1) Set a date and stick it. Do it now because sometime “later” becomes “never”. Before you even you start organizing your book shelves, closet or kitchen cabinets you need to do a major “clean out”. And it’s even smarter to map out where you plan to take the items you are getting rid of, for instance, are you making a church donation, a thrift store donation or going to a Salvation Army collection site. Schedule and plan your day entirely on this event. Start in the morning when you’re fresh and have the most energy and psyche yourself for the project ahead. Make it a ‘special’ event for you, no help from friends or family, not distractions at all, just you and your mess!
2) Dump it all out. You must lay out each item for you to evaluate. You must collect all like items together, for instance, all clothing piled together, purses together, shoes etc. Look in closets, under beds, basements, anywhere these items might possibly be. Don’t be surprised or horrified by the sheer amount of stuff that you have accumulated over the years!
3) After you have cleaned everything out of the space: cupboards, shelves or miscellaneous boxes, start sorting. You will need to make three separate piles; keep, donate and throw away. Start with sorting through clothing first, it tends to have the least sentimental value and one of the greatest impact on your organizing project. You get a bigger feel of accomplishment which encourages you to continue and conquer! Follow by sorting through your books, miscellaneous stuff (various wires, free samples etc.), papers and finally mementos.
4) Gather big, big, big garbage bags and toss, toss, toss! Pick up each item and ask yourself, “does this bring me joy?” If you answer yourself no, then it goes in the donate pile. This gives you the choice of keeping what you want and tossing what you don’t want.
5) Now is the time to develop a zero policy. There are some things you don’t even have to think about tossing, you just need to do it. Among these items, for instance, would be spare buttons (really, you are NOT ever going to use them), books you haven’t read (if you haven’t taken the time to read them by now, you probably won’t read them), gifts that you love but don’t use and any type of cord that you cannot identify.
6) Have a no mercy policy towards paperwork. In other words, throw them all away or more wisely, shred or have them shredded by a company that does that. There are exceptions, of course. Bills that are current (although you only need to keep for a limited time), tax receipts, and paperwork that you need to keep for longer time frames like rental or lease papers.
7) Edit your photo collections, and most people will need to do it a lot. This may be one of the most time consuming organizing task. That is why this should be done as one of the last projects. You will need to go through your pictures one by one, this includes removing pictures from photo albums and asking yourself, again, if these “make you happy.” Scenery photos that you can’t even place or even people you don’t recognize belong in the garbage. You should try to keep no more than approximately 5 prints total per day of your vacation trip.
8) Think about purchasing matching storage containers. When your closets or cabinets look good and organized, you are more inclined to keep your areas organized and not revert back to your old unorganized ways. You don’t have to spend tons of money buy elaborate containers. You can purchase plastic shoe boxes at the dollar stores, practically anywhere. If you need bigger plastic containers you can get those at any Target, hardware store or even Bed, Bath & Beyond. There are even large plastic bags where you vacuum out all the air. Great for storing seasonal clothing or any type of bedding