I may be a bit obsessive. It's bad. So bad that those who know me well already know what I'm going to write about. I've been lovingly called, "anal" about a million times in my life- and I'm okay with that. I compulsively organize.
I like things to have a place, I like those places to make sense, and I want it all to look nice when it's finished. Lately I've been spending way too much time time on Pinterest. One of the things that keeps me so interested is all the different things people do for organization (I recently pinned a picture of plastic magazine boxes in a freezer holding all of someone's bagged freezer goods upright and orderly... how cool is that idea?!?). I've also been watching the first season of "Hoarders" on Netflix. It's an unhealthy combo folks. Today I cleaned out 3 cupboards in my kitchen, 2 drawers and a closet. It felt SO GOOD. So good that I very easily could have ignored my family and kept right on going into the wee hours of the morning. I didn't... thankfully. So here I sit, still wound up, but trying to resist the urge to purge some more and I keep rolling around something that one of the Hoarders on the TV show said, "I just don't seem to be capable of distinguishing what matters and what doesn't. I have no clue where to begin."
I doubt any of you are hoarders, but if you can resonate with that sentiment, this post is for you.
#1. Start small. Commit to cleaning out one area each day for a month (or until its finished). This could be as big as a room, or as small as one cupboard (or even one storage box or shelf). Understand your limits and make a reasonable goal for yourself. This should be a small time commitment of 10 minutes-30 minutes. Set a time and do it each day at that time (ie. baby's nap time).
#2. Have a plan for this process before you begin. Will you be selling items at a garage sale? Donating to local charities? Trashing everything unwanted? Knowing this in advance will help you sort and make decisions.
#3. Have "zones" ready. When doing a small area, I always have a trash can and a box or two on the floor next to me. If it's trash, it's immediately thrown away. If I plan to sell it, it goes in the box. If I plan to donate it, it goes in the other box. If it belongs somewhere else in my home, I call one of the kids and have them take it there immediately. ;) If that doesn't work, I start a "relocate" pile. I reuse the boxes each day until they are full, and then I immediately take all donate items to their drop off location, and seal up garage sale boxes (marked, "garage sale") and put them in our storage room.
#4. With food: If it's expired, throw it out. If no one in your home will eat it, throw it out. If there's not enough cereal in the box for a bowl and it's been sitting there almost empty for weeks... THROW IT OUT.
#5. With clothing: If you haven't worn it in a year, you should not keep it. If it doesn't look good on you, you should not keep it. If it's holey... you should not keep it (I'm talking to myself on that one...). Ladies, here's the biggie- if it's not your size, you should NOT KEEP IT. Let's be real with ourselves. We do not need "skinny clothes" reminding us of what we're not, fooling us into believing we'll wear it again someday. If someday comes, that outfit probably won't be in style anymore anyway, and buying new clothes in a tinier size will be fun. You also do not need "fat clothes" lying around daring you to gain weight again. With the exception of maternity clothing for those planning to be pregnant again, if it doesn't flatter and fit get rid of it.
#6. With "treasures": If you didn't use that holiday decoration last year, chances are you probably won't use it this year. If that nick-knack from your grandma is as important as you say it is, it should be displayed somewhere in your home, not sitting in a box in the basement. If you've been married more than 2 years and still haven't used some gift from the wedding, chances are it will still be in the box in another 2 years.
#7. With children's projects and artwork: Somethings MUST be saved (pottery, handmade books, etc.). In our home, everything else is negotiable. Very quickly I learned how much stuff a child can generate in a preschool classroom. Adorable, precious, awkwardly large stuff. We display it on the fridge for a time, then I take a really great photo of it and throw it in the trash. Yup, I trash it. Then I take all these adorable photos, upload them to a site like Snapfish and turn the collection into a book of my child's artwork. Much smaller, much more manageable, and easier to cherish and enjoy.
That's all I can think of right now, but I hope to add to this list in the coming weeks. I will also try to share some of my favorite organization tricks we use in our home. Happy organizing!