HOW TO DECLUTTER AND ORGANIZE YOUR HOME
Before we get completely overwhelmed with clutter, we need to take the control back! The OCD person inside of me is screaming!
So where do we start? What do we do first?
Start with a plan. You will need a notepad and a pen. Make a list of all the rooms/zones in your home, then walk from room to room and take notes on ALL the things you need done (cleaning, decluttering, organizing, DIY ideas)
***For the time being we will concentrate on de-cluttering and organizing but I'm hoping that you will continue doing your Daily Speed Cleaning to keep things from getting totally out of control)***
Once you have made your list, it's time to make a schedule for the time you will need to complete all the projects on this list. Write it on the calendar! Depending on the size of your project, you can either schedule a whole week per room or a day per zone. Speaking from experience, don't overdo it the first day. Work in 15-30 minute increments, and if you get carried away, please don't go over an hour. You will exhaust yourself and will most likely give up.
Be patient with yourself, and stick to your schedule. Depending on the projects at hand, it might take you anywhere from one week to a couple of months to complete.
Start with the easiest project and then move to the harder ones. You'll gain momentum and feel excited about what you have accomplished.
Develop a system. I usually attack my areas by emptying everything from one zone at a time onto any nearby flat surface, where I could have a clear view of the items. Then, having boxes or baskets at hand (labeled: Keep, Give Away and Toss), make a point of picking up each item and deciding what to do with it accordingly. If you find yourself hesitating, get rid of it!
According to the dictionary to de-clutter means to
Remove unnecessary items from (an untidy or overcrowded place)
Therefore, that is what we need to do: get rid of (either give away/donate or toss) all the unnecessary, rarely used items that you keep "just in case," and keep only what's essential for day-to-day life.
After you have decided what to get rid of, and what to keep, it's time to start sorting the "keep" items. Sort all like items together.
After you have done sorting, go shopping in your home first for baskets, boxes, Tupperware containers, bowls, trays... anything that can house these items and keep them contained in one spot. From there, you will get a clear idea if you need to run out to the store to get a couple of more boxes, and exactly how many more and what dimensions you need. Make a list! Don't just go to the store blindly without having a clear plan, and buy a bunch of boxes that will turn into clutter again (we're trying to de-clutter here).
You can make labels for everything if you like. By labeling, you assign a home for each group of items. I'm fairly new to labeling, but I found it so much easier to keep things neat this way. Even your family members will become more conscientious about where they are putting the items.
Now comes the fun part. Putting everything back in an organized manner. Make it pleasing to the eye. Take it all in! Pat yourself on the back! Do a victory dance! Reward yourself! GOOD JOB!!!
This is where I "forget" to close that drawer or cupboard, and walk by it a million times to admire the fruit of my labor... I know, I know what you're thinking. You are thinking that I am a complete dork! Oh I know, and am so stinkin' proud of it! So there ;)
But you are not done yet (sorry!). You have to live with this new system. You have to test it for a period of time, in order to figure out if this system fits your lifestyle and the lifestyle your family. Will this area stay nice and neat? What if it doesn't?
Ah, that's simple: you will need to revise the system, and test it again, until you find something that works for you! Be easy about it, and have fun!
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask! Although I am not a professional in organizing by any means (I just have this crazy obsessive passion for it), I will be happy to help.
Happy decluttering, my friends!