Thursday, June 10, 2010

That not-so dirty word.....

Yup, I'm talking about organization, not only organization but de-cluttering. Wait, don't panic, I promise I will have some ideas for everyone no matter how organized you think you are. This will not all happen in one post, I know that it's a lot to go over so I will be breaking it up into more manageable pieces.

I am often asked to help friends and family organize things, which comes as a huge surprise to me. I was the teenager who stuffed all of her stuff under the bed and into the closet to "clean" her room. The "a place for everything, and everything in it's place" mantra was lost on me. I saw de-cluttering, cleaning, and organizing as a huge waste of time. I can't quite put my finger on when the change came, there was no magical "ah-ha" moment when I went from being a slob to a neat-freak. It just happened. I think that my biggest push towards organization and cleanliness came my senior year of college when I shared a room with Nao. She was (and still is) the cleanest and most organized person that I have ever met. I felt guilty if my half of the room didn't at least sort of match hers, which was a huge feat since her half was pristine.

You can't organize clutter

It's been said a million times. You just can't organize clutter. You can move it around, you can hide it in nifty looking boxes and organizational tools, but when it all comes down to the nitty-gritty, it just won't help. Clutter is clutter no matter how many labels and pretty things you try and hide it with. So our first step in this process will be to de-clutter. In order for this to work, you must be honest and ruthless. It is hard, but it is worth it. The first step is to make your categories for things to keep, my suggestions is these three, but if you find something that works better for you then use that.
1) Useful every day
2) Useful seasonally
3) Sentimental
Designate a place for each of these categories and start sorting. Do you use it daily (or weekly)? Then it goes in the first box, do you use it every Christmas, or every winter? Then it goes in the second. Does it have some special meaning? Then it goes in the third. If it doesn't fit any of those categories? Then it goes in the trash or gets donated to charity. I don't suggest making a yard sale pile, because be honest, you won't ever get around to having one.

You don't have to do this to your whole house at once, or even a whole room, take the amount of time that you have and make a realistic goal. Do you have 15 minutes? Then go through you clutter pile from when you walk in the door. Do you have 45 try your closet. Remember that something that doesn't fit you isn't a keeper no matter how determined you are to be that size again some day.

Hopefully this is a small start for some of you, I'll be back with more tips on what to do with the things in each bin in a few days.

~ DD

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