We’re back to the How to Organize Your Home Series today….this week we’re talking about what to do before you start organizing.
Before you dig into this big job of organizing your home, here are a few tips to keep in mind to make the process much easier:
1. Gather several big boxes that you can use to sort items. I learned this great tip from Kathi Lipp, who talks about her 3 box, 2 bag system for sorting clutter in her book Clutter Free: Quick and Easy Steps to Simplifying Your Space (affiliate link). Instead of leaving piles of stuff all over the floor when you clean out a closet or cupboard, place items into different boxes to temporarily organize them while you are sorting. For example, when I’m de-cluttering, I like to have a large trash bag for garbage, a large trash bag for recycling, a big box for things that I’m going to keep, and a big box for things that I’m going to give away. Kathi adds a box for items that you are keeping, but need to go into a different area of the house.
These boxes don’t have to be anything special…an old box from an Amazon shipment or a box salvaged from the grocery store is perfect. If you want to find something a little more sturdy that you can use over and over again, pick up a couple of plastic bins or big baskets at Target or Walmart.
2. Don’t buy any organizing containers until after you have sorted and measured. Buying cute containers in pretty colors is one of the most fun aspects of organizing for me, but I learned the hard way to wait until I was done decluttering to figure out what to buy. Until you know what you need to organize and how much space you have, buying organizing containers will just be a waste of time and money.
3. Work on one area at a time. When you decide to finally declutter and organize your home, sometimes you can get so excited that you try to tackle the whole thing all at once. I’m guilty of doing it myself…and it drove my husband crazy because there was stuff sitting out all over the house! Eventually, I was able to gather all the stuff for recycling/stuff to donate/stuff to throw away and deal with it, but it was a bit of a mess for a while. Take one closet or room per week and do a bit of work at a time.
4. Be ruthless. We’ll talk some more about the emotional aspect to decluttering in a later post, but for now, I wanted to let you in on the one single thing that helped me clear out a huge amount of clutter over the past few weeks: if there was even a tiny bit of dislike of an item or doubt that I would ever use an item again, I got rid of it. This helped eliminate keeping pieces of clothing that hung in my closet for years unworn because I hated wearing them, but felt guilty about getting rid of them. It’s better to let someone else get some use out of these things than to let them clutter up your life.
Next week, we’ll talk about specific ways to remove and organize clutter!
This is part 2 of the How to Organize Your Home series. Other posts in the series:
How to Organize Your Home
Removing and Organizing Clutter
Bedroom Organizing Ideas
Kitchen Organizing Ideas
Pantry Organizing Tools
How to Organize Family Room
How to Declutter and Organize the Bathroom
Organizing Family Photos
Organizing Tips for Kids