Since the 1970’s one business that has soared in the United States is the “self-storage” or “mini-storage” industry. It seems that in this country, we need to store our stuff – and plenty of it – and there’s no room left inside of our homes. Home organization experts can be hired to help with the task and books abound on how to organize a home. There are even TV shows about about all the stuff we’ve all accumulated and the storage units that are forgotten.
Drive around suburbia and look at the double, triple car garages that are filled from floor to ceiling with boxes and piles of things. In older homes like mine, head to the basement to see the same piles and stacks. With basements, we can hide our stacks more easily. Or, look up. Those attic steps lead to another secret hiding spot. Boxes filled with our belongings.
Garages, basements, attics, closets, and self-storage units – everything packed with stuff. Stuff we might need. Stuff we once used but don’t want to part with. Items we’re saving – but for what? The Smithsonian? The kids? The grandkids?
Where did all that stuff come from? How do we deal with it?
When I walk into a room in our home, my eyes are drawn to whatever stack, pile or over-crowded shelf is visible. It wears on me. It makes me tired. It makes me unhappy. Clutter, piles, and boxes to be sorted. Drawers that won’t open because they’re too full.
Can’t I just take a nap and ignore it all?
Nope. So, this is what I’m doing for 2014 and I hope you’ll join me.
Smart and Simple Home Organization
I’m cleaning out a different drawer, cupboard, shelf, closet, garage – even the dreaded “tool room” that’s in our basement. (The “tool room” is more of an entire weekend project but it needs doing. Honestly, the garage needs an entire weekend, too.) Here’s my plan for smart and simple home organization for the coming year.
- Weekly. Every Friday, we’re cleaning out one area of the house.
- Small. Let’s feel good about cleaning out one area and stop. By keeping the jobs small, we’ll do it and be consistent.
- Clear and clean. After living in our home for 18+ years, everything needs clearing out and cleaning off. After taking everything out, I’m going to wipe it down, clean it, and then put back what we’re keeping. That’s the plan.
- Get set. Get a bag ready to be filled with donations for this project. Plus, keep it accessible so that every time someone says, “I don’t want this,” they know where it goes.
- Pack it out. My donation bag is going into the car as soon as it’s done. No second thoughts.
- Donate. Once the area is finished, I’m donating the items to Goodwill. Goodwill works with 50-60 different salvage companies so nothing goes to landfills. Don’t forget to get a tax deduction receipt, too.
- Trade out. Once something new comes in, something must go out. When I received wine glasses, kitchen towels, and socks from my husband and kids for Christmas, I put our old wine glasses, kitchen towels, and socks into the donation bag.
- Stop buying. Do we really need more things in life? When do we have enough? Really, when do we stop? Honestly, do I really need another cashmere sweater? (Yes is the correct answer but even second-hand cashmere sweater shopping must be curtailed!) We have to keep track of these things, clean them, buy more things to store our things in, and then pay for “self-storage” units.
- Less is more. What do we really “need” in life? Before I buy something or someone wants to give me something, I’m really trying to say no. Even free chairs on the side of the road – and you know I love chairs – I’m passing on those, too.
When I walk into my home, I want to feel relaxed and see empty spaces. I want the kitchen drawers to open and close easily and for our closets not to burst with clothes we haven’t worn in years – literally, years – as in decades. All of the clutter, the piles, and storage boxes need to be sorted but if we do it in small, weekly steps, we can do it. If we donate rather than toss things in the garbage and don’t buy new items, our smart and simple home organization will leave us feeling really good – and happy in our homes.
Will you join me in this smart and simple home organization project?
Please leave a comment below and let me know if you’re on board. If you have a blog, please leave your link and tell us about your weekly efforts. If you’re shy, please send me an email and let me know your progress. I love getting those emails! sara at gogingham.com is how to reach me.
Go Gingham related links:
Ottoman slipcover hides shoes, socks and whatever else my kids stuff under there!
A little home office in our dining room
A free chair – that was rejected!
Green and frugal living – the sweet spot where green and frugal meet
The “weekly home organization projects” – if you’ve missed a week