Where do you start? You walk into a room, if you are even able to do that and instantly feel overwhelmed by all the stuff. It is easier to close the door and walk away then to invest time, emotion, stress and work.
That is where my 5 step process comes in handy. It does not all have to be done at the same time. Step by step, the clutter and build-up will start to decrease.
The first step is to sort. By zoning and categorizing you are able to put some sort of method to the madness. My advice is usually to start off with the following “piles” while sorting; keepers, throw-aways, donations, hand-me-downs, recycle and revisit. While most of the piles are pretty self-explanatory, I like to explain the “revisit” in a little more detail. This is a pile of items that consists of items or memorabilia that may be hard to let-go of while you are organizing. In this case, I like to containerize those items and sticker them with the date you are organizing along with a “revisit” date. At the time of the “revisit” date if you have not gone into the container within that time frame I suggest that it is time to move those items to a donate pile or hand-me-down pile. In the case that it is memorabilia, those items are probably better off being used and loved by someone else than stored in container.
The second step is to purge. I joke around with my husband quite a bit about this step because he loves to hang onto everything and I am the exact opposite. If we aren’t using it, I prefer to get rid of it. This step is literally moving the throw-away pile to the trash bin. You will honestly feel a sense of relief when you walk away from it.
Now, we assign the keepers to their new “homes”. This part can be very fun if you are into designing. Move the piles to the rooms they belong and start to form ideas of how to get the best use of them. This is where my favorite statement comes into play, EVERYTHING HAS A HOME. This is also the step that has a huge impact on step 5 (equalizing and maintaining the organization).
Step 4 is to containerize. If you are a shopper, this will be your favorite step. The way you implement your items in an organized manner can be very simple. As simple as plastic totes to as fancy as shelving, baskets and bins. Personally, two of my favorite places to order organizing containers and items are from Pottery Barn and Target, depending on the rooms and what I am organizing. This step moves your assignment planning into implementation mode. You have completed the challenge of getting organized! Hooray for you!!
Lastly, step 5 is equalizing. This is all about maintaining your organized environment. You are organized, now you need to keep it that way. My two main goals when working with clients are to keep an open mind, understanding that it is overwhelming and not an easy task to sift through all the build-up AND I want my clients to be able to EQUALIZE in 20 minutes or less. Whether it is at the end of every day or before pop-in guest arrive you should be able to do a 20 minute whip-through of your house and place EVERYTHING IN ITS HOME.