The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Sharon at Mom of 6.
Almost two years ago, I was intrigued by a post I had seen here on Org Junkie announcing the 29 Day Organizational Challenge. 2012 was a Leap Year, so Laura came up with the idea of motivating her readers to declutter and organize an area of their house- in just 29 days. I decided that this was the opportunity and the motivation that I needed to finally conquer my basement!
Because it was bad! We had used it as our personal dumping ground for almost 12 years.
I created a plan of how I could spend just an hour or so a day working on decluttering and then organizing this space (following Laura’s PROCESS method!)…. and truly- I was SO proud of how it turned out:
There was days after the kids left for school that I would just wander downstairs… to look at it!
I mean heck….. we had a floor again!
And then, as 2 years went by…. this happened:
Shameful? Yes. But honestly…. not nearly as bad as it was before.
And not so out of control that I couldn’t pull it back together by dedicating one week and just an hour or so a day to get it back to an organized shape again. And while I was a bit mad at myself that I allowed this to happen- I also have to make peace with how this happens. We buy new stuff and fail to get rid of the old stuff we are replacing. We are busy and we fail to put something away in the right place. We purchase supplies for a new hobby (or in our case to help us stay organized on a road trip), and then we fail to create a neat and organized home for these new things. There are reasons, people. We just can’t allow reasons to become excuses… So here’s how to Get an Organized Space Back into Shape- and Maintain It!
Step #1: Schedule Your Donation
Before I started sorting even one item, I went online to schedule my donation pick up (my favorite sites are GoodDonor and PickUpPlease). Boom! The deadline has now been established- and I know they are on their way in just 4 short days! Time to get busy….
Step 2: Identify Easy-Outs!
There were plenty of candidates that I could spy right off the bat that I knew we wanted to donate or even to trash/recycle. Toys and dollhouse that we had outgrown? Donate (we kept them around for a few months after the girls said they were done, just in case they changes their minds!). School science project boards from 2 years ago? Recycled. Shoeboxes we over-saved again)? Recycled. Craft kits that were 95% completed? Trashed. It only took me 2 hours to pull out the obvious items that needed to leave our basement.
Step 3: Re-Work the Space to Fit Your Current Needs
Since I had done the major over-haul to our basement 2 years ago, it still had a good “organizing structure”- a place for storage items, home decor, camping supplies, furniture and pictures not is use upstairs, and off-season shoes and boots. But I needed to do a little re-working to create a home for all of our newly acquired road-tripping bins, as well as re-work the furniture area to fit in some things we had removed from the kids bedrooms. This took another 2 hours.
Step 4: Now Declutter and Organize each Area
Now that you’ve got things mostly in the right place- it’s time to go through each area, touch each item and ask yourself:
“Do I use it, want it, need it, or love it? AND is there room here to store it?”
This will allow you to remove some of those extra items that maybe you really don’t need to keep around anymore- and give you enough working space to organize the things that you do. This step took me about 4 hours to complete.
Step 5: Step Back and Admire Your Work- Again!
It is gratifying to know that even when you let an organized space “go” for a bit- that you can quickly and fairly painlessly pull it back in order rather quickly.
Which makes it a little easier for you to forgive yourself! If any of you remember that Laura and I also worked together on the Great Garage Challenge in May 2012, I am sharing some photos on Momof6 today of how I recently re-organized and decluttered my garage as well!
If you get a chance, I hope you’ll stop by to see me at Momof6 – a place where I write about organizing your home, using a family calendar, creating household routines, hosting at-home birthday parties, and holding a DIY summer camp! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter (@sharonmomof6), and Pinterest!