If unexpected guests call to say they will be at your place in 20 minutes, will you be ready in that amount of time? If not, your home is too cluttered. The best test, of course, is how you feel when you look at your place.

If you find it’s a stressful maze of stuff, taking action is a must. Start by vowing to spend 20 to 30 minutes a day de-cluttering.

  • Tackling one room at a time, decide what you can do without, what to keep and what to trash.
  • Store the keepers where you use them. Put items on the kitchen counter that you use every day. Keep in-season clothes in the center of the closet.
  • Buy a basket for each room to store related items: towels in the bathroom, envelopes, stamps, and pens in the kitchen, hats and gloves by the door. Books and magazines in the den.
  • Give away unneeded things to friends or charities.
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