BACK TO REAL LIFE
Hello, friends. It’s a new year, but I’m dragging my feet this week. I had a GLORIOUS 3 week vacation filled with far too many sweet treats and lazy days on the couch with people I love. (What in the world is better than that?)
Today marks my first day back in the swing of things, and I’m working with a few local clients on some organization projects. Since that’s the mode I’m in, I thought I share my favorite tools to get you organized this year as well as my go-to method for getting any space organized.
I call it an “organization protocol”, but really it’s more like a plan of attack. Many times the clutter and time commitment attached to organizing can feel like “the enemy”. A big scary one that mocks us at every turn.
THE END GOAL OF ORGANIZING
So where do you start? One of the best things I can tell you is to focus on ONE ROOM at a time. Attempting more than one room can often result in panic attacks, flying objects, grow-up tantrums, and comfort snacking. Trust me.
Here’s the goal:
Items you frequently use are close and easy to access, items you rarely use are stored away intentionally, and things you don’t use/need find a new home.
1. TAKE EVERYTHING OUT
Again we are starting with one room, but this one room will be a disaster zone for a spell. You can’t really organize a room unless you truly take stock of everything in it. Clear the cabinets, closets, and drawers. Move items to the center of the room or on a large table top, so that you have space to move around the perimeter of the room.
2. GET READY TO SORT
Allocate boxes, bags, or simply an area where you have 4 labels:
D. KEEP CLOSE
3. QUESTION EVERYTHING
If something is going to stay and take up precious room in your home, it gets the 3rd degree. The following questions are ones I use to help clients when they are deciding about an item.
Q: Do I regularly use this? (YES, put in “Keep Close” pile. NO, then ask yourself, “Do I use this occasionally?” YES, put in “Store” pile. NO, keep reading…)
Q: Does this hold sentimental value? (Heirloom? Something irreplaceable? YES, “Store” pile. NO, “Donate/Give” pile. *Also, if it is an heirloom but you really wouldn’t mind it leaving your house, see if there is family member who it might mean something to. Then there’s less guilt about it leaving.)
Q: Will I miss this in 3 years? (YES, add to “Store” pile. NO, “Trash” or “Donate”)
Q: Is this a double of something I already have?
Q: Am I holding on to it for a “just in case” situation?
4. COMPARTMENTALIZE & LABEL
This is the fun part where you get potentially buy things:) Majority of the items in our homes need a very specific spot. And by specific I don’t mean “the attic” or “the hall closet”. I’ve seen too many cases in my own home and clients’ homes that when an item doesn’t have a specific spot, it eventually becomes clutter that you either A.) Waste time looking for or B.) End up moving it multiple times because it’s in the way.
Invest in “homes” for your things. This can simply mean a large basket where lots of random items live, or a specific storage tote purchased just for a single item. Clear containers are great, because they don’t really need labels. Any other boxes, bins, or tubs get labels. Not only is this for you, but other members of your family to know where things belong.
5. COMMIT TO THE SYSTEM
After the organization honeymoon wears off, you’ll be tempted to let things slide and put them wherever is closest at the moment. Resist the urge. If you have some last minute company and need to clean fast, invest in a couple huge bins to throw things in temporarily. Put them out of site until guests leave and then empty them when you have time to take items to their permanent homes.
IDENTIFY YOUR TROUBLE SPOTS
Sometimes areas where we don’t have clarity or lack confidence in tend to be ones where we collect excess or become sore spots even after multiple attempts at getting organized.
For some people this is the kitchen. Cooking is stressful and not your favorite thing to do, so the kitchen feels scattered and cluttered.For me, that is my closet. I’ve shared before how I really struggle with clothes. Buying, dressing, and maintaing a wardrobe stresses me the heck out. I know this about myself, so I every couple months I have to make sure I’m not neglecting “my systems” or avoiding my closet all together.
THE ORGANIZED “HIGH”
The end reward most of us feel after we organize and purge a room tends to be addictive. Don’t waste the “high”. If you’re feeling motivated, tackle another space while it lasts.
And then treat yourself to some ice cream. Or wine. Or both.
What are some areas you want to get organized in 2015?