Friday, June 10, 2011

Organize and De-Clutter

Having just moved into a new home and needing to "find homes" for everything we are realizing all the "stuff" we accumulated in the last 2 years, since our last move.  And since we moved all of 2.5 miles, we didn't really take time to pack and purge at that end, so we are having to do it now.  We love to go to garage sales and thrift stores and pick up useful stuff (like cast iron pans) for really cheap, but we don't use them all so we have to question -- do we keep it and store it? Or do we get rid of it?  My husband also picks up lots of scrap wood and other scrap building materials and "do-dads" for free -- do we store it for a future project or get rid of it?  These are some of the questions we are having to tackle right now.

To de-clutter and organize your home is everyone's goal, but rarely does it happen.  It feels like an overwhelming project that can never be accomplished.  We urge you to take the time.  It will greatly reduce the stress in your life to have an organized and clutter-free home.  Here are some good steps to take to get the clutter under control:

1. Don't let the seeming enormity of the task overwhelm you.  Take it 15 minutes at a time.  Take 15 minutes to tackle one closet or one cupboard or one drawer.  Even organizing one small thing will feel like a great accomplishment and will motivate you to tackle the next project.

2. Anything you don't use on a daily (or near daily) basis consider getting rid of it.  Or at the very least re-assigning it to another location that is out of the way and not taking up prime real estate in your drawer, closet, or cupboard.

3. "A place for everything, and everything in its place."  If you organize according to this AND continue to live according to this principle, your home will become clutter-free and organized, and it will stay that way!

4. Instigate the "No-Net-Gain" rule for most things.  Once your home is clutter free and organized you want to keep it this way.  This means returning things to "their place" and not accumulating things you don't have room for -- things that don't have a place!  Your clothes closet and dresser drawers is a good place to start.  Most of us have many clothes that we do not regularly wear and we tend to keep accumulating more.  Edit your wardrobe to what you wear often and to what you need to keep on hand for special occasions (weddings, funerals, holidays, etc) and get rid of the rest.  Each time you get something new consider getting rid of something you already own -- preferably a shirt for a shirt, pants for pants, etc.  Give your extra clothes to a friend, put them in a consignment shop, or give them to a thrift store.  This is also a good rule for those of you who tend to accumulate kitchen gadgets -- if you use it often, keep it; if you don't, get rid of it!

Here are my de-clutter and organize goals:

1. Go through the kids clothes that are stored for the next year -- edit down to 10 shirts per season and 5 bottoms, plus 2-3 church/dressy options, shoes too. Make note of what I still need to find/make.

2. Go through my sewing  stash -- finish or get rid of unfinished projects, organized fabric, buttons, zippers, trims, thread, etc. so that I can easily see/find what I have.

3. Evaluate small kitchen appliances -- are there some that I rarely use to get rid of?

What is the first area YOU want to tackle as you de-clutter?

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