How many times have you said, “I have to get organized?” Yet, by the end of the day, week, season or year, the mess is piled higher than ever! STOP! There’s no time like right now to make a serious commitment to “clearing out the clutter.”
A whole industry has emerged from our desire to clean up and make better use of our time and space. Available storage solutions will organize any closet, garage, laundry space, home office, room, cupboard, drawer nook or cranny. You can find these handy devices at home centers, department stores, office supply centers and retail outlets. I’ll list several help sources at the conclusion.
For now, take a serious look at the piles in your home…on a desk, tucked into corners, on bedside tables, on chairs, or stashed in a closet. Do they represent stacks of unmade decisions? The dilemma, of course, is too much stuff and no designated place to store it. The solution can be a simple, ongoing purging process. Get some file folders, corrugated boxes, plastic bins or large shopping bags. Label them as below:
Thrift Shop / Sell_______________
Trash or Toss _________________
Keep or File___________________
Be sure to choose a time of the day to start when you’re most productive. Select a specific area like a closet, a cupboard, a corner, a bookcase, etc. If you only have 15 minutes to spare, find a “15 minute project.” If you have longer, tackle a bigger area. Go through it thoroughly. Separate things using the system outlined above. Clear an area, make decisions about what to do with the piles, and you’ll be headed to near euphoria with your result.
If you’re organizing paper, get some boxes and 12 file folders. Label each folder with a month of year. Place the Thanksgiving Day football tickets in the Nov. file, Grandma Gwendolyn’s birthday card in March, etc. If you want to organize further, create weekly files within each month. Now, keep your momentum going and before long, you, too, can lose 50 or 100+ pounds (of unnecessary stuff) this weekend.
Many people feel like they spend the first half of their life collecting and the second half getting rid of stuff. Accumulating too much actually reduces satisfaction and happiness. A PBS program identified an epidemic of over buying as affluenza –the stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness that result in bloated, frustrated unfulfillment.
Here are some simple affordable tips to get started in major rooms of your residence:
LIVING ROOM..Clear the floor and tables of reading material. Place all newspapers and magazines in a magazine rack or attractive basket. Display or hang personal items seasonally, not all at the same time.
KITCHEN Counters should only hold items that you use daily. Find a storage place for everything else. You’ll learn to love the openness and extra work space.
BATHROOM Use a silverware caddy, hang extra shelving or cover a box or tin to hold toothbrushes, toothpaste, shaving cream supplies, makeup and other toiletries. Find a home for every item thrown in drawers or closets. Free up counter space for fresh flowers or a decorative touch. Get a few behind the door hooks for towels and facecloths.
BEDROOM If night tables are cluttered with books and reading material, adopt the same philosophy as in the Living Room…read and toss or store in a well placed basket..
GARAGE..Sort everything to keep or discard. Once you see what’s staying, divide it into piles and store “like with like.” Identify all the containers that you’ll use. Place all automotive supplies in a box or a designated corner, store all garden supplies in another area. Determine what can be hung or affixed to pegboards. Label each box or container for easy access. Once you start, the rewards will be seen quickly and the end result makes a remarkable difference.
According to professional organizer, Linda Shackleton of Shelton, “besides the clean uncluttered area, you’ll experience a sense of accomplishment that will make you smile with pride.”
If you desire assistance, check out tools available online such as www.containers.com.
Consult magazines like Real Simple, Do It Yourself (DIY) Network or Home & Garden (HGTV). For do it yourselfers, achieve similar results with cleaning supplies, hammer/nails, a few corrugated boxes and some labels .
If you prefer a professional to assist with your project, the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) is available. There’s a NAPO chapter in Connecticut. Contact the group at www.napoct.com to find a professional organizer in your area. The national group can be contacted at www.napo.net. What a great gift to give a friend or family member in need.
What tip do you have when it comes to clearing out “stuff?” Do you have a system to declutter that works for you? I’d love to hear YOUR ideas. Send a comment.