Does your garage look like this? Are you fed up with the mess? Can you find what you need? If you are like many Americans, you can’t park your car in the garage. I’d like to remind you that your car is worth much more than the stuff in your garage. The weather conditions, especially in Arizona, do a number on our cars if they are not protected from the sun and heat. Your priority should be to park your car in your garage and not to protect your clutter!
So where do you begin? You have to remember the basics for organizing any space in your house and that includes your garage. You need to remember S.P.A.C.E - 1) Sort, 2) Purge, 3) Assign a home, 4) Containerize, and 5) Equalize. The acronym comes from Julie Morgenstern’s book “Organizing from the Inside Out.” I use these basics everyday with my clients on the jobs that I do.
Let’s break it down! You have to keep in mind that everything will have to come out of the space that you are working on. If the entire garage is too much to handle in the designated time frame that you have, break it down into segments. Sorting and purging go hand in hand when you get ready to start a project. Determine if you are going to donate, consign or have a garage sale with the items that you are getting rid of. Keep in mind that some of the items will only be worthy of the trash, so have two areas ready to start with bags or tubs (I use black lawn bags for donations/consignment and large white kitchen bags for trash as this helps keep the items separate in my mind). As you sort, put them in one of the designated bags and/or sort your items into like categories. Continue to do this until either the garage or the portion of the garage you are working on is done. The sorting process is very important because you want to end up with all like items together. If all like items are together, you will always be able to find what it is you are looking for when you need it.
Now comes the assigning a home portion of your project. Once all like items are together, you will need to determine what you need to get to on a regular basis, what you only need to get to periodically and then what comes in between. This will determine where those items are placed in your garage. If it is a category that you need to access on a frequent basis, put it in a convenient place that is easy to get to. If it is luggage, which you might only use once or twice a year, it can go up or out of the way. Do you see where I am headed? Make the placement of your items convenient for your lifestyle.
Finally, what does equalize mean? This is the process where you might need to tweak an area because you find that a category needs to be in a little different location. Or the place that your shoes are located needs to be moved to a more convenient place. Don’t be afraid to make the necessary changes to your masterpiece to that your newly organized space works for you!
Happy Organizing! Bridges
Part of my job with clients is to help them get rid of their clutter in the greenest way possible. I have worked hard to develop relationships with vendors that reduce, reuse and recycle almost everything I am able to rid my clients of. One HUGE tip that I want to share with everyone is the secret double life of donated textiles!
What does this mean? Well…it means any and ALL clothing needs to be run through Goodwill or St. Vincent de Paul! I was talking to the Founder of The Bra Recyclers and she is a member of the Secondary Material and Recycled Textiles which is an entirely different industry for those unwanted items. I was concerned with what to do with those lone socks that I always seemed to find or that T-shirt that had a stain. I felt guilty donating those items but I also felt guilty about putting those items in the landfill. What I found out is that Goodwill and St. Vincent de Paul are two of the largest recipients of this recycled textiles industry. That means they make money off of those discards and those items have a second life as a wiping cloth, pillow stuffing or household insulation.
Wow, when you look at it like that, there is absolutely no reason for any of your unwanted items need to go into the landfill. My philosophy is why not run everything through one of these drop off points and give them the opportunity to recycle them on the secondary market? Here is another great diagram demonstrating what can be recycled and what is not being recycled. This is a staggering number when you realize that only 15% of worn or torn textiles are actually donated on an annual basis. I ask you where is the rest of it going?
During this talk with The Bra Recyclers, the group, of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) – AZ, in attendance were stunned that we were missing so many opportunities to donate clothing. It stopped us in our tracks and we have all become committed to doing the right thing and educating clients on the secret double life of worn clothing! Here is another great visual to drive home the point of how these items are recycled. Going forward, please think about your choices and understand this second life of your discards and hopefully being educated will help you make better choices! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.Read More
Is your closet the last place that you think about? Is it the first place that you head in the morning? Does the rest of the house look great but your closet is piled high with “stuff” that shouldn’t be there?
I am amazed to see this a lot this with my clients. Their closet is the very last place in the house that is a priority…they can shut the door and worry about it later. Does this sound familiar? Or is your desire just to be able to find what you need when you need it? Whatever your situation is, I would like to provide some simple solutions for you and your closet.
The greatest solution that I can provide is to HANG EVERYTHING! Keep in mind that if it is out of sight, it is out of mind. There are a lot of times that I get in there and hang things only for the client to say, “Wow, I didn’t know I had all of those black t-shirts!” You need to take ownership in what you have and if things are folded and not categorized, you will have the same casualty they are.
If you are going to work on your closet, PURGE, PURGE and PURGE some more! Remember, you only wear 20% of what you have in your closet, so why are you hanging onto everything? Create that positive energy to bring something new into your closet by getting rid of the dead weight that is hanging in there. Keep an ongoing donations or consignment basket in your closet so if you put something on that you know you will just not wear again, don’t hang it up, put in the basket to move it on out of there!
