Organizing Quick Tips: Clutter Free Spaces
January 18, 2012Posted by on
A couple months ago I wrote a post on Controlling Clutter. It was fairly broad… Let’s assume for a moment that you’ve read that post and are mentally and emotionally ready to declutter – you know what you want from your space, you’ve overcome all the (bad) excuses to keep unused stuff, you’ve determined to get rid of those things that make you feel guilty or stressed – now it’s time for the actual process of decluttering. Here are three easy steps to remove unwanted clutter and re-organize your space so that it suits your needs.
1. Purge – The very first step to having an efficient, organized, useful space is to get rid of all the clutter. Remember my definition of “clutter” from the previous post – clutter is anything that unnecessarily takes up space in your home. It may be a little space or a lot of space or even emotional space in the form of stress or guilt.
Quickly sort every item in your space (it may be an entire room or a closet or just a drawer) into three piles – Keep, Sell/Donate, Trash. Any item you use or love goes in the Keep pile. Any item that you no longer use or love goes in the Sell/Donate pile. Any item that is no longer useable by anyone needs to be put in the trash or recycled if possible. Have an item you don’t know what to do with? Just set it aside and take a second look once all your other items are sorted. If you’re still having trouble, use the “box it and forget it” technique – box up the items, write the date on the outside of the box, tape it up and store it somewhere out of sight. If in six months (or a year) you haven’t gone searching for items in that box, they are safe to donate or sell. You probably won’t even remember what’s in there.
Of your three piles, only one contains items that will go back into your space. Get rid of the trash immediately (as in, before you continue with your decluttering). Drop off items to donate as soon as possible (don’t continue storing them in your home). Plan a yard sale or list items online for sale in the very near future. Moving clutter from one space to another is not effective. You want the clutter completely removed from your home.
2. Sort – Take a look at your Keep pile. Are there any items that you need to keep but not necessarily in the current space? Go ahead and move them to a more appropriate home (no, seriously, go ahead and move them…before you continue sorting). For example, a screw driver should be kept wherever you store your tools and not in the silverware drawer in your kitchen.
Sort the remaining items into two piles – Often Used and Seldom Used. Seldom Used items should be put in the least convenient places – high shelves, boxes under the bed, the back corner of a cabinet, etc.
3. Store – You can’t keep all your stuff in piles in the middle of the floor. That’s not very efficient. It’s time to give your items a home. You’ve heard the phrase “a place for everything and everything in it’s place”? That’s the idea you want in your head as you put away your stuff. Remember to store Seldom Used items out of the way to leave room for those things you use often.
Depending on the space you are organizing and on your personal preferences, you can store items by kind or by use (or both). In a closet, store clothes by kind – short sleeve, long sleeve, pants, dresses, etc. In a kitchen, store items you use for cooking near the stove or store glasses near the refrigerator. In an office, all pens and pencils should be stored together. You get the idea.
Purge, Sort, Store – easy enough, right? You can declutter like a pro! Or, just email me if you need a helping hand – I love getting rid of clutter (especially someone else’s).
Question: What’s an area in your home that you’d like to declutter and re-organize for a better use?