Here is that de-cluttering system I was touting as the next best thing to sliced bread. (Speaking of bread, do you have your bread in a breadbox or in bags all over the counter?)
According to Mrs. Deniece Schofield, the organized homemaker, there are 6 basic rules of organization that apply in many circumstances (and some of these are great rules to abide by in human relationships), and not just when you are trying to tame the lion of messiness. These four are: 1) Think before you act; 2) Discard and sort; 3) Group; 4) Be motion minded; 5) Practice preventive maintenance; and 6) Use your accrued benefits (more on this one at another time).
Industrial and motion experts have estimated that workers are only 50 to 70% as efficient as they could be. Why, you wonder? Simply because they act before they think. Some people think that the time they spend planning could have already been used to get the thing they are trying to do done. If you are like this, can you think of a time(s) when you just went off and did something only to find yourself redoing it because what you did didn’t work out? I know I have. To me it is worth my time to think about what I am going to do and how to best do it. This has saved me a number of times from going back to the store for something I missed to tearing apart what was done and doing it the smart way. A person definitely does not save time (nor energy nor frustration) going about something without planning. (I can’t say I have become perfect at it, but I’ve gotten a lot better since taking the organization class and reading the Organized Homemaker’s wonderful book.)
Now here is the simple but effective way to clear up/out clutter. Determine what function each specific area of your house is going to serve. Do you really want electric saws and fishing gear decorating your bedroom? Ouch! Then work in 1 area at a time. Keep 3 boxes or dishpans in the area along with one large trash can. Our expert calls this the “four container method.”
I don’t like things being out of place once they are done being used. So as I go about straightening the house when I find something in the wrong room I immediately pick it up and return it to where it belongs. I usually try to return 2-3 items a time. Seriously, a waste of time on my part running back and forth. Well, hello Box #1! This box is meant to hold everything that belongs in another room. Sure saves time with the running back and forth. You can just take a friendly stroll replacing things directly from the basket to the area where they belong, and voila! you are done with that little chore.
Box number two is for those items that you want to give away or sell. Just be sure you get those donated items to the right destination in a minimum of time. If you have determined to sell the items, not a bad idea for a little extra cash, get to the swap meet or have that yard sale soon. What’s the point of de-cluttering if you are only going to have those items sitting around ad infinitum?
Box number three is for those things you aren’t sure what you are going to do with them. Should it stay or should it go now? Just make sure that you’re unsure box isn’t overflowing and you are keeping more things than you have gotten rid of.
Trash can – obvious. Perfect receptacle for the broken comb, last night’s candy bar wrapper, pantyhose with giant runs, etc. You get the idea.
The goal is not to just move things from one pile to another, but actually do something with the piles. And don’t forget the “year rule.” If you haven’t used it in a year or in two years maximum you most likely aren’t going to use it. Get rid of it. My instructor, Senor Acosta, was adamant about the year rule. I’ll be generous and give you a bit longer time.
I know that sentimentality makes things hard to give away. I am not saying part w/ everything. For example, several years ago a coworker who knows I am a chocoholic gave me the cutest little fondue set with a tea light to melt the chocolate, 4 dessert plates, and little tongs for Christmas. I had meant to use that a million and one times, but never did. So I donated it to our church thrift store. I haven’t seen that coworker in just about as many years so there was no point in me holding on to it. It can be done.
Trust me. You will feel so much better when you get rid of some of the excess. Your home will be neater and more comfortable to be in. You won’t be afraid to have visitors over. You will possibly make yourself some extra cash or at least bring a little joy into your life by giving your goods to someone in need. The added boon is you won’t have to polish it, clean it, dust it, etc. With all the pros involved what are you waiting for?
My partner in crime and administrator of our blog and I have come up with a tiny little column that offers quick and simple tips and advice. We decided to call it “Sugar and Spice Advice” after the name of our really fledgling handmade business. Please feel free to give us your tips as well. We do love to hear from our readers. We’d also appreciate it if you would share our blog with your friends and family. Muchisimas gracias!
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