We’ve all experienced that one (or more!) area of the house that just stays cluttered. It might be a small area like a “junk” drawer, a larger area like the closet you’re afraid to open because everything will fall out, or an entire room.
While the thought of organizing such cluttered areas can seem overwhelming, there are a few simple rules and steps you can take that will make the whole process much smoother.
Often people think the first step is to run out and buy storage containers so that they will have places to put things as they begin to organize. But as you’ll see, this is actually one of the last steps you’ll want to take.
Follow these guidelines for a smooth organizing process:
- Determine what to keep, what to throw out, and what to give away or sell. Make four piles, and go through absolutely everything. Finishing this step before moving on to others will really help reduce the amount of clutter you’re dealing with. Once you’ve gone through everything, be sure to actually get rid of items in the throw out, sell, and give away piles.
- Once you’re down to the pile of things you’re keeping, it’s time to begin organizing. This is really based on personal preference. You may end up with a section that includes tape, pencils, and paper clips and grows into an office supply pile. You may end up with a pile of stuffed animals that would be nice to display on a shelf. As you start to see the themes emerging, you can begin to decide where these things would best be stored.
- Now that you’ve got your organized sections, it’s time to determine how much and what style of storage containers you’ll need. A pile of office supply items might need a drawer divider to go in a desk drawer. Important documents might need a small filing box. Several pairs of shoes might need shoe cubbies, or a hanging shoe organizer if in a closet. Make a list of all of the storage items you need (better yet, take photos with your phone to refer to while shopping) and head to the store to find your perfect solutions.
- The last step, of course, is the most fun. Time to put your carefully organized items into storage solutions chosen specifically for those items.
The most important thing you can do is take the whole process one step at a time. Something like a drawer can easily be organized in a day. But something like a whole room, depending on how much clutter it contains, could take several days. Setting realistic expectations is important for keeping the process stress-free.
Have you ever experienced using a computer that had too many browsers open, too many programs running, or maybe even a virus? The result of any of those circumstances includes many unnecessary and unfortunate side effects: the computer will work much slower, it may malfunction, and it can even shut down unexpectedly, causing you to lose progress on your work. Sometimes we just need to close everything and reboot the computer in order for it to function at its highest capacity.
It turns out that the environment in which we live and work is very similar: unfinished projects (everything from unfolded laundry and unwashed dishes to cluttered desks and overflowing trash cans) are like those open programs running in the background on your computer. They slow you down throughout the day, taking valuable attention from the things you really want to focus on. Every time you see those dishes or laundry, it saps your energy just a little bit, as you remind yourself yet again, “Ugh. I still need to get to that.”
Not to mention the fact that as these tasks remain unfinished, they can be a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. And getting sick will certainly slow you down even further.
Studies have shown that a cluttered work or living space hampers productivity. Sometimes we just need to take a few hours and “reboot” our space. As you complete each task that’s been sitting in the background, it’s like you’re closing all of those programs running in the background on your computer. As you take the last steps and dust or disinfect the space, you’re protecting yourself and those around you from getting sick, just as you would protect your computer from viruses.
Just a few hours can make a huge difference. Set some time aside for a “reboot”. When you’re ready to get started, simply look around and dive into all of the things that need attention:
- Fold and put away blankets and throw pillows and make the beds
- Run the dishwasher and put all dishes away
- Go through anything that’s been piling up: mail, papers, etc., and sort through it.
- Wipe down and dust all surfaces
- Get rid of anything you no longer use or need
- Clean all laundry, fold, and put it away
- Clean bathrooms
- Take out trash and recycling
- Clean floors and windows
If you don’t have the time to do all of this yourself, give us a call at Home Services Enterprise today for all your cleaning needs at (301) 674-9564. We service the Metropolitan area including DC, Rockville, Bethesda, Gaithersburg and surrounding areas.