For the most part, I am a pretty organized person. I like things to be organized and in their place. I keep my walk-in closet clean and daily put away the clothes and shoes I wear. It is easier for me to put things away and organize them daily, than to start stacking them up during the week and end up with a pile of clothes on the weekend. With our baby arriving soon, I have started to clear out my office because this will be the baby’s nursery. I didn’t realize how much stuff I had in the office until I started to clean out drawers and file cabinets. Clearing out a room, deciding to get rid of clutter, and even cleaning out one drawer may seem overwhelming. Below are some steps I follow when I am organizing a room and de-cluttering in order to not feel overwhelmed. Hope these help you in your next de-cluttering project!
Do you have any organization tips to share? How about de-cluttering tips?
Steps I follow when I am organizing a room and de-cluttering:
1- Visualize what you want to accomplish: Is it a clean and organized drawer? Is it cleaning certain amount of space in your closet or emptying out select drawers in your dresser?
2- Set a goal date for when to complete the project: Pace yourself and allow enough time, particularly if it is a big project, ie: clearing out an entire room or dresser. Be realistic, you may not be able to complete the project in one afternoon. Perhaps you can set aside two hours throughout a few days to complete the project, set daily goals of what you want to accomplish.
3- Avoid distractions: Stay focused on the task at hand. Avoid distractions, such as starting to look through a magazine. If you want to keep the magazine, set it aside in the “keep item” box and read it later when you have time.
4- Sort items on the spot: Start a giveaway/donation box, a trash bag, a keep in storage bin, and a keep item box. Sort items as you are going along depending on which category they belong in. I feel a huge sense of satisfaction when I fill a donation box. I try to be very selective about what I put in the storage bin. For example, I emptied out two file cabinets, but had some tax documents and receipts which were important, so those went in the storage bin. I tried to keep the least amount necessary of items, particularly files. You may have to make some difficult decisions, like letting go of some books, clothes, shoes, or costume jewelry, so others may enjoy them as much as you did. For the items you decide to keep, put them in their corresponding place as soon as possible in order for the room to look organized.
4- Get rid of it: Take trash out, drop-off donation items, and take items to storage as soon as possible. When you clean out a space, you don’t want bags of trash or donation boxes stacked throughout the house. You don’t want to clean out one room and make another room messy. As soon as you can, take the trash out, take the items to a donation center, and the bins to storage (or place them in garage if that is where they will be stored).
5- Shred, recycle, or donate: I shredded lots of files, it took time to sort through them, but the sense of satisfaction was worth the time it took! I placed old catalogs in the recycle bin. I had lots of magazines in my office and nightstand. Some of which I hadn’t even read, others were still in the plastic covers they are mailed in, it was bad! They were nicely organized in two magazine racks. I kept stacking them there with the intention of finding the time to read them, but never made it around to reading them. And, since I continue to receive magazines every month, I decided to donate the magazines to the library. This way, other people can enjoy reading them or they can be used for arts and crafts classes at the library. I also donated a few books which I already read or will probably never get around to reading (we have a library at home full of books, so I have plenty of options). I am always reading a book, for the past nine months I have read multiple pregnancy books. I am now moving onto reading newborn books and baby books. So, I knew that in the next year or two, it was not likely I would read those books. I did take a few books from my office which I plan on reading (eventually) and placed them in our library.
6- Keep useful items: Don’t go overboard with donating or throwing away items. I have done this in the past. When we got married, my husband already had a fully furnished home and we merged some of our furniture when we moved in together after our first wedding (civil ceremony). We both had to do some compromising. I was feeling quite overwhelmed at the time, with work, planning our religious wedding (we call it the big wedding, which was held five months later), renting out my home, packing, and moving, plus we had the honeymoon coming up. In the end, my hubby told me to give away lots of my furniture. Which I did and don’t regret because I gave it to family. But, I do regret giving away some other useful household items, such as my closet organization system, dresser, jewelry organizing dresser, oil space heater and fan. We had a custom walk-in closet built for me at the house where we live now. But, I could have used the other closet organization items and dressers in the guest room closet or my office closet. They would have also been useful today, as I am furnishing our baby’s nursery and putting an organization system in the closet. We ended up buying an oil space heater last year ($100) and a fan. We would have saved hundreds of dollars if I would have kept these items! So, don’t let the feeling of being overwhelmed block your logical side of the brain when it comes to keeping items which are useful.
