Today I wanna talk about the one thing everyone loves to do ... CLEAN! Lol jk if you're anything like me you can find getting organized and decluttering super overwhelming. I feel like even if I get a handle on one thing, something else just starts to take over, like clothing, papers, knick-knacks or even digital clutter. Today I wanna share my step-by-step guide of how I take a step back and get my life organized.
1. Make Lists
I swear I literally don't have room in my brain to keep track of all the things I want to do lol. That is why my to-do list is literally my lifeline. I write down everything, which is something I get from my grandma on my mom's side for sure. She leaves notes to herself all around her house, sometimes written on paper towels!! She cracks me up! I'm not one to make lists on my phone, unless it's jut before bed and I don't have my notepad near me. There is just something so satisfying about physically crossing out things on your list, which makes me feel like I've accomplished what I need to get done. Make a list of all the things you need to organize, just so you don't forget about them and to just help you declutter your brain! It sounds silly, but getting it down on paper can make things feel more doable and take some of the stress off of what you are thinking about.
2. One thing at a time
This is super important. I used to take my list of things to do and start one thing and then jump around and start everything else before actually completing a task. This can contribute to that overwhelming feeling of "THERE"S SO MUCH TO DO," which is never a fun thing to deal with. Make your list, prioritize, and start and finish one thing at a time.
3. Separate items into piles
No matter what I'm organizing, I always make piles and strategize what I'm going to do with them before putting things back. For example, with clothing this could mean taking everything out of your closet and drawers, and creating a space for what you want to do with them. You'll create several piles: keep, donate, sell, throw away/recycle. Be very selective with your keep pile, think to yourself "have I used this item in the last year?" If you haven't, it's probably time to give it a new home.
There's obvious exceptions to this rule with sentimental items, but do your best to give yourself a number of "allowances" to break that one year rule. Maybe your number is 10 pieces, maybe it's less.
Anything that you find with a irreversible stain or a hole, toss/recycle. Some towns have a place to recycle used clothing for the fabric so do some research to see what's in your area.
Next, take out items that you know you don't want but are still wearable and that you probably wouldn't be able to sell, and put them in the donate pile. Make sure that these items are still looking decent, as it would be pointless to try and donate something that has a bunch of stains and holes on it.
Try and sell the items you have set aside as having value first, that way if items don't sell after a reasonable period of time, you can donate those as well. When it comes to selling my clothing, my go-to's are Plato's Closet, Poshmark, Ebay, and local consignment shops. All are hit or miss, but with some effort and a few trips you can make some money back.
For donating clothing, I usually use Goodwill or the Salvation Army. I love Goodwill because they support individuals with disabilities, providing meaningful jobs and the opportunity for growth. This is a cause I'm very passionate about, which is why I shop there a lot as well! Another idea for donating clothing is bringing them to a local shelter. Many shelter's only take clothing with tags still on it, so look into the guidelines on their website or call before you bring your clothing.
Now, whatever has survived this purge, you can organize (I color-code because I'm a loser like that) and put back away. You'll feel much more refreshed and will get a lot more out of your closet than you did when it was overcrowded. This strategy can be applied to almost anything you are trying to organize, just adapting the piles to your needs.
4. Organize often
Rather than dreading it and only putting the effort in twice a year, try and do mini-organizing sessions at least once a month so what you have to accomplish is less overwhelming. This will make you feel much better about the things that you own, and will in turn make you appreciate that maybe you don't actually "need" that blue tank top the next time you're at the store, since you just got rid of something similar that you never wore. The items you hold on to will be much more useful to you, and you won't be as wasteful.
5. Learn to say no
Sometimes, you can be roped into taking things that a family member or friend doesn't want anymore, or get stuck with freebies you got at an event that you'll never actually use. They might be trying to help you out, but if you really don't think you'll have a use for the item it's okay to say no! This is something I've definitely been trying to do more of lately, just because I find so many knick-knacks or freebies like rubber bracelets, string bags, and T-shirts piling up after a while. If you just say no thank you right away, it won't be a part of your clutter in a month and you won't have to go through the guilt of throwing it out or never using it.
Do you have any tips that help you stay organized? I hope you found these tips useful as these are things I've learned throughout the MANY times I've moved in the last few years. I think living abroad for four months helped me realize how few "things" you truly need to live a happy and fulfilling life since I just had two suitcases and a carry-on to live with. Obviously I'm far from perfect and still accumulate things I don't need over time. Plus my love for fashion and clothing definitely doesn't make me a "minimalist," but I do try to be much more strategic and purposeful when shopping now. Thanks for reading, let me know what you think below!