A pile of clothes that need to be organizedI’ve been decluttering in my bedroom and bath.  In the bedroom I purged 7 bags and two boxes of clothing, shoes and handbags over the span of two weekends.  My closet is now not so jammed and items I wear regularly are easy to find and not a wrinkled mess.

In the bathroom I pulled out all of the under sink toiletries and was amazed at the amount of miniature shampoos, conditioners and lotions that I had accumulated from travels.  I separated each category into labeled Ziploc bags and stored them in a cosmetic bag.  I now have part of my Vegas trip packing done as a result.

Next, my home office…

The process of decluttering always starts with the question “Where Do I Start?”

Here are some tips to get you started:

Organize Your Home in Less Than an Hour a Day

Do That Project
What about your space is making you feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed? Is it the paperwork disaster in your office? The pile of clothes teetering on your dresser? Or that mess that surrounds your doorway? Start with what’s annoying you. One hour on that task will get your organizing engine revving.

Create a “Go Away” Box
Put anything you’re planning to donate in it and get it out of the house. I regularly donate to Amvets and I put the bags in the front corner of my garage until their next curbside pickup.

Organize Your Spices
Arrange your herbs and spices alphabetically, by cuisine, or by brand — whatever makes them easier to find.

Pare Down Your Utensils
You’ve accumulated several dozen-kitchen utensils in your culinary career. Pare down the collection and use drawer dividers to keep the remainders in order.

Reconfigure Your Pots and Pans
Stop digging around in your shelves for the oversized, cast-iron skillet. Donate the pots and pans you hardly use, and install cupboard organizers to help manage the rest. Another alternative is a pot rack on the wall.

Throw Away Expired Foods
Go through your refrigerator and pantry and ditch or donate anything past its prime.

Say No to Coffee Mug Over-Saturation
Keep one or two mugs for every coffee or tea drinker, and donate the rest.

Sort Your Food Storage Containers
No singles allowed. Toss any tops or bottoms that have no mates.

Reassess Your Display Shelves
Shelves crammed with knickknacks, books you’ll never read, and stuff you somehow accumulated are just a waste of space. Donate books to the library, discard the junk, and arrange what’s left in a way that pleases you.

Deal With Your Cables
With a Roku, PlayStation, DVD player, and a cable box, its no surprise your entertainment center is a mess. Create ID tags for each plug from bread tags or cable ties, and bundle the clutter together with Velcro strips.

Corral Your Accessories
Belts, scarves, purses, and hats — all the accessories that don’t have a drawer or spot in the closet can end up everywhere. Buy an accessories hanger or install a simple series of hooks to give your wardrobe’s smallest members a home.

Purge Under the Bed
Under-bed storage is ideal for out-of-season clothing. But when out-of-season becomes out-of-sight and out-of-mind, clear out those clothes you’ll never wear again from this precious storage space.

Shred Old Paperwork
Not every form, statement, and tax record needs to stay in your filing cabinet forever. Check out this list to make sure you’re not wasting space. Shred the rest to ward off identity thieves.

Tidy Your Files
Now that you’ve shredded the paperwork you don’t need, tidy up your files by organizing them and labeling them clearly. Colorful folders can help organize by theme (home stuff, tax stuff, work stuff, etc.).

Get Rid of Mystery Electronics
Admit it. You’ve got a drawer where black mystery cords, chargers, and oddball electronic bits go to die. Free that drawer up for better uses, or at least get rid of the ones you know for sure are “dead.” Here’s how to help get rid of those electronics.

Pare Down Your Personal Care Stuff
Throw away any expired potions, salves, hair products, and medicines or items you no longer use.

Tackle Under-the-Sink Storage
Clean everything out. You’ll be amazed at what you find. Then put back everything you’re keeping in bins you can easily pull out so nothing gets lost again.

Reduce Your Towels and Linens
There are the towels you use — and the stack of towels you never use. Donate them to the animal shelter. Torn pillowcases? Convert to rags or toss – same for napkins, dishtowels, potholders, etc.

Organize Your Junk Drawer for Good
There’s no shame in a junk drawer — but why not organize it? Dump the whole thing on one surface and sort everything into piles. Use drawer dividers to keep each pile in its own space.

Deal With the Decorations
When you decorate for the holidays, if you haven’t already, separate the decorations by holiday for easier location and storage. As you pull them out, identify items you no longer wish to keep or are damaged. Put those immediately aside for donation or trash.

Before you begin decorating, grab your phone or digital camera and photograph each item or set of items for your inventory. Even if you don’t get them entered into your inventory immediately, the photos can be stored in a digital folder for update when you have time.

If the thought of doing the inventory at the same time seems overwhelming, call me at 925.206.0103 for a quick session to get you started. I can host the images for you and start the inventory for updating. A partial inventory is better than no inventory.

If you create a category by holiday, not only do you now have a record of what you own, but also you can retrieve it just before the holiday and plan what items and where you want to display them.


ABOUT TRICIA: Tricia Hoekwater is a Certified Inventory Professional and Credentialed Project Management Professional dedicated to providing peace of mind for home and business owners through the process of educating and helping people be prepared for life’s unexpected twists.

Through her company, Uniquely Yours Digital Solutions, Services include comprehensive Home Inventory, Collectibles Inventory, Decluttering, Photo Archiving and Paper Management systems into an organized, sharable digital library.

Additionally Tricia speaks to organizations on the topics of Decluttering, Home Inventory, Digital Legacy, Emergency Preparedness and Paper and Photo Archival. She is also a published course author for the National Inventory Certification Association.


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