage solutions. Get creative with #thrift-store finds, shop the container section of a local hardware store or build an organizer. Consider labeling all boxes, baskets and bins as an additional #streamlining strategy.

Once your pet #stuff is organized and in its proper places, you won’t be tripping over toys or wasting time wondering where the leash went. And your home will be easier to #clean, too! Pets shed, track in dirt and leave other messes in their wake. But that’s a topic that The Organizing Blog will revisit another day. Enjoy the dog days!

Summer Reading for the Dedicated Declutterer, Part 4

If you want to read the de facto bible of #decluttering this summer, look no further than  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Her crash course in #clutter control asks readers to use the #KonMari method quickly #declutter whole categories of goods: clothing, books, paperwork and so on. Follow the book’s guidance, Kondo says, and you shouldn’t ever have to do such a drastic #decluttering again. “The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life,” Kondo writes. “The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.” #SummerReading

Five Kondo Tips for Organizing Small Spaces

Netflix star and bestselling author Marie #Kondo has five tips for #organizing small spaces such as apartments and condos, Urbansize says. First, work through your entire inventory, #decluttering by category. Next, use clear storage containers to find things easily — limiting the need to scatter everything to find something specific. Store similar-sized items together and use vertical storage whenever possible; shelves are more desirable than stacks. Finally, use Kondo’s “mindful” folding techniques on #clothing and textiles to make the best use of boxes, bins and drawers.

Marie Kondo for Condos and Small Spaces

Marie Kondo’s bestselling how-to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up can offer advice for dwellers of small spaces such as condominiums and apartments. To KonMari a 215-sq.-ft. apartment, one of The Kissters bloggers discarded everything she didn’t need and #decluttered entire categories (i.e., clothing, books) of stuff instead of areas (i.e., hall closet, dresser drawer). Figure out what still “sparks joy” and thank the rest for their contributions, she says. And finally, learn to look at your home as a sanctuary in order to keep things #neat and #tidy long after the initial #purge and #oganization is done.