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Condo Scene: Contain your condo — a decluttering how-to


storage locker

OTTAWA — Everything you bring through the door has the potential to become clutter. If you have recently downsized, you may still be used to hiding the mess in another room, the basement or the garage. That just won’t work in the restricted floor plan of a condo. For unit owners, clutter is an awkward, seven-letter word that may add unneeded stress to daily life.
If you are about to downsize, hopefully you had adequate time to edit your list of must-have possessions. One of the hardest things about downsizing is knowing exactly what to take and what to leave behind. Many people are so overwhelmed by the prospect of moving that they won’t consider condo living. They are completely distressed by the thought of downsizing.

There are many ways to unload items you no longer have use for. You can donate them to a charity, have a garage sale or contact an estate sale firm that can host an open house (basically, an indoor garage sale) conducted by professionals.

If you have a lot of books, contact your area’s local book fair or consider donating to a library. If you have a lot of antiques, contact antique stores or auction houses in your area.

Be vigilant

If you’re not careful, clutter can build up quickly. To avoid this, try to get organized and have a regular system for getting rid of your clutter. One of the best ways I know to do this is by going through your home once a week. Instead of postponing the cleanup, keep on top of it by doing it regularly.

Neat freaks may have many ways to get organized, but having good lighting in all your closets is one way to start. Try not to stuff things away. Instead, make a place for everything. And try very hard to recognize your clutter, as so many people don’t realize they have any.

Being messy does not mean that you are not clean. You may have clean clutter, but it is clutter just the same.

We all have days when we are just in a hurry and have to bolt out the door. But when you live in a condo, it’s most important that your space be highly organized. There is no greater feeling than walking into a pristine space when returning from vacation. A clutter-free environment is inspiring and, believe it or not, may free up your mind and allow you to be more creative while lowering your stress level. See if it doesn’t make you calmer and more efficient.

Zip it

Ziploc has a new product that allows you to conveniently store off-season items. The bags let you vacuum seal clothes for air-tight storage, reducing their bulk — useful where space is at a premium. It also ensures items will remain clean and dry in your storage locker.

Lockers and labels

Have you seen Bravo’s Storage Wars? These lockers are filled with clutter. Watch the show for a few minutes and you’ll be inspired to organize your storage locker.

When doing this, invest in something like Metro Wire shelving, sold at Costco or Home Depot. These shelving units come in all sizes and the ones with wheels really help handle your clutter. They are fantastic for keeping items off the ground and additional hooks will let you hang items so nothing is stored on the floor. These racks used to be called baker’s racks and many bakeries use them today.

And, just like your closets, make sure you have good lighting in all your storage areas.

Designer labels

I think one of the most important things to buy when getting rid of clutter is a good label maker. Make sure you label all things stored, as it will keep you organized and save you time when searching for items.

A cluttered environment encourages a cluttered mind. So use your condo sense and keep the clutter out of your condo.

Marilyn Wilson has been selling real estate for more than 24 years and owns Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties Inc. Brokerage, an Exclusive Affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate. She can be reached through or follow her on Twitter@marilyn_wilson.

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