How to Become More Organized Than You've Ever Been in Your Life
There's something about the new year that is very convicting. Everyone is talking about their New Year's resolutions, making plans to be better than they were the last year. I appreciate the sentiment, I really do. But I know myself. If I set a goal for myself that is unreasonable, then I will almost certainly fail. I guess that makes me afraid of disappointing myself by actually writing out a list. Instead, a desire to be productive sort of washes over me after the holidays are over. I guess it's kind of a "welp, fun's over, let's get to work" sort of attitude.
If you know me, you know that I'm a bit OCD. I'm very visual and very detail-oriented - sometimes to a fault. If there's a pile of mail in a place that it doesn't belong, I can literally feel my anxiety build up within me. I don't think I was this way when I was younger; but, now that I have my own home and have some semblance of control over it, I like it how I like it! That means, I live by the "a place for everything and everything in its place" motto. It's really nice to be able to find things quickly. It's also really nice to know what I own. I'm not a big fan of holding onto things just because I can fit them into my house. In this post, I'm going to pass along my tips and advice for finally getting organized in your home! I mean, really organized. Like, more organized than you've ever been in your life. Let's do this!
Step 1 // Be Honest with Yourself About What You Really Want
With only a few exceptions, I don't think you need duplicates of anything. Some of the exceptions would be: good sheets (2 sets per bed max), casserole dishes (but only a few of them), towels (some for you, some for guests). You can use your own judgment about things that you will really use in your life, but don't trick yourself into keeping everything. "But what if I want them in the future?" is a horrible question to ask yourself. If you don't want it now, then you probably won't want it later. Unless you have a specific regimen goin' on, you don't need more than one type of shampoo just for yourself. If you're cleaning out your fridge properly, then you probably don't need 24 tupperware containers. I'm also the type of weirdo that only likes to keep one type of pen. It's my favorite kind, and other pens are not invited to the party. You don't need lots of things that are redundant, that do the same thing as something else. And please please please, if you upgrade something, don't keep the old version. (silverware, plates, pillows, towels, etc.) You won't reach for them anymore; therefore, you don't need them.
Step 2 // Take it one area at a time
There are tons of lists all over Pinterest that are supposed to help you get organized. They tell you in one massive list all of the things that you should throw away. Old batteries, empty pens, etc. This can be really helpful, but my problem with that method is that I have random things like that scattered throughout my house and I would have to clean out a few different places in order to find all of the dead batteries. Do you know what I mean? I much prefer to take it one area at a time. Not even a whole room, mind you. There are different areas within one room. For example, just within my guest room, I have a closet, a chest of drawers, a desk and two under the bed bins. If I tried to take on the whole guest room, I would never have time. I lead a crazy, busy life that is constantly being interrupted by shorter-than-expected naps and random bouts of the common cold. Only take on what you can handle in the amount of time you have AND don't start on something else until you've finished your first project. If you don't have a lot of time, just be proud of yourself for cleaning out the one drawer that you could and for doing it really well. And, as lame as it is, it really helps me to have a checklist so I can see my progress on paper.
Part 3 // Be Ruthless
This is probably the hardest part. Obviously, you need to get rid of anything broken, anything stained or anything that won't fit you anymore. If you don't love it or need it, say goodbye (even if it was a gift). Ignore that guilt that keeps you from passing that ugly heirloom along to someone that may love it. I'm by no means a true minimalist but I don't really want useless things filling up my cabinets and cluttering up my house. It also just makes it harder to find the things you really want to find. I typically make 3 piles: one for things to keep, the second pile (a box, actually) for things to donate and a trash bag for things to finally throw away. But, if you have a harder time letting things go, you can have a fourth pile of things. This pile should be things that you kind of want to keep, but don't really know if they still suit you, or if they still fit. Put them in a box and if after a month or two, you still haven't opened it to find something you need, donate it. Don't even open it. If you really can't do that, reassess every item in the box. It takes courage not to need things, but you can do it!!
Part 4 // Put things away the right way, and right away
Because you are taking on one area at a time, you should have a nice clean floor or bed to work with. Make piles as you empty out whatever area you are working on. For example, if you empty out the cabinet under your sink, you should have a trash bag and an empty cardboard box for trash and donations. Anything you decide to keep can go in its own pile next to you. Once the cabinet is totally empty, you can get started on putting the "keep" pile away. Just because something was originally in this cabinet, that does not mean it has to go back into the same cabinet. If you come across something that belongs in a different area of the house, make a second pile! Or a third or a fourth. You get the idea. Make piles of things you intend to keep by destination and then store things by function in the place where you will need them. Seldomly used things should be up high, under the bed, a spare closet, etc. If you keep looking for something and not finding it right away, move it to the first place you looked. That's probably the place that makes the most sense for you. Also, try not to overcrowd your space. If your cabinets are too stuffed for you to reach in and get what you want without knocking other things over, you may need to go back to step 1!
Part 5 // Be Selective in the Future
If your initial goal is to get rid of clutter, then your goal moving forward should be to keep the clutter out. Keep that mess from coming back into your life. It's easy to sound a little psycho about organization but it's important for everyone. I love the motto of the company Cuyana, which is "Fewer, better things." You shouldn't be buying things on a whim. Shopping can be addictive and harmful. We shouldn't be spending our money to clutter up our house. It's putting good money after a bad cause, and I think in this modern world, we should all be more conscious of our motives. When every clickable link and every billboard is aimed at getting you to consume, you should stay vigilant and make sure that you have control over your decisions. Don't buy something unless you have a plan for it, a need for it, or a specific place for it. Hopefully, an item will meet all three of those conditions before it makes its way into your home! I hope this advice is helpful to some of you!! Let me know if you have your own process of cleaning out. I'd love to hear all of the different methods!