For many people, just the idea of organizing their homes or offices is overwhelming because they don’t know where to begin. Hopefully, the fact that you’ve found yourself here means that you are ready to embark on your own organizational journey, and I’m here to support you every step of the way!
The trick is to start small, and begin with manageable sections that will help you build momentum and confidence in your organizational ability. Whether you decide to pursue a consult with me or spend your money on margaritas, the following are a few simple tricks of the trade that you can begin implementing on your own and which will have you feeling lighter and more organized in no time.
I mean, this is a no brainer and the first step! Don’t overwhelm yourself with the big picture. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day and you likely have items that have been accumulated over a period of years if not a lifetime. In the beginning, steer clear of areas that may hold sentimental value and start with immediate eyesores such as the junk drawer, kitchen, vanity, or bathroom, as these are the areas that tend to accumulate the most junk. For example, going off of expiration dates alone may eliminate a good portion of your spices and toiletries. Items you’ve used once and didn’t love? Good riddance! You’ll discover that the opportunities for discarding superfluous things abound.
Group like items
Your vanity should not look like a still-life scene unless you are practicing your watercolor skills in this very moment. Display makeup brushes in an attractive holder or store them in an appropriate satchel. Similarly, if you have an enviable collection of lip balm that you like to rotate through on a daily basis, find something cute to display them in or store them out of site or in a drawer in a small container. Items should not be loose or intermingling unless they are commonly used together. Craft supplies all go in their own plastic bin and can be stored according to how often you access them.
Heavy items on the bottom
Unless you are Hercules, I recommend saving the straining for the gym. Heavy pots and pans should be stored in lower cupboards unless you are purposefully displaying them elsewhere. Items and appliances that do not live on the counter should go down below unless they are lightweight and easy to retrieve from higher places.
Make a list
This one is for my Dad, but it might be for you too. A Costco lover, he never seems to know where he puts anything and continually buys multiples of food and supplies simply because he cannot find or perhaps be bothered to find, the same ones he already owns. The waste drives me crazy! Not to mention, the wasted space of storing multiples of the same thing. Making a list of what you have, and to take it a step further, when you purchased it and/or when it expires, will go a long way to reducing waste. Same thing applies to clothes and office supplies, and even gives you a license to shop without feeling guilty – as long as you are replacing items that you actually need and not shopping without purpose (which deserves a blog post of its own, stay tuned!).
Like, Love, or Donate
Think of things in these terms and then throw out or donate everything that falls into the “like” category. See how I tricked you there?! The truth is, if you only like something, you probably wouldn’t buy the same item today, in which case get rid of it! To borrow a phrase from the endlessly used motto of Marie Kondo, you should only keep things that “spark joy.” The shirt you look at year after year and contemplate wearing but for some reason never do? Get rid of it! If donating items that feel too precious is painful, sell them! Rather than keeping these items around while they potentially languish online, send them off to a company such as ThredUp, Buffalo Exchange, or the RealReal (for designer goods) and they will sell them for you.
Call in Backup
It never hurts to have moral support in the form of a friend or friends while you agonize over what items to get rid of. In fact, it will make the process faster and more fun because you won’t start negotiating with yourself in terms of what you’re allowed to keep. Invite the friend over who won’t be afraid to tell you if something is hideous and who will remind you that they’ve never seen you wear something –brutal honesty is a virtue when it comes to clearing out the clutter.
There you have it, my six tips for getting started because start somewhere you must! Although, I have to warn you that once you start it may be hard to stop, as order tends to have a domino effect. I hope you’ll be amazed at the positive effects of having more organized spaces, even if it’s just one room, a desk, or a drawer, to begin with.