Wednesday, September 10, 2008

An Organized Home: Step 1

This is the second in my series on organizing the home. Go here for the first entry, my introduction to the series.

Baby Steps to an Organized Home:

Clean Out

Our main problem is we usually have too much stuff.

Whether it’s your entire home that is in disarray, or just one drawer or cupboard that needs some work, the process is the same. I will show you how I do it if you would like to come with me as I work around my own (real) home.

Choose your spot. You might want to start small, perhaps a drawer or a kitchen cupboard, to learn the process. On the other hand, you might like to jump right in to the worst spot in your home. Success there will probably energize you to keep going, and you will also realize that once the worst is over, nothing else will be as bad.
Greta and I chose the cupboard under the sink in the hall bathroom.

Go to your chosen spot with a trash bag in hand, open it wide, and look at it with your neighbor’s eyes. Or your mother’s. Whatever eyes you borrow, just get the idea of what your stuff looks like from the perspective of someone else . What is wrong with the spot? Is it too full? Too cluttered with stuff that shouldn’t be stored there? Is it mostly junk? I my opinion, junk is the same as trash. Evaluate your spot carefully.

This cupboard is the only storage in our hall bathroom, and it needs to hold teenage toiletries, paper goods, and cleaning supplies. At one time, I had designated a set of small plastic drawers for each child, as well as a plastic box for cleaning supplies and paper goods. Over time, the girls had outgrown their small drawers so the area became too cluttered and disorganized. You can see in the photo that tucked behind the bath tissue and sitting on top of the cleaning sprays is a sack of new hair and skin care products.

Once you make your decisions, it is fairly easy to pull out the junk and start throwing things away. Be serious about it and dig deep. The reason you are doing this is to clean out. Pull everything out onto the floor if you want. You might need to make a bigger mess temporarily in order to clean it up completely, but that's ok. Remember the point is to get rid of clutter, not store it, so look carefully in the depths to be sure you really need everything in there.
Our junk includes empty bottles, a dirty toothbrush, an old tub stopper, several empty plastic bags, and a very dirty shower cap. It is all trash.

While everything is out, wipe, scrub, or vacuum the space.

Come back tomorrow for step 2 of this series. In the meantime, take your trash bag(s) to the trash.

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