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Anna G. Larson, Published March 27 2014

The 5 Spot: Declutter with a donation box

“5 spot” is a weekly feature that focuses on quick tips, ideas, activities and more – all in bunches of five.

FARGO – Less is more, especially when it comes to the home.

Paring down possessions and decluttering is quick and easy with tips from professional organizer and AreaVoices blogger Melissa Schmalenberger, of Fargo.

After all, as Picasso said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

1. Garage: Set up a trash and recycling area close to your car.

Each time you exit the car, take with you the trash and recyclables.

“Engage the other family members as well and you soon will have a spotless car,” Schmalenberger says.

2. Kitchen: Put all kitchen utensils in a box and store it elsewhere in the house.

As you need a utensil, remove it from the box.

“After three months, you will have a good idea of what you use and what is clutter,” Schmalenberger says.

Donate whatever is left in the box.

3. Closet: Turn all clothes on hangers backwards in the closet.

As you wear an item, hang it the proper way on the hanger.

“After going through a few seasons, say, nine months, donate whatever is still facing the wrong way, as this is your test and shows you what you do not wear,” she says.

4. Electronics: Collect every random cord, electronic item or charger that is not in use.

Have the “techie” member of your family go through the box to determine what has value.

“Whatever isn’t being used should leave your house,” Schmalenberger says.

Label everything that is left with a marker or label maker so you know which electronic item it belongs to.

5. Donation center: Use a large cardboard box to create a donation center in your house.

Family members can add items as they discover they no longer need them.

“Now when someone puts on a pair of jeans that no longer fit, they go in the donation box, not back in the laundry pile to be washed and put back in the closet,” Schmalenberger says.

Donate the items once the box is full.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Anna G. Larson at (701) 241-5525