It’s common to go through life acquiring stuff, but at some point, our homes start to show clutter and it’s time to organize.
When the time comes to organize, we suggest you go through your belongings and decide what to keep, what to put in self storage, and what to get rid of. Here are some helpful methods.
Organizing an entire house at once is daunting, so consider going room by room. You can do the living room one day, your bedroom the next, a kid’s bedroom the next (with the child’s help) and so on.
Start with one type of item. In your living room, that might be your DVD collection, or the books in the bookcase. Go through them and decide what to keep, what to store, and what to get rid of. We’ll go into more detail on how to decide what goes where in the next few sections. Suffice it to say you’ll want to put the things you’re going to keep back away, and the other items in boxes or piles, depending on where they’re going.
This idea will seem bold, but bear with us. As counter-intuitive as it is, this can work well.
Consider sorting everything in the house, that falls into a particular category, at once. Let’s start with clothing. Take all the clothes from your room, all from the kids’ rooms, and bring them to the living room. As you then go through them, you’ll find items that are in great shape and that the owner loves wearing. You’ll find items that are getting worn out, items that are too small, items that are in perfectly good condition but that the owner doesn’t like to wear, and so on.
Clothing the owner likes can stay, especially if they’re in good condition. Clothing that the owner doesn’t care for, or that are too small, that are in good condition can be sold or donated. Clothing in bad condition can be brought to a clothing recycling center. Items that you’ve decided to keep but that are out of season can stay or go into self storage until the right season rolls around. You can apply these same basic concepts to deciding what to do with everything else you own as well.
Once all your clothing is sorted, you can put away the items staying in your home and set aside the others. Then, pick another category. This may be books, DVDs and Blu-rays, games, toys, dishes, towels and washcloths, and so on. Repeat the process for those items.
Everything Must Go
Sometimes a slight change in perspective can make a big difference. When sorting through belongings, most of us focus on what to get rid of. Turn that idea on its head and instead, go through each category with the idea that everything is going, and you need to decide what to save. It’s easy to get sentimental about things that we don’t need, things that we wouldn’t even notice missing if they disappeared. This method is meant to help letting go of things you really don’t need easier.
This leads us to other criteria for deciding what to keep, what to store, and what to get rid of. If you’re on the fence about any given item, ask yourself these questions about it. Have you used it in the last six months? Is it irreplaceable and full of meaning, such as a baby book or a family heirloom? Is it a collection or part of a collection, such as a book in your library or a Christmas ornament? If you can answer yes to any of those, then you should keep the item at home or put it in storage. If the answer to each is no, then you might want to get rid of it.
Once you’ve sorted through a category and decided what stays, what goes to storage, and what goes, you’ll want to organize those items. Put away clothing and dishes in the common way, by type, alphabetize books or put them away by genre and topic, and alphabetize your movie collection. Put away toys by type, with games together and so on, though some items, like dolls, can go in various places as decoration.
Box items for storage by type. Here in the Renter’s Bent Blog, we have dozens of articles on how to store all sorts of items, so browse through or search by keyword.
There are several things you can do with the items you’re getting rid of. You can hold a yard sale to sell some or all of them, you can sell others on eBay, you can recycle some items, and you can donate still others to thrift stores.
Though reorganizing your entire home can take a while, these methods will leave you with a cleaner, less cluttered home.