Middle aged couple packing.If you’re preparing to move into a new Florida retirement community or you’ve still got boxes left to unpack, now is the time to really take a close look at your clutter situation. A lifetime of memories can be hard to part with, but that bag full of random electrical cords shouldn’t be difficult to throw away. If your home is looking a bit cluttered, here are some tips on how to get things under control, leaving you with less stress and a more relaxing home to enjoy.

If your home is already full of clutter, it can be difficult deciding where to start. Your best bet – and the one that may give you the most immediate satisfaction – is the area that you see the most and that bothers you the most. Maybe it’s a dining room table that seems to collect newspapers, junk mail, and other flotsam and jetsam. Or perhaps it’s the coffee table in the family room that has four different remotes, a TV guide, glasses, mugs, crossword puzzles and more covering the surface. Whether it’s a whole room or just one section, tackle that first.

As you go through the clutter, be ruthless in getting rid of things you truly don’t use or need. To start, sort everything into a pile to throw away, to sell, or to donate. Don’t hold on to items you don’t actually like, just because they were a gift or because they work. If it’s just going to end up in a box or closet, taking up space, get rid of it. If it is something you haven’t used in a year or more, there’s a good chance you really don’t need it.

When it comes to items you do keep, group like items with like. For example, keep all of your light bulbs in one place so you know where to find them. It’s tempting to create individual files for every bill, account, and other paperwork. The problem is that it becomes too easy not to file things when you have to find that one specific file. Keep all car documents – title, insurance, repairs, etc. — in one “car” folder. Have a similar one for your home, health care, and any really large categories. Consider going through the file once a year and clearing out anything that isn’t needed anymore.

To really get control over your clutter, try to tackle the whole project within a week, rather than doing a room here and a room there over a longer period. It’s too easy to fall back into old, bad habits. Dedicate yourself to getting rid of unnecessary duplicates, junk, and items you just don’t like. Once everything is pared down and has a permanent place of storage, you can free yourself up to truly enjoy your Florida retirement without a mountain of junk getting in the way.