Good home organizing is SO much more than storage bins.
As a professional organizer, I frequently work with clients who think that, in order to organize their kitchen, basement, bedroom, or wherever, they need to run out and buy baskets, boxes and storage bins. Not true necessarily, and here’s why:
Just taking “stuff” and putting it in a pretty box does not make it organized. You may be just storing things you don’t need and will have trouble finding later on. Sometimes binning is just another method of delayed decision-making about whether to keep or discard items.
There is a process to organizing that begins well before the bin and box are brought into the room. That’s where a professional organizer can really help you – to get the job done quickly, efficiently and to set up systems that work with your lifestyle so you don’t get in that mess again!
Here are the steps:
1. Set-up your organizing station.
Whether they are just piles, or actual bags or boxes, create an area for “Keep”, “”Donate/Sell” and “”Garbage/Recycle”. Make sure you label the area or container in some way so you don’t accidentally throw something out that you want to keep.
2. Take photos
It’s good to remember what the space looks like before you tackle it and it is very satisfying to compare the “before” and “after” photos!
3. Pull everything out.
Yup. All of it. Open the closet doors, pull the stuff out from under the bed, and empty the drawers and cupboards. Before you organize everything, you need to see what you have! I guarantee you there will be a few surprises. Spread it all out and take a good look. Things will get messier before they get organized!
4. Group similar items
Sort through it all and group things that belong together. If you are in a kitchen, then put all the mixing bowls together. If you are doing a closet, then stack all of the sweaters together. This is when you can truly see how much you have. One client I worked with was shocked to discover that he had over 100 T-shirts!
Eliminate duplicates and broken things first. Ask yourself the hard questions such as: “If I were shopping right now, would I buy this?”, and “When was the last time I used this item?”, or “Do I have another item that can also do what this item does?”. Be ruthlessly honest with yourself and question your reasons for keeping “stuff”. If you are hanging on to an ugly china figurine collection because your great aunt gave it to you then address the feelings there. Are you keeping it because of guilt? Then it probably makes you feel a sense of ‘ugh’ every time you look at it. Get rid of it! Give it a new life somewhere else.
Dust, vacuum, mop…whatever. This is your chance to attack the dust bunnies that may be lurking under the bed! Prepare the space so it is ready for putting everything back in.
Now that you have decided on what you are keeping, you can determine if you need any tools to help you organize them. Do you need drawer dividers to separate your socks? Do you need flat felt hangers for your clothes? Are clear, stackable bins the answer for storing your off-season home décor items? Would a shoe rack in the front hall closet help you manage your entryway clutter? Again, a professional organizer is an expert at this step and can help you select the right tools for your home and lifestyle.
8. Put it all back
Whether you are using organizing tools or not, this is another opportunity to re-evaluate your items as you handle them. Ask yourself those hard questions again. If you are putting your socks into drawer dividers and they start to overflow the space then maybe you haven’t purged enough, or perhaps that drawer is not the right place for them.
Remember: Just because you want to keep an item doesn’t mean it goes back from where you got it from. For example, if you are de-cluttering your front hall closet and find a summer coat that you love, but it is now winter, then the summer coat can be stored elsewhere. This helps keep your front closet from being overly stuffed with items you don’t use.
Also, make sure that the things you use the most, are accessible in the space you choose to put them. For example, coffee mugs should be on a lower shelf in a cupboard near the coffee maker and not on the top shelf over the fridge.
9. Take more photos
Compare with your “Before” photos and give yourself a huge round of applause while enjoying the results!
If this process seems like too much for you to take on then call us and set up a consultation. A Professional Organizer from Clutterfly can help you get this work done quickly and we guarantee you will have enjoy the process!