Sell, donate, or throw out unneeded or unloved items. There are three quotes that I live by that help me to let go of items when clutter starts to build:
“Have nothing in your house you don’t know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”
– William Morris
“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”
– Henry Thoreau
“Once we’ve covered our basic needs, our happiness has very little to do with the amount of stuff we own.”
– Francine Jay
“Our stuff can be divided into three categories: useful stuff, beautiful stuff, and emotional stuff.”
It can difficult at times to let go, especially if those items have sentimental value to you, or let’s be honest they were expensive! However, in order to move forward, towards a life we want, we have to learn that there is value in letting go. If stuff is taking away time that could be spent connecting, building relationships and loving others then we have to let go in order to improve our lives. We sometimes come to believe that stuff is what makes us happy, but actually if our basic needs are met then stuff becomes not all that necessary. Also, try not to hold onto things that keep us living in the past and prevent us from living in the now. Not to mention your ability to let go of and donate unneeded or unloved items could bring a great deal of joy to someone else’s life.
2. Empty Space
One of the most difficult tasks for my clients is seeing and utilizing empty space. Empty space is like a gold mine! If you can find it, you will be rich with space! Using empty space creates storage solutions you didn’t even know were possible, creating more space in your home for the things you love. Let’s take a closet for example. Typically closets have one shelf with a hanging rod underneath it. That is so limiting! You either have to hang your clothes or fold and put them on the shelf. As for your shoes, those get piled up on the floor! Am I right!? Instead place items that you rarely used on the shelf like luggage or snow boots. Then purchase a six shelf hanging closet organizer to hang on the rod down the center of your closet. This will allow you to fold and store sweaters, jeans, sports tees, etc. that you can easily access and that will actually stay put! Next, purchase shelves for your shoes that fit the space on the floor of your closet. This will allow you to store twice as many shoes as well as make it super easy to find the pair you are looking for. Tip: if you having existing storage units or systems that do not utilize the empty space it might be a good idea to rethink your set up so that you can better use the space within your closet. This will allow you to store twice as much in your closet!
Let’s take a kitchen cabinet for example. With small cups on a shelve it leaves a lot of space above them, empty. Instead of not using this space put in an under shelf wire rack storage organizer above the cups. This will not just fill the empty space it will give you a great place to store those water bottles that seem to take over our cabinets because they just won’t stay put!
3. Hang It Up
Another challenge my clients often face is keeping countertops and floors free of clutter. Wall space is a perfect example of empty space. If utilized correctly it can help you not only to create more space, but also help you to get and stay organized. The more things we can store in a wall mounted organizer or holder on the wall the more clutter we can clear and the more space we will have to do the things we love. For example, you can hang up a wall mounted mail organizer to store bills and letters, a wall magazine holder house your favorite additions of Magnolia Journal, shelving for books and baskets, and a command center to keep you and your family organized throughout the school and work weeks. Also, remember that counters are not meant to be storage spaces, they are meant to do things on. Whether it prep and cook a meal, work on a blog post or allow your little ones to play with puzzles – the possibilities are endless, when we clear those counters!
4. File Fold
The day I file folded my husbands socks my world changed forever! In all seriousness his did too. His socks took up the entire drawer of our dresser. He had trouble matching his socks and they constantly were getting stretched out. I decided to file fold all of his socks and you wouldn’t believe the amount of space that was left over in his drawer. His socks now only took up half the drawer! I thought for a second about all the things I could file fold and all the space I could be saving! I then proceeded to file folding everything in the house, you name it I tried to file fold it and I more than doubled my space and my families! Who knew such a small change could make such a huge difference!
This could be you! You can file fold just about anything from shorts, to leggings, to jeans, to tees, to sweaters, to towels and so much more! On average file folding will double your space, but it will also make it so much easier to locate items when you need them! Don’t believe me just do one drawer and it will blow your mind how much space you create! Tip: make sure to stand your items up right in your drawer so that way you can fit more items as well as see your options better.
