Today as we get to work cleaning, decluttering, and organizing I think there are some basic tips that everyone could benefit from.
Take before and after photos.
Taking photos of the area you are working on can be really helpful as you work. One, you can look back and see what wasn’t working and what might have been working. For example we keep a laundry basket right inside the door of our laundry, even though I hate having it there I know that if it weren’t there then the laundry would just get thrown there anyway. Two, as you work and possibly feel a little overwhelmed, you’ll be able to look and see progress. Three, having after photos gives you the ability to really look at the work you did. I know that one may sound selfish but when you complete a big job sometimes it’s nice to really be able to show how much you truly accomplished.
Create a staging area.
When decluttering an area or even just a shelf, it’s easier to clear everything out of the space then it is to work around things. This staging area doesn’t have to far away. When I clear off a shelf I use the space on the floor beside it. If I clean out my car, I use the patio area as a staging area. Just remember don’t hike a mile but make sure you have space to work.
Create 3 zones when clearing a room: belongs here, trash, doesn’t belong here.
I know you expected the original trash, donate, keep zones but I prefer different categories.
■ Trash is obvious. If it’s broken, or junk then throw it out. Don’t hang onto trash.
■ Doesn’t belong here are things that go in other areas of your home. For example, a dirty shirt doesn’t belong in the car.
■ Belongs here are things that belong in that room even if you don’t plan to continue using them there. For example, chairs belong with my dining room table even if I decide to swap them for a bench later on.
After everything is categorized, then break your categories down again. Keep in the area, remove for use in another area, remove for storage.
I don’t suggest donating or selling anything for at least a month. You may decide to put that item back in the area or you may decide to use the item in another area even if you originally decided you weren’t going to use the item at all anywhere.
Be prepared for the long haul.
It will probably take you longer to complete organizing an area than you think it will. It will also take you a while to adapt to a new system of doing things. If you have been accustomed to throwing your dirty laundry on the floor it’s going to take some work to carry it into the closet and put it in the laundry basket. It may not be hard tasks but it will take a while to form new habits. Don’t expect it to happen overnight. But it will happen with work.
I hope that you find these tips to be helpful as we get started on our journey to cleaner, less cluttered, organized homes.