- Store everything in a box (if it will fit) and label it on three sides. Labels will let you find just what you’re looking for.
- Stack whatever you can. If everything is in a box, this will be easy.
- Skip the electronics. By the time you come back to reconsider that tv, stereo, etc, something better, cheaper and faster will be available. If you can’t use it right now or in the very definite future, donate it NOW.
- Plan for easy access. As you’re filling your space, think about what you’ll need to get to most often and store those things towards the front. What’s buried in the back should be deep storage that’s archives or belongings for your next living space.
- Be respectful. If it’s worth keeping, it’s something you care about and deserves to be packed and stored carefully and lovingly. Next time you open that box, you’ll be delighted rather than depressed and overwhelmed.
- Make a list. Take note of what you’ve stored and keep that list in your phone so you’ll know what’s there when you start to look for it.
- Be realistic. Things change. Our lives and circumstances change in ways we can’t predict. Check your storage space periodically and revisit whether or not you need to keep everything. If you haven’t thought about or missed anything in there for a year or more, you probably don’t need it.
In general, I’m opposed to keeping off-site storage spaces long term, but sometimes they’re necessary. To avoid what you see in the first photo, do a big favor for your future self and follow these simple suggestions:
When our toilet stopped working properly because of mineral build-up, we replaced it with a new dual-flush model. I know this isn't exactly organizing, but the feeling of satisfaction is similar. Small projects like these can make a big difference in how you experience and enjoy your home. Even better, Marin County offers a $100 rebate on new, water-saving toilets. Look here for details an other ways to earn rebates or check your local source for rebate info.
When it was time to rebuild the front deck at my house, I knew I'd appreciate it much more if I cleared out the overgrown garden area. I confess, I'm no gardener. It had been neglected for years. It took a few hours, but wow, what a difference! Now, what does a non-gardener do with a nice garden plot?
Even though I don’t make formal New Years resolutions, I can’t help but think about how I want the new year to be different and better. What are you thinking about? How is this year going to be better than every year before? Tell me if any of these make you think, “That’s me!”
Whether you get help or do it on your own, I know you can make it happen. Just take the first step.
1. I’m going to clear off my desk, purge my files, and make my office a pleasant place to work again. I know it’s overwhelming, but just bite off the smallest portion possible. Usually, sorting through papers and getting rid of everything you know can go straight into the recycling bin is a great place to start. It’s quick and easy and leaves you with a much smaller pile to deal with.
2. I’m going to tame that closet that makes me fear an avalanche every time I open it. You might want a buddy for this one and a block of time. I recommend pulling everything out so you can see what you’ve got and start with a clean slate putting the keepers back in.
3. I’m going to clear out the garage, getting rid of all that stuff I don’t need, so I can find all the stuff I do. Schedule a time when you can fully commit to driving your cast-offs to a charity drop-off. Load up as much as you can and drive it away that day. If you’ve got too much, some charities will pick up. You don’t have to be 100% thorough, which can bog you down and drag out. Just a down-and-dirty quick once-through will likely yield a good carload.
4. I’m going to make room in the kitchen so I can find everything and cook peacefully. This one can be easier since kitchens are already divided into cabinets and drawers. Starting with countertops can help clear your mind enough to take on what’s lurking behind cabinet doors.
5. I’m going to eat healthier foods. It seems everyone I talk to is concerned about this issue, and no one wants to give up their favorites. Unless your doctor has ordered you otherwise, I recommend making just one small change at a time. Eliminate one food that doesn’t serve you well or add another serving of veggies every day.
6. I’m going to work out regularly. I mean it this time! I’ve struggled with this one myself, and after years of feeling like a failure, I came to a realization: I hate the gym. I just needed to find another way to exercise. Pick something you actually enjoy doing and can maintain as a routine. Most of all, be realistic so you set yourself up for success!
See if you can find the fun in all this! Invite a friend over to help and cook her a nice meal afterwards. Pull your family together and celebrate together when you see what you’ve accomplished. If you need professional help, I’m ready to dive in and tackle the toughest spots you’ve got. Help is just a phone call or email away.
Amy is an entrepreneur, and has been a successful designer and business owner since 1996. With an architect father and interior designer mother, she's been thinking about how to make a home work all her life. As a child, she loved organizing her closet and found designing her dollhouse more appealing than playing with dolls. She went on to graduate from Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in industrial design. Due to the breadth of her design education, she’s able to assess a room as a whole and instinctively know how to make it work better. Evaluating the contents and functionality of a space is second nature to her.