You have to get organized. Your little excuses have moved out of the house, so it is officially time to undertake this. (I’m talking to myself, by the way. I’m so sorry you have to hear this.) More self-talk: after you get organized, then comes the cleanout. Then comes the downsizing. Rinse and repeat, in that order. Organize, cleanout, downsize. Organize, cleanout, downsize. Suzy, you knew the day was coming. It’s here. Yes, you may research the best way to do it. You may want to write a post about it after you do your “research”/procrastination. But eventually, you’re going to have to do it.
I blame Pinterest for my hesitancy in getting started. The picture-perfect images of organizational systems, fancy storage units, and orderliness have just intimidated me. (Does that sound convincing?) I can’t put it off any longer. It’s time. Yes, I’ve researched. (Y’all know me so well!) Here’s my plan.
According to Marie Kondo, the oft-quoted author of the best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, we can declutter by keeping items that “spark joy” and getting rid of items that don’t. In other words, we need to thin out before we can get organized. Fay Wolf, author of the book, New Order: A Decluttering Handbook for Creative Folks (and Everyone Else), says, “Once you decide to let go of an item, you free up physical space in your life as well as inner clutter, because you never have to concern yourself with it again.” She says we need to stop thinking of ourselves as either organized or not. We just need to get going. Yes!!!!
I’m going to use the tried and true box method. One box for each of these five categories: trash, recycle, shred, donate, and take to other rooms. I want to focus on the items that are weighing me down physically or emotionally. According to the experts, the next step would be to store like with like and put things away in a logical place. (Hence the “take to other rooms” box.) An example I’m thinking of: when the kids were younger, I had a first aid kit (think bandages, antibiotic ointment, acetaminophen, etc.) in one of the drawers in the kitchen. Now, it just makes more sense to move all of that to the medicine cabinet in my bathroom.
Contain & Label:
Once I’ve collected things into the proper categories and locations, I’m going to corral everything with containers. Then I’m going to fire up the label maker and go to town. I love The Container Store and weirdly find it kind of inspirational! They have great decorative storage containers, high-quality plastic storage bins, as well as wonderful small containers for drawers. I especially love these lined baskets and have had mine for years. They look cute so you can use them out and about, or in a closet. The lining can be removed and washed, which I think is such a plus! They come in smaller (12″ x 8″x 5″ h) and larger (14″ x 10 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ h) versions.
I’ll be honest. The closets are the rooms that intimidate me the most when I think of cleaning out and getting organized! Do you feel that way too? I’ve decided that is because clothes are such an extension of us. That makes them kind of emotional to deal with, I think. I recently read a great article with some quick and practical tips for cleaning out your closet. Here are the questions to ask yourself:
- Shoes: Do they fit well? Are they still in style? Did you buy them on sale and have yet to wear them? Bye-bye. Ready to organize what’s left? I love these clear, stackable shoe drawers. You can buy them individually or in a pack of six. Mine have lasted forever!
- Jeans/Pants: Do they make you feel uncomfortable in some way (fit, style, size)? Would you wear them right this second? If not, adios. I’ve used these four-tier chrome swing arm pant hangers for years. They not only maximize space, but you can organize your jeans or pants by color, which helps you to clearly see what you have when you get dressed in the morning.
- Damaged or Dirty: Mend, launder, or take items to the tailor or dry cleaner. If you are not motivated to do this or not sure if it will be worth it financially or otherwise, toss.
- Socks & Underwear: Throw out any stretched out or permanently stained items. Love yourself enough to get rid of anything with a hole in it. You’re worth it! To organize my socks and underwear drawers, I bought this set of two 32-compartment drawer organizers. They are interlocking and fit in any drawer!
- General: If you can’t foresee a time when you might wear an item in the next year, say goodbye to it. Life as an empty nester means no more school Open Houses, PTA meetings, etc. Your clothing needs have changed! Be realistic about this.
I hope you feel motivated! Let’s adopt some new “rules of order” for our lives as empty nesters. The time has come! If you’ve successfully tackled this project, I’d love to know your tips. Please leave me a comment and inspire me!
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