Being confined to your home during the COVID-19 outbreak isn’t fun, but you can make the most of your time by being productive. Start with clearing out your clutter. Organization expert Ashley Gude provides a number of suggestions for individuals who are cleaning out and organizing their homes (or a loved one’s home).
The Nitty Gritty
When it comes to the process of decluttering, Ashley recommends that whatever space is being decluttered be cleared out and dismantled. If a client is organizing the garage, Ashley has them remove everything so the garage is a clean slate.
She then recommends that like items be grouped together. In the garage example, there would be separate groupings for car care items, gardening tools, flower pots, sporting goods, chemicals, etc. Once everything has been sorted, Ashley says it is pretty easy to see what needs to be purged or relocated. If kids’ bike gear has gotten in with gardening tools, the bike gear should be moved to the pile of like items. Ashley says once everything is grouped, clients can see how many gardening gloves or weed sprays they have. At this point, clients can decide what to keep based on what items are their favorites or most functional.
Once the space is empty, Ashley recommends it be cleaned. After a thorough cleaning is complete, items can be organized in a way that makes sense. For example, items that are used all the time should be at eye level, while items that are only needed once a year should go higher or lower depending on what the item is. Infrequently used chemicals in the garage should be placed up high so children and animals can’t get to them.
When to Call in the Expert
How does a person know when to call in the services of an expert for decluttering and home organization? Ashley says if a person has tried to declutter before and didn’t complete the process, didn’t like how it turned out, or can’t keep the space from getting messy and decluttered, it is probably beneficial to call in outside help. Deaths and divorce are two other situations where objective, neutral, professional help may be needed.
“An organizer is supposed to transfer their skillset to you,” Ashley says. By asking questions, organizers can help clients think about which items they use, love, and should keep. The hope is that once a client has cleared one space with the help of a professional organizer, he or she will be able to do other spaces on their own.
The Storage Trap
In a rush to organize, people sometimes purchase various shapes and sizes of storage containers to hold their items, thinking that these containers will result in less clutter.
Some people have even rented storage units to hold furniture, clothing, and/or sentimental items while they figure out what to do with them. While there may be cases when a storage unit is necessary, Ashley Gude recommends putting a time frame on using one.
“Clutter is ‘delayed decisions, and storage units house those delayed decisions,’” Ashley says. And a cute fabric bin of unused and unwanted items is still a bin of stuff that is taking up space, energy, and time.