If you are an impulse shopper like me and get your high off of a good retail therapy session, you understand the pile method. Piles on top of dressers, on top of shelves, in the cabinets, in the bathroom, EVERYWHERE!
It’s not that you don’t know where everything is. In fact, you have a good map laid out in your head of exactly where everything is. Except for one thing…a map to GET to each thing! If you need something on the bottom of the pile, well… you can forget it. You don’t need it that badly in the moment right?
I was this way growing up. My room would turn into a disaster zone in a matter of just a couple of days! Then, once I would see the pig sty that my room had become, BOOM! I became this insane sorceress of cleanliness and organization! You know? That moment when you hit your breaking point and you have to clean and tidy up EVERYTHING and you spend the ENTIRE day doing it! You almost feel like you just went through a complete binge of a certain TV show that you spent all day watching, except with a little more satisfaction afterward.
And now that you feel that satisfaction, you don’t feel any need to do any more chores for the day. You tackled one room and that was PLENTY! You deserve the divine right to TAKE a BREAK! You worked hard and now there is nothing that can get you down.
What is that…
You glance over at your entry way table.
The drop zone.
The catch all.
The rat’s nest of a pile.
It’s been what…a few weeks since you’ve cleaned off that table and actually gone through all of the stuff you throw down once you walk through the door? That happened to me once. I actually missed my due date to go and get my license renewed because I dropped the letter from the Secretary of State down, lost it in a pile, and found it two weeks later…
You heave a great sigh… Well… I guess it’s back to the grime!
NO NO NO! It does not have to be this way.
First things first. Make a checklist (ha!) of all of the rooms (including closets, pantries, etc.) in the house. You are going to focus all of your energy on one room at a time. This way you do not get burnt out and feel like an underachiever. (This happens to me still quite frequently.)
I recommend only doing one or two rooms per night during the week if you have the time. After you have finished those, consider yourself done for the night. You’ve earned a break!
So what do we do with these rooms? We make piles! WHAT?!
These piles are your donate, sell, storage, and keep piles. We will get on donating and selling in another post, but right now we are focusing on decluttering those rooms and closets!
Your STORAGE pile is all of the stuff that you want to keep but know you don’t get into all of the time. Decorations, knick knacks you have no space for right now, old high school yearbooks, etc. These belong in storage. Unless you have unlimited amounts of shelf space for these things to be displayed on.
Your KEEP pile is the one that has all of the stuff that is going to stay where it is. These are the things that you get into on a regular basis. For example, I have seen so many posts about turning the hangers in your closet the opposite way and once you wear something turn it the other way so that way you can keep track of what you wear and don’t wear. After a while you will notice the pieces of clothing that you don’t wear anymore and you can get rid of those. So if you feel like that would be a good method for you then as you go through your closet, remove the clothes that you ABSOLUTELY know that you don’t want anymore, and then do the hanger system for about 6-9 months. That way you give yourself some time to wear your clothes for real.
Another example would be in your bathroom. I just went through our bathroom stuff not too long ago and was amazed at everything that I purged! Go through one section at a time, again so you don’t get burnt out, and really be honest with yourself. This eye-liner is my favorite, but it’s dry and empty! Well I can just fill it with Vitamin E oil, swish it around and make it stretch just a little bit longer!
Let it rest it piece and go get yourself some new eye-liner.
I had to be really honest with myself when I was going through my makeup. “I could probably find some use for this bright blue eye shadow and sparkly purple eye-liner right?”
Also go through under your sink and all of your storage space in your bathroom. If you have an excessive amount of travel sized soaps and shampoos, but haven’t opened one in over a year, it’s probably time to throw them away. Or even gift them to a friend going to college if they’re still good! But they do not belong in your bathroom. I know you think you are saving money by taking every free thing under the sun from the hotel you just visited, but unless you are a real camper and use this stuff on a regular basis throughout the year, travel sized toiletries should not consume space in your bathroom.
Next will be your pantry. I hated this part because I felt like such a failure as a wife! I should be good at keeping track of our food and making sure we’re using everything efficiently, right?
Hey, I’m getting better. I have to remind myself to keep it up and give myself a pat on the back for at least doing something to better myself.
Your pantry is the nucleus of your kitchen. This is where all of your staples, canned foods, etc. live. What you will do in your pantry is first… purge. If it has an expiration date, throw it out. If it is a canned food sometimes it can be salvageable, but that’s on your own risk if you want to keep it. Just make sure you use it right away. Next, once you are done purging of all of the expired foods, take a look at how much of each thing you have. If you have 15 cans of cream of mushroom soup in your pantry, odds are you are not going to get through them very quickly. Someone else could most likely use those better than you could. Make another pile for foods that you can give to a food drive and help out people in need.
Other areas of your house to purge are your entry way, living room, bedrooms etc. REALLY be honest with yourself about each thing that you pick up. Ask yourself these questions…
Will I use it?
Why am I keeping it?
Who gave it to me and what was the intention?
Who could use it better?
I just weeded through all of my craft supplies recently and decided to put quite a bit of it in storage because I will not use it right away. I had to be honest with myself and say that I just have too much on my plate right this second to be doing crafts, but I will probably have more time on my hands later this year when my babies are a little bit older and don’t need to eat every few hours.
In your living room, go through your movies, games, techy stuff (remotes, headphones, etc.) and make your piles! No, you do not need to have 5 pairs of earphones. If you have a lone remote that doesn’t go to anything or phones that don’t work, take it to Best Buy or a local tech store that recycles their equipment. I’ve done this with many things that either died on us or didn’t go to anything.
Now remember, you are only working on one or two rooms a night until you get through your whole house. I know you might be getting excited because you are making progress, but pace yourself. There is a lot of work to be done still!
Once you are done with your purge, start designating areas. Make a special landing spot for your things when you walk through the door coming home from work/school. We have a bowl for our keys right now, and I just hung up a mail catcher/cork board next to our door as well so now we don’t have to set mail down in odd places. Maybe find a sectioned off catcher that has compartments for sunglasses, keys, phones, etc.
Another designated area to make (I recommend) is a recycle bin. We use a three piece laundry hamper for ours! One is for bottles and cans, one is for plastic, and another is for paper. You will be surprised at how much stuff we just throw away that is bad for our planet! Just dump as you go about in your kitchen and it saves you trash bags! If you make a recycle spot in or by your kitchen, or even in your garage, this will be a huge step, not only for you, but for our lovely Earth! What steps you can do is first, research recycle drop off areas near you.
If you live on the West side of Lansing, here is a good drop off site for you. Also research what items are accepted at the recycle zone. The Delta Township list is here for anyone who needs it. They are very specific one what items they do and do not accept. For example, all plastics have numbers on the bottom, and some plants only accept #7-25. Many vary, but it is worth it to do your homework! Cardboard cereal boxes, pasta, boxes, fruit cups, milk cartons, all sorts of items you wouldn’t think twice about are recyclable!
Well, now that I have overloaded you with all sorts of information and (hopefully) inspiration about decluttering and purging through your house, I hope you get to it! I will be blogging about donating and selling next, but for now, if you are not the type to regularly go through your things, do it now!
Take control of your life one step at a time!