When it comes to helping you control the clutter around you, you have to ask yourself some difficult questions, let go of excuses, sort through it all, set up permanent and reasonable storage systems, and dedicate yourself to taking a minute or two here and there to keep the system working for you.
No matter what we do to help you get organized, it doesn't do much good if you are unable to stay organized. Here are some of the steps we will help you walk through.
Ask the difficult questions:
- When was the last time you used it?
- When will you (realistically) need it again?
- Why would you need it again?
- Who might ask for it?
- What would you need it for?
- Is it easily replaceable?
- What's the worst thing that would happen if you got rid of it?
- Is it beautiful, useful, or loved?
Let go of your excuses:
- "It was expensive and I can't stand to see it go to waste." (If you aren't using it, isn't it going to waste anyway?)
- "I might be need it someday." (If you haven't used it in a year, would you use it in the next year - even if you can find it when you're looking for it?)
- "It was a gift." (Gifts are the most difficult to let go of. If it has true sentimental value, then you should be displaying it or using it. If it doesn't, it falls under the "1-year rule" and remember that no one gives you a gift to be un-used, cluttering your house.)
Sorting through it all:
When it comes to sorting, the first thing we will do is create piles or set up boxes to work with. Some of the labels for these piles or boxes might be:
- Keep (items you want to keep and use)
- Don't Keep (items you know you don't use and don't want to keep)
- Give Away (items that should be donated to charity or given to someone specific you know that wants them)
Sell (valuable items that you want to consign or save for a garage sale)
Undecided (items you are not sure if you want but you are pretty sure you're not ready to let go of - these items will be placed in "storage" and dated, and if you don't use them within 1-year, you should get rid of them.)
Before setting up storage:
Before we set up your storage system, you need an idea of what you want from your storage.
Are you looking to maximize space or simply stay organized? Do you want the items hidden from view or in full view? Do you want metal, plastic, wood, or some other type of storage system for the particular area we are working on. What room will the stored items be placed and how do you want the storage to work in with your decor?
These are all decisions that need to be made in advance to achieve an ultimate storage system and maximum clutter control.
Remember that whatever system we establish, it has to be a system that makes sense for you and your family, and one that is useful and easy to maintain. A system that is difficult to maintain - simply will turn out to be a disaster - and a cluttered mess again!
Setting up storage:
Once the difficult storage decisions are made, we install and organize all the storage systems you have decided on. The next step, is to put the system into action!
You must create a set home for everything you own. You've heard the phrase, "A place for everything, and everything in it's place." There is no such thing as half-way here. It either has a home, or is not in your home.
You should have a good reason for storing an item in a certain place. It should always make sense. For example, you shouldn't store bathroom towels in your bedroom because you never need them in there. Things have to be easily accessible in an area that you will use it. Food does not belong in a hallway closet or shelves in the garage; it belongs in the kitchen.
We will work to store similar-items together according to their purpose . For example, if you have a travel alarm, a toiletry bag & travel accessories, they should be placed together in a sensible place, preferably close to your suitcase or overnight bag.
We also want to work toward storing items you use most often in easily accessible spaces. For example, if you prefer to iron your work clothes the same day you are going to wear them, it would make no sense to store the ironing board and iron in the back of a closet - you'd spend more time digging the supplies out than it takes to do the ironing.
Likewise, items like Christmas decorations should be stored in hard plastic containers (where items cannot easily be "crushed") and can be placed in an out-of-the-way place (such as an upper storage shelf) that you don't need to access often. You'll only be taking those containers out twice a year - once to put the decorations up and once to take them down and store them again.
We will want to make smaller organization systems work for you as well, such as using drawer dividers, shelves to subdivide larger spaces, hooks and racks for hanging things, under bed boxes for storing items that always end up under there, and modular components that can be adjusted as your needs change.