Five Steps for Organizing

October 12, 2009 by  

Organizing Made Simple


Basement before organizing July 08
Organizing a basement, room or home can be completely overwhelming. Where do you start? What do you do with everything? How much will it cost?

So often we don’t do anything because we don’t know how to do it, or it seems too “big” to do anything at all.
But to do nothing accomplishes nothing.

Step 1: Pick your target zone.
Decide what area you want to work on first. Do not say, “My whole house”. More like, “I want to work on the desk in the corner of the family room.” The hard part when you get sorting is to stick to that target zone. You can’t take something to put away into another room, because then you will see something in that room that you want to move and you will lose focus.

Step 2: Set an appointment on your calendar to start your project.
Try to give yourself at least 2 hours to start your project. Hopefully if you haven’t started too big you can finish. Take “before” pictures. When you finish and take your “after” pictures, it will help to keep you motivated to not let it get back the way it was before.

Step 3: Have your supplies ready to start.
Do not go out and buy a bunch of organizational products. You do not know what you are going to need yet. You may have it somewhere in your home. I suggest getting:
1) Black trash bags for trash
2) White trash bags for donate (so you don’t throw away your donate bags by accident)
3) Clear bins with lids or boxes
4) Labels – masking tape can do the job and a sharpie marker
5) Your sorting lists

Step 4: Make Sorting List
Get a piece of paper and a marker and write this on each one:
1) KEEP – Love it, wear it, use it, can’t live without it.
2) DONATE – Do not like it or use it, doesn’t fit, it is still in good shape and someone can use it.
3) MOVE – It doesn’t belong in this room.
4) STORE – Seasonal items, occasional use (camping, skiing equip. etc)
5) TOSS – Trash, torn, broken, missing pieces, not in any shape for anyone else.

Step 5: Start Sorting
You need to make a decision on each item in the space you are organizing. You have to make fast decisions. give yourself about 5-10 seconds for each item. Do not sit and recall memories for each thing, or start looking at old pictures. When you do that you are “personalizing” that item. The goal here is to “depersonalize” these things in order to get rid of them.

Once you get started, it will get easier and the feeling you get when you are finished with your first project will spur you on to do more.

After organizing

I have posted this before, but with different pictures. This is a basic post that I will post periodically to help new readers.



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