January seems to be the month of organization, and with it being so cold outside, that’s exactly what I’m doing. But, because I’m such a hoarder of all things vintage, letting it go can be a very difficult thing. Almost anxiety ridden. The process of letting go is hard, but once it’s complete, there’s happiness and a sense of calm. Here’s my 5 step process to organization, and how I’m going to channel Elsa, and let it go.
MORE AFTER THE JUMP…
Way back when, there was a TLC show about organizing your home called Clean Sweep. The host would walk into a cluttered home and force the homeowner to pull everything outside on the lawn, creating 3 piles. Keep, Sell, and Toss. DO you remember it? In a nutshell, 2 days later, the home would be transformed and happiness and tears ensued. Blah, blah, blah. My method is basically the same.
Create 3 Piles
Since Chicago is presently covered in snow and it’s -20° outside, I will not be using my lawn for organizational purposes. Instead, I will find an out of the way space in the house. Start unloading everything out of the room you want to declutter and place everything into 3 piles. Unlike Clean Sweep, my piles are Keep, Maybe, and Donate. There is also a garbage bag for anything that is just plain trash. So I guess yes, it’s technically 4 piles.
Get It Out & Reorganize
To immediately feel some joy, whatever is garbage…take that bag to the trash can. Let it go, and get it out of your home. You don’t need to look at it anymore…just unload. If it’s in the Donate pile, box it up immediately, and call a local charity, many times they will pick it up for you. I like to donate to AmVets or a local women’s crisis center. Whatever you need to do, just channel Elsa.
Take whatever is in the Keep pile and put it back into the room. I guarantee you’ll find things in the Keep pile don’t belong in the space. Take this opportunity to declutter and put everything back in its proper place.
The Maybe pile will be sorted out last . Each and every piece will go through the rigorous questioning of, “Does it bring me joy?” If it doesn’t bring joy, can it be sold? If it can’t be sold, have you used it in 6 months? Does your home need it? Can someone else use it? FYI, this may be a difficult process, but this is the pile that relieves the stress of clutter. As a goal, try to rid yourself of 70%. Really question yourself before you transfer it back to the Keep pile. There’s a reason why it’s in the Maybe pile. It’s your duty to determine why it wound up there in the first place.
Wait It Out
Yes, sometimes I have total and complete regret after tossing or donating, so I like to box up my Maybe pile and wait 2 weeks before the final purge. If you find yourself laying in bed thinking about an item in the Maybe pile, write it down. It’s not going anywhere. Now think about it.
Still miss it? Unsure? Pull it back out. You’re not ready to part with it yet, and that’s okay. Don’t put it away though. Wait one more week and keep your treasure somewhere in plain view. When you see it does it bring a smile to your face? If you answered yes, I think you best keep it. Find a special spot for it, and keep it.
It’s now been 2 weeks with your Maybe pile in a box. The separation anxiety should have passed by now. Standing ovation and high five you! You’re ready to donate again. Do not open the box. Close it up wit tape and donate. Let these treasures bring someone else joy.
That’s all she wrote folks! You’re done, and you should be proud of yourself. What you just did isn’t easy. Now I’m off to take my own advice. My office is a complete disaster zone. It’s not an easy process, but once it’s done, my hope is that this space offers me more creativity and less anxiety.
Need some extra help in the organization process? Here are a few items I’ve been eyeing. Ottomans with storage, hooks, trays, baskets and more.