5. Raise Your Bed
If you live in a apartment, a small home or you’re just short on storage space then this is especially important for you! Under the bed storage is the perfect place to store those items that just don’t have a place. It’s the perfect place to store shoes, out of season clothing, back stock items, books, magazines, and so much more! Anything really! You can get flat storage containers to go underneath the bed ( they even have ones with wheels!) or just use large cardboard boxes ( no one’s going to see it!) or they make bag storage as well with handles to store your items, making it super easy to get to those items when you need them. Is your bed to low to fit anything under it! Well they make risers that you can place under the legs of your bed that will raise your bed it to several different heights! Problem solved, store away!
6. Drawer organizers
Drawer organizers we think we don’t need them, but trust me they are a god sent! They keep those drawers in order making to so easy to grab what you need and go! You save more time then you realize when you organize not just by drawer, but in the drawers as well. Use them in your kitchen drawers, dresser drawers, bathroom drawers- wherever you have a drawer! Check out dollar tree and dollar general for super affordable options or just use old cardboard boxes.
7. Cubby storage
I’m so in love with cubby storage. **Full disclaimer** you are about to be too! First off what is cubby storage? Great question! Cubby storage is cube storage units that often come with cube baskets. A normal cube storage unit consists from anywhere from two to 16 ( or more!) cubbyholes. They are a great storage solution because they make organizing easy. You simply sort items, place like items in a designated cubby, label and move onto the next one. Then whenever you need said item(s) you can easily find it in seconds. So where can you use them? Literally anywhere! For toys in the playroom, for clothes over flowing out of the closet, a variety of items in your living room, sports equipment in the garage, shoes in the mud room, even a cute extension of your kitchen that can be used as a pantry or for all those pots and pans that just don’t fit in your cabinets – the possibilities are endless!! So where can you get them? You can get them just about anywhere – ikea, amazon, Big Lots, Walmart, Target, your local hardware store and so many more places. So whatever your budget, this storage solution could solve all of your organizing nightmares. If you are completely lost and have no idea where to start on your organizational journey then I’d recommend starting with cubby storage ( I might be a just a little bias!)
8. Give It A Home
I have found when we give items a home it makes it so much easier to put those items back quickly. Just think about it, cleaning and even straightening can be so daunting especially if you are just moving things around, but if you know where everything goes, then you can quickly put it back saving you tons of time, stress and frustration! I find this to be the most true in the playroom! The kids will dump out and tear the room apart in seconds! However, because everyone knows where things go we can have the room cleaned up in just about 5 minutes!
I know what your thinking. Do I really need the labels? And honestly I would say not really when everything is organized and put away. It’s when we go to put things back, straighten up, when we start to become unorganized that we need labels. In fact having labels can help prevent things from becoming unorganized in the first place. If everything has a home and it’s labeled and you know exactly where it goes you are more likely to put it back! It also makes it easier for loved ones to know where items go. They can easily read the label and therefore know where items go and then are more likely to put it back! For example, my husband all the time use to say, when I asked him why he just threw all the toys in various bins, “I don’t know where they go” so what did I do? I labeled all the bins so he knew exactly where each type of toy went and could no longer continue to use that as an excuse! ; )
In order to maintain our homes and keep them organized I have found it helpful to create a rule(s) for yourself and family members that will help all to stay organized and avoid clutter build up!
Some of my favorites:
1. The one in one out rule
If you bring one item in the house then you have to take one similar item out.
2. If you haven’t worn an item for six months then you have to throw it out ( exceptions – seasonal items)
3. If you don’t believe it to useful or beautiful then let it go
Push yourself to have a reason for each item in your home. Also be sure that it is your reason, not someone else’s ( family members excluded).
There are so many rules out there you just have to find the ones that work for you! Also remember the less stuff we have the less we have to maintain and the more free we feel!
**Disclaimer: In writing this guide I used one of my favorite organizational reads called, The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify by Francine Jay. I highly recommend it to anyone you wants more information on this topic!