Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

ID-100288088It’s a new year. Time to question your thinking, “I might need this someday!”

All year long I’ve stared at that cluttered basement–wrapping paper everywhere, half-emptied boxes scattered over the floor, bins of “stuff” that need to be sorted and no sense of order. It is driving me crazy and time to take action. I need to get organized! Sometimes, just looking at it all feels overwhelming and I don’t even want to begin the task! So I’m writing to you, but taking my own advice. I’m getting organized and creating tips to help:

1) Look at the space of clutter. Can you group items? If so, move them together for storage. For example, I can move all the Christmas decorations to one spot, the books to another, and old pictures to another.

2) Decide how to store items. I need more bins, shelves and a system. Do I want to stack and store? Buy a few cheap shelves and get things off the floor? Buy see through bins so I can tell what is in each bin if I need something.

3) One I have enough storage items and have grouped things together, tackle one area first. I don’t have to do the entire basement! Just my one area of books or pictures first. This makes the task less daunting and also gives me a sense of success because one part is not days of work.

4) Schedule a de-clutter session. The tendency is to go all out and lose steam because there is too much to do in one attempt. So pace yourself. Work an area for an hour or two and stop.

5) Photograph the kid’s artwork and pitch it. I know, this sounds cruel, but boxes of old pictures and art are never going to be brought up to the light of day. So why not take pictures of it all to enjoy and savor the memories?

6) File all important documents and store them in a safe or someplace secure. Boxes of paper can be easily misplaced, lost or thrown away by accident. Better yet, shred what you don’t need and scan the documents you do need.

7) Take garbage bags and follow the rule–it you haven’t used it in two years, give it away. And if you are saving items for your kids, ask if they even want them. I saved a set of dishes for years and my daughter-in-law had no interest in it. Time to ditch the hand me downs that people really don’t want.

8) If something has true emotional meaning, find a bin, store it and decide later, but at least organize it.

9) Here is a question I’ve started asking, “If something happened to me, would anyone in my family want this?” If the answer is NO, I’m more apt to give it away.

10) If you still feel overwhelmed, ask help from a friend. I visited the basement of a friend and saw her system. It was awesome and easy. She walked me through the process and I have a plan. Find someone who is killer at organization.

Finally, if the thought of this is making you anxious, you may have issues with hoarding or difficulty organizing even with the tips. If so, you may consider counseling. Hoarding disorder is real and a professional therapist can help.

But for most of us, time to think like Nike and JUST DO IT!

 

 

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