Organizing in 5 minute chunks
Do you have an abundance of socks, scarves, or seasonal accessories that crowd your closet or dresser space? Does your shower have inadequate storage for those large, more affordable shampoo and conditioner bottles you like to buy? Do you have collections of DVD's, craft items, or cans and boxes of food that are difficult to keep organized? We all have a trouble spot or two (or more!). Getting organized can be overwhelming, so let's start small.
Pick one spot or one category to tackle, such as a kitchen drawer or that large scarf collection. If you have some empty boxes or baskets, gather them up before you start. Designate a container (or a spot on a clean surface) for each of these categories - KEEP, TOSS, DONATE, RELOCATE. Set a timer. Give yourself 5 minutes. Pull everything out - and I mean EVERYTHING for the area you've chosen as your focus. If it doesn't belong in that spot, has no purpose anymore, or you don't love it, add it to the toss, donate, or relocate spot now. DO NOT RELOCATE IT NOW - you are on a timer and need to keep your focus on one area. If you are finding it difficult to make a decision, keep it. No guilt. Remember we are starting small and trying to make quick decisions.
Once done reset the timer to 5 minutes again. Take items that ended up in your keep pile and sort them into like items. Don't overthink it as this is meant to be done quickly. For example, separate baking utensils, from screw drivers! Or from frying utensils, or flipping or grasping, or cutting utensils...you get the idea? If you are working on those scarves (or hats, or head bands, or ties) separate by color or occasion or season. Use a concept for sorting that makes sense to YOU. If you're totally lost and end up with everything in one pile and still feel cluttered, drop me a line. I'd be glad to help
You've now spent 10 minutes and have a mess, right? You may have a mess, but hopefully it is an organized mess and you should be able to see the potential for placing things back in place in a way that makes those items accessible and usable. Take a good look at your organized piles of goodies you've decided to keep and measure the space those items take up as well as the space you have to store them.
This is the hard part - do you shove this stuff back into the same place it came from or do you purchase some storage solutions to keep things organized and accessible? You may be lucky enough in that your decluttering efforts will allow you to put your categorized items back in place without a new storage solution. If that's not the case and it looks like you will continue having problems keeping your items looking great, check out the links below for some practical and beautiful containers and inspiration to continue your organization efforts.
Classy under bed storage.
Versatile medium sized bins
Awesome, adjustable shower storage
See through storage for DVD's, games, craft items, canned/boxed food
Personalized canisters - great sharing the gift of organization!
HOUZZ - Kitchen Essentials (Affiliate Link)
For now, if you don't have a temporary practical solution for keeping your items separated until your storage solutions arrive, take 5 more minutes to make a list of each item within each category. I encourage you to do this on paper or index cards so you can keep the lists with the items. Put your items back in place or in a temporary space for now along with each list. Have fun shopping for the right solution and once it arrives, take pleasure in knowing you can quickly store those items in an organized and useful way.
All in, if this exercise takes more than 20-30 minutes for one focus area, don't fret. It can take time to learn how to make quick decisions on items you've owned for a long time. Try doing this with a friend who can help you stick to following a timer. Try a smaller target area next time. Plan a reward for yourself after 4 attempts. Have a tasty treat, your favorite beverage, watch a movie, have a long soak with your favorite scented candles, your choice, You deserve it!
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I, Brenda Szarek, am the founder of Autumn Light Interiors. I have immersed myself in home design and problem solving for years and have creative solutions for all kinds of interior design dilemmas. I hope you enjoy my tips, tricks, trends, and inspiration to help you find your way to a well-designed, comfortable, and functional home you can be excited to live in and welcome others within.