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Feel free to use this tip sheet / checklist as you tackle your own ""do-it-yourself"" organizing projects. If you would like to REPRINT or DISTRIBUTE this information, please click here for reprinting instructions.
A PLAN OF ATTACK
- start with the area of your life that causes you the greatest pain
- create a list of the areas you want to work on in order of priority
- include a deadline for completing each project
- try to tackle one small area at a time -- drawer, cabinet, shelf, etc.
- set aside some time each week to work on a different area
- move systematically throughout your home
- completely finish one area before beginning another
- find the organizing style and pace that suit you
- recruit some organizing "assistants" -- friends, family, neighbors
- if no volunteers, consider hiring a professional organizer to help
ASKING THE HARD QUESTIONS
- When was the last time you used it?
- When will you (realistically) need it again?
- Why would you need it again?
- Who might ask for it?
- What would you need it for?
- Is it easily replaceable?
- What's the worst thing that would happen if you got rid of it?
- Is it beautiful, useful, or loved?
BEFORE YOU START
- know what you want from your storage before beginning
- maximize space? see everything you own? cut down on cleaning?
- make sure each storage decision meets these goals
- collect up everything that needs a home before starting organizing
LETTING GO OF CLUTTER EXCUSES
- "It was expensive and I can't stand to see it go to waste."
- if you don't use it, it's still being wasted -- even if you keep it
- "I might be need it someday."
- if you haven't used it in a year, will you use it in the next?
- "It was a gift."
- once you receive a gift, it's yours to do with as you see fit
SORTING THROUGH IT ALL
- set up several boxes as you go through each storage area
- "keep" (items you know you love and use)
- sort "keeps" into different boxes for each area of the house
- "get rid of" (items you know you don't use and don't want)
- throw items that can't be repaired or used by others in the trash
- put serviceable items in a "give away" box to be donated
- put valuable items into a "sell" box to consign
- "not sure" (don't know if you want it and aren't ready to let go)
- tape up the "not sure" box and label with the date and contents
- put in the garage or basement
- make a note in your calendar to check back in 6-12 months
- if you haven't needed anything in the box in that time, get rid of it
- "need to buy" (is missing parts or accessories)
- "need to repair" (requires some work before it can be used)
- "to return" (doesn't belong to you and needs to go back)
- create a set home for everything you own -- no halfway spots
- have a good reason for storing and item in a certain place
- store like items together according to purpose
- don't forget accessories and related items
- ex: store travel alarm, A/C adapter, and toiletry bag with luggage
- store items nearest the point where you use them
- store items you use most often in more accessible spaces
- store items you use less in harder-to-reach areas
- keep climate in mind -- heat, moisture, and insects
- don't store things in an attic or garage if they will be damaged
- leave 15% of your space free for future additions
- plan to go through your spaces to "purge" once a year
THE RIGHT STORAGE PARAPHERNALIA
- use see-through containers whenever possible
- label every container so you know what's in it without opening
- use drawer dividers, baskets, shelves to subdivide larger spaces
- make use of hanging space with hooks and racks
- make use of low space with under-bed boxes
- choose modular components that can adjust as your needs change
Copyright Ramona Creel, all rights reserved-- you are welcome to reprint any article, but you MUST include this resource box.
Ramona Creel is a modern Renaissance woman and guru of simplicity -- traveling the country as a full-time RVer, sharing her story of radically downsizing, and inspiring others to regain control of their own lives. As a Professional Organizer and Accountability Coach, Ramona will help you create the time and space to focus on your true priorities -- clearing away the clutter other obstacles and standing in the way of that life you've always wanted to be living. As a Professional Photographer, Ramona captures powerful images of places and people as she travels. And as a travel writer, social commentator, and blogger, she shares her experiences and insights about the world as we know it. You can see all these sides of Ramona -- read her articles, browse through her photographs, and even hire her to help get your life in order -- at www.RamonaCreel.com. And be sure to follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.
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