Tips for Organizing and Storing your Belongings
Tips for Organizing and Storing your Belongings
Organizing and storing my personal belongings has been a problem that I have had to face since I became an adult.
Actually, I think this has been an age old problem for humans since we stopped being nomads and settled down and began accumulating “stuff”.
The good news is that there are some very easy solutions for storing and organizing all that clutter that is messing up your home.
You can go to one of those fun stores and be enticed by all the bins, baskets, and buckets in all their pretty colors and sizes. And you may leave with lots of things to put your stuff in but you will also leave with either empty pockets or a huge credit card bill. (guilty here!)
I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy these organizing tools. But before you do, take an inventory of what you have and go through your belongings and make a plan. Then go to the store and get what you need.
With a busy household, 3 kids, a cleaning company and this website to run.. I’ve had to learn to be very organized on so many levels.
1 missing document, like a bill, homework or legal document can cause a whole lot of anxiety and wasted energy.
Are you ready then?
Let’s go through the process and I’ll show you how to start organizing your own home.
Start Small For Big Results
It is never wise to undertake organizing your house in a short amount of time. Short cutting is almost always a recipe for failure. Proper organization will need to be done over a longer period of time.
Take it slow, seriously and pace yourself.
The most important step to organizing a cluttered home is to pick your battle area first. You probably can’t do your whole house all at once, so pick a room and start there.
- Decide which room you want to organize first. It is best to start with smaller rooms that are less cluttered.
- You will be less likely to feel overwhelmed by starting small and will have a greater chance of successfully understanding the process.
- If you feel that you must start with a larger room, break it down into smaller areas. Never look at a room as a whole while trying to organize it.
Make a List and Check it Twice
- Get a notebook that you can use strictly for making your plan. Be organized and use it only for organizing.
- Starting on the first page, title it with the name of the room.
- Sit down in the room and evaluate it honestly. Are there papers lying on the tables? Are there items in the room that truly belong somewhere else in the house? Be truthful.
- Write the items that should belong in the room on your list. This will allow you to decide if the other things are absolutely necessary.
Inventory and Categorize your Belongings
It is never easy to get rid of possessions that we have become accustomed to seeing daily. Sometimes parting with old items is necessary in order to maintain an organized home that is free from clutter.
Decisions. Decisions. Decisions
First, you need to inventory your “stuff” and sort it into three categories:
- Get 3 large cardboard boxes.
- Using a marker, label one Keep.
- The next box should be labeled Donate.
- The last box needs to be labeled Trash.
- Start in a small area of the room such as a table, shelf or cabinet.
- Pick up each object and consider these three questions: Do I love it? Do I need it? Will it make me money? Be sure to answer each question honestly.
- If you have decided to keep the item, place it in the Keep box.
- When you come across an item that you no longer need, you must then decide what to do with it. Check the item carefully.
- Does it still serve the purpose for which it was meant? Is it damaged in any way? If the item could still be useful for someone else, donate it. If not, it goes in the Trash box.
Things you really need and use.
Things you really DO NOT need or use occasionally but could be more useful to others. Be brave and say – bye-bye now – take a deep breath and give it away or donate it.
Things that are no longer useful to you or anyone else (i.e.: broken or not fixable).
You can do it, put the trash in a big black bag and take it right out to the curb.
Put the give items in a box and deliver them to your local thrift store. There, now you have removed two-thirds of the “stuff” and that means you are more than halfway to organizing your designated room.
Now to Clean your Organized Area
Now that you can see the floor, it is time to clean. The entire area must be cleaned thoroughly before returning the Keep objects to their proper places.
- Knock down any cobwebs and dust the walls off. Many people don’t realize that dust can accumulate on walls.
- Clean the table or shelf with the appropriate product for the surface.
- Vacuum or sweep that section of the room.
- Clean each object carefully before placing it where it belongs.
- Enjoy and Continue
- Step back and look at what you have accomplished. Doesn’t the area look better than it did before you organized it?
- Now, continue throughout the rest of the room using the same process.
- Set aside an hour each week to continue evaluating each room. This will help to keep you organized and clutter-free continually.
Tackling What’s Left
Next, tackle the things you want to keep (remember it’s about one-third of what you started with so it’s not so overwhelming now).
You will need to make some decisions at this point about how you want to store your things. One of the quickest and least expensive ways to store items is to install shelves.
Shelving units can be added to available closet space and you can put up shelves in the shed or the garage. There are a variety of shelves available at your local home improvement store in all sorts of shapes, colors, and cost. Most shelving you can install yourself.
Keeping Similar Things Together
Organize what’s left by sorting them into piles according to how you want to store them. You will want to keep like things together, Christmas decorations, a container for the kid’s mementos, Halloween, Easter and other holiday decorations, etc.
Things you use more frequently should not be grouped with things you need but use rarely. Now you have an idea of what you need. Go get those storage containers.
Using Storage Containers
Before you go shopping make note of the sizes you need and what it will be storing in them. If it’s one of the kid’s rooms, you may be storing stuff in the closet and under the bed. Maybe you’ll need a basket for the dresser.
Besides the container store, you might want to look at local thrift shops. I have found many storage containers in excellent shape and I didn’t pay a lot. Just give them a good scrubbing and they are like new.
Arranging it and Putting it all Away
Finally, put your newly stored things away.
Remember to keep the containers with your most frequently used items to the front where you can access them easily.
Maintaining your Organized Home
All your hard work will be wasted if you don’t maintain a system.
When you take something out of a container to use it, make sure when it’s time, put them back where they came from. Just this one simple step will keep you organized for years to come.
Now, you’re ready to tackle the other rooms, go for it!