Finally, when you are done purging start by sorting all of your clothes by like items. Make it simple and put all of your spaghetti straps, short sleeve t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, layering pieces, pants and then slacks together by a single category. Yes, I mix together business attire with casual attire because you will see a ton more options if you do categorize this way. Plus, use this time to simplify what is going on in your closet. I am going to leave you with a few before and after pictures to provide some motivation for you.
I LOVE doing closets because the impact of a well organized closet is good for the soul every single day. Make your closet work for you and quit struggling with it every day!
What the heck is she talking about! I heard this crazy idea once and it “stuck” so I thought I would pass it along as a way to help you make decisions.
The rules goes something like this…when you get a phone call or email pretend that it is stuck on your forehead until you make a decision as to where it goes or what you need to do with the information. There are so many times that we come across this information and we are too busy to deal with it. Then what happens is that all of these delayed decisions become clutter in our lives. By the time that we come back around to making those decisions or dealing with that pile, it feels overwhelming. If you get in the habit of making those decisions quickly and put them in the right location to be dealt with you will free up a lot more time to work on other projects. Find ways to be efficient with your time and O H I O…Only Handle It Once!
Happy Organizing! BridgesRead More
There are a lot of clients that I work with that have a really hard time letting go of items. I hear things like “It is still good” or “I might use it one day” or “So and so gave it to me.” They are struggling with their clutter and spend a lot of time trying to manage it. Believe it or not, all of your stuff takes up a lot of time and energy in your life. If you are heading into a place where you are ready to make a change, I have included some thoughts to ponder and consider when making those tough decisions.For the bigger picture, keep in mind that nothing really new can come into your life if you are hanging onto the old. Only keep things that are useful or beautiful to you and the rest should find another great home. It is not your job to hang onto everything and you will be much happier with a lighter load. Keep in mind that there might be someone out there that your discards could be very useful or beautiful to them and they would appreciate your donation.
What about all of your items that have memories for you? Keep in mind that your some of those memories may not be serving you well. I had a client that was hanging onto some dried flowers from an old boyfriend. She was trying to hang onto those memories of him and that time in her life. When we talked about it, she was adamant about those memories. I explained to her that she was hanging onto the past and not letting new relationships into her life. The next time I came back the dried flowers were gone and she had a big smile on her face. Always ask yourself if that memory is serving you in the best possible way! If not, let it go…
What about all of the perfectly useful possessions that you might use one day? You haven’t used them in years, BUT you might use them in the future. This is a huge category for my clients and I tell them they only use 20% of their possessions and if they were to let it go would they really miss it in the long run? Believe me the weight that is lifted off of your shoulders by purging all of those items, is well worth those decisions.
Don’t be a slave to your possessions! You will spend way too much time and energy managing that “stuff” and it will stop the flow of the energy in your house an life. Let it go, find a good home and be done with the clutter in your life! Remember, fewer possessions will simplify your life, your choices and your decision making. Is it time to streamline your life?
Happy Organizing! Bridges
Here we are at the end of this series of blogs on the golden rules of organization. I hope that you have found them helpful and useful to you and your life.
The final rule that I apply to my life and to the life of my clients is “do it right away!” If it will only take you 30 seconds or less, “just do it” as Nike says! This is true in your life too. Just take the time to take care of it right then and there while you are finishing up the task. Remember what we talked about in a previous post, delayed decisions create the clutter in your life? Well, avoid that stumbling block and just put it away.
Some of the other tricks that help me out are to leave things out if it needs to serve as a visual reminder to do something. If there is something that needs to go upstairs, I will place it on the stairs and the next time I head up there (or anyone else for that fact), I have a visual reminder of what needs to be done. If I trip over it, that will be my reminder.
Also, if I know that I have to go to the grocery store and just pick up a few items, while I am thinking about it, I will pull out a sticky note and write those items down. Then I will take that sticky note and stick it on the door leading out to my garage and this will serve as my reminder that 1) I have to go to the grocery store, and 2) what I need to pick up. Again, do it right away before you forget and follow through on those thoughts. Make it easy for you to follow through is my philosophy. It may take a few more seconds to follow through but you won’t end up at the grocery store and not remember what you need.
Happy Organizing! BridgesRead More
This is a golden rule that I use with each and every one of my clients and that is the “lids off policy.” That is right…all of those beautiful tubs and boxes that you have need to have the lids off. Think about this…your hands are full, you would really like to apply the “stow as you go” golden rule but your other hand is full. You just want to put the small items away but you can’t lift off the lid. Oh, what the heck, you just put it on top for the time being.
Does this sound familiar? I see it day end and day out and I am here to tell you that unless it is a storage box in your garage and you get to that box on a regular basis, you life will be much easier if you take the lid off and store it under the tub or box.
Think about your kids, are they more apt to put it away if the lid is off? You are the same way so take those lids off and enjoy the ease of putting things away single-handed!
Happy Organizing! BridgesRead More