Where to start decluttering…. Anywhere! Start now, but start small!

slow-progress

There’s no time like the present.  Something making you crazy?  Deal with it.  But don’t start too big.  A little progress is better than none at all.  Don’t tackle your entire kitchen, whole garage, full closet or even a whole dresser at once.  Why?  It’s too overwhelming.  Remember, the mess didn’t get there overnight, so don’t expect to fix it all at once.

Here are some great places to start, with tips from your Professional Organizer:

Your sock drawer: 

PURGE the singletons, the pairs with holes or stains, and the ones that sag.

Toe-socks, really?  Time to say good-bye to the odd & unusual that you never wear.  Capture a photo before donating them, if the sight of them makes you giggle.

CATEGORIZE.  Work, Casual, Athletics.  Whatever makes sense for your life.

SORT.  If you have colored socks, sort by color within each category.

TAKE STOCK.  Have 20 pairs of white athletic socks but only workout 3x a week?  Keep only what you’ll use between laundry days.

Have 5 pairs of pink socks, but only wear those matching shoes, a couple times of month?  Donate all but your favorite pair.

Finally, ORGANIZE them.  This is where your own style comes into play.  You get to choose.  Are all your black work socks the same style & brand?  You don’t have to fold or pair them up – it’s up to you!  Usually dividing them up by category is enough, but if you are left brained, maybe you want to go by color instead.  That’s ok.  You can even put them in a hanging shoe bag on the back of the door.

Here’s some ideas for this last step: Google images sock drawer

Pat yourself on the back next time you open that drawer and you know what you have to choose from and can easily put away the clean socks.

Your books and other “to read” piles:

First, decide on location, do you want all your books in one bookcase; or would you prefer some on the nightstand; or maybe the cookbooks in the kitchen for inspiration and easy access?

Next, gather all the books & magazines from all corners of your home.

CATEGORIZE.  There are lots of options here, but do what makes sense to you!  Some possible categories:  Collected Authors, Reference, Nostalgia, Business, Fiction, Hobbies

SORT within your categories.  Do you have more than one hobby, separate them.  Do your business books run the gamut from Resumes/Interviewing to Leadership/Management.  Sort them into what makes sense.

TAKE STOCK.  Have 12 resume/interview books?  Which one or two are the best?  Donate the rest!  Have duplicates of your favorite author’s books – purge all but one.  Do you EVER revisit those old yearbooks?  Perhaps they can be recycled or boxed up for the attic when you kids finally grow up enough to wonder about their parents’ younger years?  Better yet, carefully remove the important pages for a scrapbook, and recycle the rest of the yearbook.

2+ years worth of the Oprah Magazine?  Keep only the last 6 months and position them near your favorite reading area.  Topics tend to recycle every year or less, so by them time you would have gotten to those great summer tips, the new ones are out.  Besides, you can always troll through the archives online.

Be honest with yourself.  Will you really ever read that book that you started but put down because it was too slow or the writing style didn’t work for you?  Donate it!  It might be perfect for someone else.  Did you save that magazine for the ONE article you wanted to read?  Tear it out and recycle the rest.  Or, maybe it’s online and you can bookmark it for reading on a work break?

That great book you think you might re-read someday?  Give it to a friend or relative – let them enjoy it and continue passing it on.  There’s always going to be a copy you can buy or borrow later, when and if you really decide to reread it again.

Finally, ORGANIZE in your predetermined spot(s).  Don’t be afraid to put some books vertical and some horizontal on your bookshelves.  It’s a great way to provide natural dividers between subjects, and can help fill up gaps (or alternatively give you more room for those last few books you want to squeeze in).

MAINTENANCE:  When the next issue of your magazine arrives, toss the oldest one, even if you didn’t read it.  Found a new great author?  One book at a time, then pass it on!  The latest business book on the best seller list – go ahead but try to recycle an older one of the same topic, or one that you’re unlikely to pick back up in the near future.

Once you have a few wins under your belt, it’s motivating to keep going.  Bit by bit, it’s possible!  However, if you have a really big or otherwise overwhelming declutter/organizing project, consider engaging a Professional Organizer.  We have the skills and experience to help you get started and ensure the job gets finished, in a compassionate and confidential manner that works FOR YOU. 

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