Give everything a home.
Organize your attitude #18
You can’t EHAP if things don’t actually have a home.
As we start making plans for what to do over summer break, don’t merely add “declutter” to your list. Add “give things homes” to your list instead.
Yes, we do need to get rid of junk we don’t need or use. But how do we know how much to declutter? How do we know when we’re done?
The answer comes from evaluating the space we have, evaluating what we use and how often, and giving each item in our house a real place to belong. It’s a long process, and one that needs to be repeated as more stuff comes in and goes out and life changes. But it’s the true, practical step in real “organizing” – not labeling or buying new containers, but simply making a conscious decision about what goes where.
Here are three steps to work through as you give things a home.
1. Create a plot and systematically work through it.
Start with the most-used areas of your home and systematically go through the storage and holding places, one by one.
It might take a year or even two to make it through the entire house, but you will be steadily seeing progress and building the habit of “homing” things as you go.
It’s worth the effort and time!
2. Empty the storage places, shelf by shelf.
When you start organizing an area, empty the space, one shelf or one section at a time. Then only put back on the shelf what will belong there. Label the shelf if you want, but more importantly, do not put anything back in the space “temporarily” until you figure out where it should go.
As you are moving through your house giving things homes, declutter by getting rid of the things you don’t need or don’t use. When you must make a “home” decision for each item, handling it and being deliberate, you will make better decisions about what to keep and where to keep it.
3. Designate a temporary catch-all place as you work through the house.
Of course, you do need a temporary home for random bits as you work through. Choose a bin and add the random things you need to postpone decisions about into it. As you work through your home systematically, what room is last on the list? Store your random bit bins there.
Yes, it will be a doozy of a room to work through when you get to it, but by that time you will have experienced the calm that comes from having a home for everything and your motivation will increase. You will also have a better idea for what spaces you have left, whether or not you actually need or want the thing, and how storage best works for you and your house.
A little time and space allows us to make better decisions about those peripheral items.
It’s worth the time to make homes for all the things.
It makes tidying up simple. It makes sanity and calm possible.
This summer, go through your house and give every item a real home.