In last month’s blog post, I explored the benefits of becoming organised and some general tips for beginning your organising journey. A big part of organising, I believe, is learning to live with less. Living with less seems contrary to what we’ve always been fed through advertising, and because we seem to love, as a society, accruing lots of material possessions (myself included!) Living with less though means there is less to organise, less to clean and less to distract us! We will also save money as we are spending less.
Like me, you might have some excess items in your house that you are keen to organise, but firstly, we need to declutter! If you are struggling with the concept, or have no idea where to start, here are some step-by-step tips that might make the process easier!
1. Grab a notebook or notepad. It’s important not to dive in, but to start slowly. Write down everything that isn’t working in your home, e.g. the kitchen bench is always cluttered or there are too many toys in the living area. Write down as much as you like.
2. Set aside a time each week to complete a task. If Saturday afternoons are always quiet in your house, use that time to begin decluttering. If a big block of time overwhelms you, set your timer for half an hour, and stop once it goes off.
3. Begin with a single drawer or shelf. Take everything off the shelf or out of the drawer. Wipe it over, and then sort the items you’ve taken out.
4. Use four bags or boxes when decluttering. Label the bags Rubbish, Donate, Relocate and Unsure. Sort your items into these four categories. The Rubbish bag will go into the rubbish bin once full, the Donate bag will go to a charity store, the Relocate bag is for items that need to be relocated to another room and the Unsure bag are items you aren’t sure what to do with or whether you want to part with them. Keep these items for a specified amount of time, e.g. 3 months, and if you haven’t used them in that time, they should be easier to donate or cull then!
Next, we need to organise the items you want to place back onto the shelf or drawer you’ve just decluttered and cleaned.
5. Think about things for awhile. Think about how best to use the space and how best to organise your items.
6. Use what you have. There’s no need to rush out to the shops to spend money on fancy organising items if you have a spare basket or container you could use.
7. Try cheap shops or charity shops. If there’s nothing suitable for your space however, have a look firstly in charity shops and then cheap shops so that you don’t have to spend a lot of money.
8. Group like items together. If you’ve decided, for example, that the drawer you’ve decluttered will now be used for stationery, use small containers or baskets to group like items together. So, pens might go in one container, post-in notes in another, sticky-tape and staples in another.
9. Revisit the space in 6 months. Again, use your notebook or notepad to reevaluate. If it’s a system you’ve put in place that’s still working, that’s great! If it’s messy again, then you need to declutter more, or create a new system. For example, if after you’ve decluttered the kitchen bench it’s still continually chaotic, then perhaps you need another spot to place items that seem to find their way onto the bench.
A good system shouldn’t cause you extra work to maintain it, it should be simple and effective to use.
I’m keen to dive into more decluttering and organising again this week – who else is now motivated to find a time and get stuck in? Let me know what you choose to declutter and organise in the comments below!