January, after the holidays and at the start of a new year, is a natural time to begin to declutter, clean, and organize your space, but you can really start any time of year (Spring Cleaning!). Often the hardest part is merely deciding to begin and commit to seeing the process through. We will help you by giving you a plan, some expert tips, and dangling a reward at the end to motivate you. Let’s get started!

First Step

Survey the space. How much time is this going to take? Don’t start a project so big that you can’t complete it in your available time. Maybe you just begin with a closet rather than a room. Or if a closet seems like too much start with a shelf. Make this manageable or it may not get finished. 

Second Step

Empty the space completely and sort it into keep, trash, and donate or sell. Take the time to make the hard calls to really get the full benefits of this project. Ask yourself: Do you love it? Have you used it in the last year? Would you rather have the space for other things? Is it time to pass it on? Can I sell this for money? We know you know BookScouter is the best place to sell books but for everything else here are “8 Places Where You Can Sell Stuff Fast” 

If you need help letting go, cut yourself some slack and read this article “15 Ways to Leave Your Clutter (so you can find some peace)” 

Third Step

After you have thoroughly cleaned out the space, grab the “keep” pile and decide if it’s in the right place. Should it be somewhere else in your space? Should it be accessible, used daily, or placed further back for less frequent use? Should it be placed in storage or pulled out for a seasonal rotation?

One way to organize your stuff might be to group it into categories for purpose. If it’s a linen closet separate linens, towels, bathroom supplies. Then further group into matching sets for either the same rooms or same sizes. If it’s a sock drawer sort into colors or uses like sports or dress socks. Keep items used the most often in the front. 

 

Fourth Step

Now that you’ve broken it all down it’s time to build it back up. Look at the space, see what needs to go back in there, and determine how to access it best. Should it be a vertical organizer like a shoe bag in a closet or pull out bins that let you stack up? Or is it best to organize horizontally with dividers and trays? Can a hook or bar be added to use in the space? Look for unused space like the back of a door, under stairs, or above shelves. Check out these “13 Storage Spaces You’re Overlooking” 

Keep in mind that you don’t want to have to move too many items to access what you need. Simple is better as advised in “How to Declutter and Organize ANY Space”. 

Use bins, baskets, or boxes to help sort and divide. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on matching or attractive organizational items. You can often repurpose items or Google clever hacks to use. Here are “28 Storage Ideas for Your Entire Home” 

And it should go without saying, but make sure everything you put back is CLEAN! 

Final Step

Step back and enjoy your efforts. Don’t be afraid to tweak your organizational plan if needed as day-to-day use might prove your ideas wrong. And keep in mind,  your ideas might not suit the needs of others so be willing to compromise on how best to use the space. 

Benefits to think about as you work: 

  • You can spend less time in the future having to clean now that you’ve trimmed it down 
  • It’s easier to actually find things–and remembering what you even had at the bottom of that pile
  • You may make money selling unneeded items
  • The feeling that you are donating items for others to use and enjoy
  • You’ll enjoy using the space more now that it’s neat and orderly
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