Organizing 101: How to Prepare for and Get Started Organizing Your Home

Hi all!  You may be thinking that this post is a little late, seeing as it is February and this type of post is typical for January with the start of the new year, but I believe that there is no better time to start organizing than now (whatever part of the year that ends up being for you).

I know that the idea of organizing a home can be overwhelming for most people, so I want to give you some Little Ways to prepare and then get started.   This is something that can be done quickly and all-at-once if you have the time (stay-at-home-mom with the kids back at school) and/or the motivation (like when you are moving to a new home), but if you are like most of us, you are super busy and have only a few minutes here or there.  If that’s you, complete one step at a time anytime you have a few extra minutes in your schedule.  If you have lots of time available, you may be able to do multiple steps all at once.

lady-with-box-and-checklist

Start by asking yourself a few questions:

  1. What do you want to do with the items you decide to get rid of? (Have a garage sale, donate them, throw them away, etc.)
  2. What rooms do you spend the most time in in your home?
  3. What room stresses you out or overwhelms you the most?

For question 1:  If you answered….

A) Garage Sale: If you decide to have a garage sale, have an empty box in a particular location with a permanent marker and a roll of masking tape there.  Anytime you add something to the box, write a price on the masking tape and put it on the item. When the box is full, close it, label it “garage sale” and then it goes in whatever storage area you decide to keep the sale items in until you have the sale (attic, garage, shed, closet, basement, etc.).  Put a new empty box with the masking tape and marker back in the same space and repeat until done.  I’ll have more tips on how to have a successful garage sale in a future post.

B) Donate: If you decide to donate your items, the process is similar to the above.  Have an empty box in a particular location (closet, basement, etc.) that you are willing to let go of (I don’t know about you, but I almost always have a random Amazon box, or two, lying around the house…).  Anytime you decide to get rid of an item, place it in the box. When the box is full, make a trip to the local donation place to drop it off (Go now!  Place the box in the front seat where you can’t ignore it.  We all know what happens if you put it in the trunk with intentions for later…. It stays there for what seems like forever….)

C) Trash:  Keep the trash pick-up schedule in mind and try to get most of your decluttering done the day before so that you don’t have a full trash can all week.  If you have larger items that need to be disposed of, find out what day your town picks up larger items and put it at the road a day or two before.  If that is not an option (or you simply don’t want to have to look at the items at the end of your driveway), search “junk pickup” for places that will come pick up the items from you for disposal or resale like 1-800-Got-Junk, Habitat for Humanity Restore, or Salvation Army Donation Pickup.

piles-of-empty-boxes

The answers to questions 2 & 3 give you an idea of which areas to begin with.  Would you rather the spaces in your home that you are in most (for example, the living room or kitchen) to be organized first, or are you the kind of person that wants to tackle the most disorganized room first (the one that stresses you out the most)?  Decide where you will begin and then start with the small steps below:

  1. Decide on a small area to begin in.  If you have a limited amount of time, maybe it’s one cabinet or drawer a day.  Maybe it’s all your short-sleeved shirts or jeans.  If you have lots of time, maybe it’s an entire closet or a small room in one day.
  2. First step, once you decide where to begin, is to bring a plastic bag or a trash bag with you to the room and fill it with anything that is obvious trash, right away.  This will allow you to see what’s left more easily.  Try to remove all of the trash from the space before beginning the next step.  Don’t forget expired and broken items!
  3. Next, bring in a box and fill it with any items that can easily be put away elsewhere For example, maybe your kids brought their toys into your bedroom, put the toys in this box, and immediately bring them to your kids’ rooms.  Maybe you were working on a craft at the dining room table.  Put the supplies in the box and bring them to the closet they are supposed to be in.  Dirty dishes on your nightstand? Bring them directly to the sink. The more items you can get out of the space immediately, the better.
  4. Now you’re ready to decide what to keep and what to declutter from what’s left.  If you’re able to, like in the case of a drawer or a cabinet or even a closet, remove everything from the space first and give it a good wipe down to remove any dust or dirt.  If not, take groups of items out at time to go through.  How do you decide whether or not to keep something? Ask yourself if you’ve used it recently.  Ask yourself if it holds sentimental value for you.  Ask yourself if you could easily replace it if you get rid of it now but decide you need it again in the future.  Some things (like lotions, cleaners, or food/spices) are easy to decide whether or not to keep.  If you tried a new scented lotion but had a reaction to it, or didn’t like the smell, it goes.  Don’t let something you don’t use take up valuable space.  Feel bad getting rid of it because you feel like someone else could use it?  Sell it at a garage sale or donate it to a shelter or food pantry (check with your local ones to see what types of items they take).  Sometimes I’ve even had luck posting a picture of something I thought someone else could use on Facebook.  For instance, I received a few sample cans of formula when I had my children, but I did not need the formula, so I posted pictures of the cans with the expiration dates and asked if there was anyone who could use them.  Most of the time, I found a friend who could use it and who was willing to come by my home to pick it up.  Remember when you are deciding what items to keep and which to get rid of, you are limited to the amount of space you have.  If everything doesn’t fit back in the drawer, cabinet, closet, etc., then you should get rid of more (or find a new place for some items).

Things that are usually easier to decide to get rid of:
*Expired Items
*Duplicates of any item
*Trendy jewelry, clothing, or makeup that is now out of style
*Broken Items that you still haven’t fixed (even though you had intentions to)
*Items that are missing pieces
*Things that no longer fit properly

Okay, this should give you a great starting point for any organizing you have planned for this year.  I’ll go into more detail and give more tips in my next organizing post.  Let me know which space you are working on in the comments below.

–Brandi

Ready for Part Two? Find it here.

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Organizing 101: How to Prepare for and Get Started Organizing Your Home

  1. I try to make a habit that before I plop down on the couch for the evening’s relaxation, that I attend to 15-minutes of de-cluttering… This way, you can guarantee that you (at an absolute minimum) have completed ONE ROUND of weeding out! LOL!
    Another trick is to start at one side of the door that enters the room, and work your way around the perimeter of that room. Even if it is in the 15-minute intervals, you will eventually make your way completely around it!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Great suggestions! Every little bit adds up. I also find that the hardest part is usually just to get started. I find that once I begin, I end up doing more than I had planned simply because the cleared areas are very motivating. Keep up the good work!

      Like

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