Clutter. It’s the stacks of mail you’ll open tomorrow, the piles of toys you’ll put away this weekend, and the clothes you’ll wear again someday. It’s the junk in your drawers, the rubble on your shelves, and the stuff you’ve carried with you since high school. It takes years to accumulate a house full of clutter but it only takes a second to realize enough is enough. Eliminating clutter is more than just cleaning your home, so it’s important to have a clear, organized strategy before tackling this sort of project. I like to split my tasks into 3 sections…blocks, boxes and bins.
To think that you are going to clear out all of the clutter in your entire house in one weekend is unrealistic. Some projects take longer than others and you don’t want to run out of steam and quit along the way. Break your projects into small, manageable blocks to ensure success. Two ways of doing this are:
Time blocks. Schedule a day a week, or a certain amount of time that you are committed to working on your clutter project until each task is complete.
Project blocks. Whether it’s as small as the junk drawer, or as large as the toy room. Putting each project into it’s own block will help you see your progression and keep you motivated to move on to the next project.
When starting a new clutter project, the plan is to be decisive and move forward. The more time you spend mulling over every item, the less likely you are to eliminate it. With each item you need to ask yourself (and quickly answer): Have I seen this recently? Do I need this? Do I use this? Is this in good condition? Does this have sentimental meaning?
Your answers will determine whether it goes in the “Keep It Box,” the “Give It Box, the “Toss It Box,” or the “Store It Box.”
Now that you have separated your items into their specific boxes, it’s time to find a home for the things you want to keep. This is where you can start fresh with your organization. For me, it’s bins. I’m addicted to bins. Plastic bins come in all shapes and sizes, and can work in many areas of your home. The advantages of plastic bins are that they are durable and easy to clean. They also stack nicely on shelves and can be labeled to make it easy to find what you are looking for.
Small bins. Separate medications, cosmetics, nail polish, hair accessories and first aid supplies; as well as pens and pencils, tape and staplers into smaller shoebox sized bins. These are great for bathroom shelves and office drawers.
Medium bins. Perfect for organizing toys. Barbie’s (+ accessories), cars, puzzles, Legos, and even happy meal toys can all have separate bins. The rule in my house is that each kid can get out one bin at a time and needs to pick up their bin before they get a new bin out. I promise, it really does work.
Large bins. Use these for clothes, blankets, gift bags and wrapping paper, athletic equipment, and storage for keepsakes. These work well for basements and storage rooms.
The main goal of organization is to have a place for everything. Life can be great when you can find exactly what you are looking for faster, but it’s also nice to have a place to put it when you are finished with it. Once you’ve started down the path of organization, you will begin to find more ways to streamline your home, but it all begins with one step.