- Sort – the first thing to do is sort through what you have. Begin by labeling a bag or bin for each category: donate,keep,trash. Start with a very small section of the room you are working in. Many people see the room as a whole and feel there is just no way to succeed. Start small, for an hour or so at a time so that you won’t feel overwhelmed. When you look at an item determine how long it has been since you have used it, worn it, etc. If it has been more than a year it is time to either donate it or toss it. Now is the time to be honest with yourself. Clutter and disorganization are many times the result of too many items in the space. This is your chance to get rid of things. Again, work in small sections until you have sorted through everything and determined what category it belongs to.
- Do it now - don’t wait to take the items labeled trash or donate out of the house. Do it now. If something belongs in another part of the house- take it there. Take the trash items to the garbage can or to the dump. Take the donation items to your favorite charity. Do not revisit items in this process. You have made your decision, stick to it and go with your first instinct. Don’t cheat and pull things from the donation pile because you “may need it later”. You won’t.
- Organize what is left - now that you know what you have to work with it becomes easier to organize the items you have left. Perhaps you could use a shelving unit. Or maybe some baskets and drawer organizers. Look at the items you have left and determine if there is a better way to store them to prevent clutter. Baskets and drawers are great for keeping like items together, or for small items. They also allow you to toss things in easily and hide the ‘mess’ inside. Bins that slide out are easier than those with lids on them because you can access them easier. If you tend to clutter up countertops with piles of paper or other clutter, then cut down your surface area. Put a decorative vase and some picture frames there instead so that you won’t be tempted to clutter the space back up. Perhaps you have the opposite problem, you have cute baskets everywhere filled with “stuff”. If that is the case then limit the number of baskets you have. Label each one with a purpose and be sure to only use them for that purpose.
Organization means different things to different people. Being organized doesn’t have to mean that your countertops are barren or that you aren’t allowed to have piles of any kind. What it does mean is that you sort through your items on a semi-regular basis to make sure that the items you have are really needed, still useful and that you can find what you need when you need it.