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The time for spring cleaning has clearly passed, but it may be time for an end of summer declutter. Although sorting through piles of stuff doesn't compare to a blissful day at the beach, take on the task a little at a time by following these 5 tips—come the fall, you'll be happy you did.

Get organized. You know those stacks of junk mail, piles of magazines, scattered post-its, and shopping bags that have been sitting around for months, collecting dust? Spend 20 minutes a day, go pile by pile, and make this your mantra: sort, recycle, trash.

Take on one room at a time. Not only will the job be much more thorough, but after seeing the results of decluttering the first room, you'll be much more motivated to start on the next.

Donate, donate, donate. Bring all of the clothing, shoes, and more that you KNOW you'll never wear again to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Not only will there be more room in your closet for the shiny and new, but your unwanted items will go to those who can really use it. The same goes for books, board games, and anything else that you don't need, but someone else might.

Clean up after yourself. The chaotic messes in your home usually don't form all at once, but bit by bit. The juice glass on the coffee table, the dog toys strewn all over the floor, the towel you meant to throw in the hamper. After you've cleaned it all up, make a conscious effort to put things away as you use them—to prevent the mess from happening in the first place.

Friends are the best weapon for clutter. Everyone has an attachment to certain tchotchkes and tokens. But when you haven't acknowledged the existence of the Mickey Mouse piggy bank your mother's uncle (or was it your father's uncle?) gave you on your eighth birthday, it might mean sayonara to Mr. Mouse. Friends are the ones who will not only explain why Mickey has no place in your life anymore, but who will pry him from your clenched fingers and place him in the garbage pile.