I’ve taught an organizing class for years, and one of the most frequent questions is “how do I get rid of my junk?” If you Google organizing tips, you’ll get 61,900,000 responses for you to read. That’s crazy! Easier to boil it down to these simple steps:
S.P.A.C.E. = let’s use the example of your closet:
S = Sort. Put on some comfortable clothes, crank the music, and sort items into like piles on your bed. T-shirts, short sleeve long sleeve, pants, shorts, outdoor wear, work clothe, play clothes – whatever you’ve got in there.
P = Purge. Now look at that pile of 75 t-shirts that’s falling over – do you really love all of them? Have you worn them in the past year? Do they still fit? Get rid of at least 1/2 of them. And to donate them, they go into a bag RIGHT THEN, then into your car. No leaving the bag in the house so tomorrow you can go back and take 1/2 of it back out. Be ruthless. Save your favorites! Are you saving if “just in case?” Picture me holding up a Stop sign because you cannot have a whole closet full of “just in case”.
I recently called 12 local non-profits to ask what they need for the winter. The response was overwhelming. Besides cash, they desperately need items in good repair, clean, and easy to sell. Bend may look like an affluent community, but we still have many people just barely getting by.
If you need a reason to get rid of your stuff, think of those people, not yourself.
A = Assign a Home. This means figure out where items are supposed to go so that you can use them easily and they’ll be handy. Who cares that you use the dining room for your office? Make your home work for you. Many people leave their shoes in the garage now, to leave the dust and dirt outside, so they have extra room in their closets for their scrapbooking items. I say yes to whatever works for YOU. Leave space on every shelf for growth – you’ll receive gifts, buy new items.
C = Containerize. This is where you get to buy all the fun organization items! Many people erroneously do this step first, but then end up with too many baskets/bins that don’t fit how they live. But first look around your home and use what you’ve got. If you collect tins, use those, baskets, use those, the fabric bins, use those – all are easy to fit into different closets and on shelves.
E= Equalize & Put It All Away. This is where people have a hard time. When I was organizing homes, people would hire me repeatedly for the same room because we would clean it up, donate everything, and then they would go back to collecting crap. They forgot this step! Even though I taught it!
So the key is to spend a little time each day picking up the clutter and leftover items in each room. Put the dishes away. Hang up the coats. Put the clothes in the dirty laundry. Whatever you’ve gotten out, just tidy it up. 10-15 minutes at the most, with the whole family helping and the music blaring, and you’ll have it done.
Another key part of this final step is that you learn to follow the “one in, one out” rule. Our grandparents easily lived by this because when they bought an item, it was a big deal. Now, in our materialistic society, we consume, buy, and buy more, without ever purging. If you can teach your kids, and yourself, that happiness doesn’t come from buying stuff, it’s a valuable lesson.
S.P.A.C.E. Organizing is a process. One that you take step by step. It takes time and the rewards and hard work are well worth it. you are NOT going for perfection, your home will never be perfect. Learn how to create a balance of the things you need and love, the space you have, and the life you want to lead.
Let me know if you have any questions!