Have you ever had it happen that you’ve been in a space for so long that you stop really seeing it? Then you look around one day and suddenly realize that it has gotten cluttered and maybe even a bit rundown.
As you stand there wondering how this could have happened, you decide that something must be done. After all, it is difficult to truly be comfortable and happy in a dirty or cluttered space. But where do you begin?
Here are some suggestions that will help:
A Clean Slate
If you’re going to do this organization thing right, it’s best to start with a clean slate. But what does this mean? Fair warning: what I’m about to tell you will take some time. But it will be worth it in the end. So set aside a day or two and roll up your sleeves. Here we go:
First things first, move everything out.
“Wait,” I can hear you say. “Everything?” Yes, everything.
There are several reasons for this. With everything removed you will be better able to visualize a new use of the space. You will also be able to give the room a deep clean. In addition, you can use this as an opportunity to apply the less-is-more philosophy. When de-cluttering you want to move back in as little as possible.
After the floor and walls are clean, take some time to re-imagine the space. You may already have had everything exactly where you wanted it, but chances are you could make better use of the space with a bit of planning. Create a floor plan on paper. Make cut-outs of the big items and move them around until you are satisfied you have the best possible layout.
Optional but recommended additional step: consider a fresh coat of paint. You’ve already moved all the furniture so you’re halfway there. Throw down a drop cloth, grab a roller, and begin! A fresh color will make the space feel brand new.
You Shall Not Pass
Now that everything is out and the space is clean, be selective about what you allow back in. Take the time to clean each item before you move it back. Go through desk drawers, shelf contents, etc. Again, remove everything, give it a deep clean, and only put back what you really need. You should have three piles: keep it, trash it, donate it.
Unless you were already pretty organized, the second two piles should grow rapidly.
A common piece of advice from organizational experts is this: if you haven’t used something in a year, you don’t need it. While it can be tempting to hold onto something “just in case”, usually this just leads to a cluttered space. If you are really in doubt about something, set it aside for two weeks. If you don’t use it during this time, out it goes.
A Place for Everything
As you go through your things, think about ways to group similar items together. Keep a list of organizational baskets, bins, and containers you will need. They are relatively inexpensive and will pay off in peace of mind and efficiency.
If you are organizing an office, for example, you should have a simple way to organize bills, invoices, and other items. No more piles of papers everywhere. Stacking metal or plastic baskets come in handy here. Make sure you are using matching containers.
Having a color/style scheme will allow the entire space to feel unified and comfortable. Use containers with clean lines and a simple but classy look. Make sure you have a matching office supplies set. It will be pleasing to the eye while also being useful.
Now step back and admire your new space. With the clutter gone and everything sparkly clean, you will enjoy spending time in your new-to-you room!