Last month, I introduced my own version of a 31-day Home Organization Challenge. I apparently meant the “challenge” part literally.
January took off and I’m still not quite sure where it went, so needless to say this is looking like a six-month organization challenge instead. Which is fine by me; at least there’s a plan and some progress, however minor.
The good news is that I have at least started most of the projects I intended to, and in doing so, I realized that most of them just needed a good sorting, evaluating and packing up, and I noticed some patterns in my decluttering.
- Just do it. One of the reasons why I had 31 days worth of organization projects to begin with is that I was overwhelmed by what to do with certain areas of my home, from the basement to the linen closet. Since I couldn’t see an immediate way to fix their clutter problems, it was easier to shut the door and do something clearer, like shopping for new towels. But, when I bit the bullet and just dove in, I made a lot more progress than I expected. Just start somewhere; set the timer for 15 minutes and see how far you get.
- Find the purpose… A lot of our clutter has amassed itself because I feel like we need it/we’ll use it eventually/there’s a sentimental attachment to it, when in reality, we’re never going to use it. I made myself really look at each item; if it’s been sitting in a basement for years and I’ve never gone looking for it, do I really need to make space in my home for it? Have we hung onto things that are actually expired, like sunscreen, because it’s not used regularly and it feels wasteful to throw out a half-full bottle? Am I keeping this old music box because I like it, or because I like the person who gave it to me?
- …then put it into action. Piles were my decluttering friend. I made one for trash — like the expired sunscreen — and another for donations (shout-out here to the Junior League of Dayton’s Vintage in the Valley rummage sale, held each fall). A lot of our donation items were thrown into permanent storage containers, making it hard to drop them off anywhere since I wanted to keep those boxes. So, I moved all “to donate” items into cardboard boxes and bags that can be left at the donation site. I separated holiday decorations by category so they’ll be more likely to be used (instead of knowing I have to hunt and gather from various boxes). And for items that were truly sentimental, I started a new box where they can be kept safe, but not displayed; although ultimately, I’m trying to find ways to get them up and out. Otherwise, what’s the point of keeping them? And so on.
Lots already done, lots still to do. But I’m on the road.