7- Keep sentimental value items: Don’t hesitate to keep sentimental value items. I kept some drawings my nieces made for me when they were little and a few items which have sentimental value. These items bring back memories or hold a special place in our hearts. I believe they are part of a life well lived and full of good memories. So, even if you don’t keep these items out on a book-case or on top of the dresser, you can save them in a special trinket box. The next time you want to reminisce, or need to smile and feel warm and fuzzy, or want to share these items with your children, you can simply open the box and look through the items.
8 – When in doubt, ask a friend: We all have that friend which is more organized than us or a seems to be better at getting rid of things. If you are uncertain about what to do with an item, ask them to come over and help you. Or take a picture of the item and text it to them. The hardest thing for me is probably to give away shoes, so in the past, I have taken a picture of them and sent it to my sister. She is very good about telling me yay or nay on keeping the shoes. She also has lot of shoes, but is always dressed trendy, so she clears her closet out of old shoes often (but like me, she keeps the classics which never go out of style and are good quality for years).
9- Play music while you organize: When I am organizing, I like to have music playing. Listening to music makes the experience more pleasant and the time go by faster.
10- And lastly, Don’t Buy More Stuff: Unless your plan was to clear out a room to use it for another purpose or to buy new furniture, try not to buy more stuff. I have had to fight the urge to buy more stuff! It is actually quite liberating to not shop as much. Since we got married and because my husband has every cabinet in the house full, I try not to buy more things. I dislike clutter and feel that having too many things actually stresses me instead of making me feel good. I am kind of a minimalist this way. For example, we have lots of mugs, so I fight the urge to buy a cute mug simply because it is cute and I had an “impulse buy” moment at the store. The hardest thing for me is to try not to buy more clothes and shoes. I have cut back on it this past year, particularly because I am pregnant and not wearing my regular size of clothes. I have only purchased a few key basic items and worn them lots of times! When I am at the store, I ask myself, do we really need this? If the answer is “not really” I don’t buy it. This includes little items when we travel or more visors and pens! How many pens do we really need at home? Even if the pen is pink and very cute, it does the same thing as the ten other pens I already have at my desk at home!
Hope you find these tips helpful and best wishes for your re-organization or de-cluttering projects! Stay positive, and think of the end result and the satisfaction you will feel when you complete your project! Plus, having things organized may simplify your life, which may bring you happiness and peace of mind! It sure brings me happiness!
A day before I started to clear out my office, I decided to get rid of the stack of magazines and books I had been accumulating on my nightstand. I separated them by: books to keep (place in home library), instruction manuals to file, blog post ideas/projects, magazines to donate to library, old magazines to recycle, pregnancy magazines to keep (for now), and pregnancy books to keep (for a few more months). I had never even opened the package with the O Oprah Magazine.
I donated this pile of magazines to the library.
These were the magazines I had in the two racks in my office. The top row of magazines (still in the plastic mail covers) and middle row of magazines I never got around to reading. I did read the O Oprah Magazines and since I like the tips and positive articles in them, I was keeping them for reference (had these for more than a year). But, I hadn’t gone back once to look through them again, so I decided it was time to give them away.
Our kitty Mori kept me company throughout my re-organization project and I couldn’t resist taking these pictures of him. In this picture he was probably thinking, “why does mom have all these magazines?”
His face look so stern in this picture, he was probably trying to tell me, “yup, time to give all of these away, just do it!”
I made several trips down to the recycle bin in our yard. I kept filling the plastic bags, emptying them into the recycle bin, & re-using them to empty the shredder. I was amazed how many files I got rid of!
The large recycle bin was quickly filling up with shreds of old files.
At the end of the night, I had filled the recycle bin! That is lots of cleaning out of files! It gave me a sense of satisfaction to see how much I had cleared out. I spent about eight hours clearing out the office that day. I had spent a few hours clearing out items the weekend before, but this was the major clearing out day!