Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tips for decluttering and organizing.

If you remember my closet post, you probably have a pretty good idea that I'm not the most organized person out there.  I'm gearing up to move in the next two to three months and I would really love to get a head start on all the cleaning, packing and sorting.  I just about always have good intentions (don't we all?) but the minute I set foot inside of my room I get instantly overwhelmed.

One place I constantly struggle with is the top of my dresser.  It's my dumping ground for everything at the end of the day, but it's also the place where I have everything  I need to start my day.  The weekend before my trip my roommate went out of town.  I was finally so fed up with the mess that I pushed the contents of my dresser into a laundry basket and went through everything out in the living room.  I sorted into three piles.  Keep, throw, give away and as soon as I reached the bottom of the basket I grabbed the trash and the giveaway bags and walked them each to their respective destinations.  Talk about a serious feeling of accomplishment.  By the time I found everything in the keep pile a home, I was beyond burnt out.  Good for a weekend marathon, but not a method I can seriously sustain.

Before                                                                                           After
Everybody needs their own methods, but here are some resources to help you get started.

Personal "Honey-Do" lists.
My friend Danielle, over at Free at Heart, has this thing that she calls "Running on 80%".  It's when she is doing everything, but not all the way.  If you have a minute head over to her blog and read about her simple way to get it together.   

Pare Down on Clothes

Sort through clothes one category at a time.
For example, pull out all of your pants: trousers, capris, shorts, jeans, workout, Pj's.  When each is stacked into a category it will give you an honest visual of what you've been hiding.  Immediately throw away or give away anything that is worn out or doesn't fit.  A good rule for this is asking yourself if you would ever want your crush or your Ex to see you in it?  Mmhmm, am I right, or am I right?  After you decide what stays and what goes you then decide how many of each you need.  Do you really NEED 7 pairs of jeans or 10 pairs of sweats?  Probably not.  Work sweaters are always hard for me to cut down on, so I rank them in order of favorite to least.  The odds are even if I like the sweater I won't wear it because there are others that I like more.  So the bottom 2, 3, 4, etc. are immediately placed in the give away pile.  If it's hard for you to give clothes away try donating them to a friend or a family member who is in need, so you know they will go to a good home.  Or organize a clothing swap with friends so you can exchange a loved item for a new loved item. 

Getting Rid of Books
This is another fav. of mine from Danielle.  Most of the books I buy are $1 or $2 from Half Price Books.  Amazon is already flooded with those books and selling them back might net you whole whoppin' 50 cents.  Outdated text books might sell on Ebay, but it's not always worth the hassle of listing, packing and shipping.  Danielle's method is to simply donate her books through the library return slot.  Easy, peasy and out of your life forever.

The FLYLady
This is some serious stuff.  If you're someone who is completely disorganized, has no idea where to start and needs to be told what to do, this just might be the program for you.  Each day the FLYlady emails out a plan for the next day.  The things you need to do when you wake up, when you get home from work and before you go to bed.  She is all about starting slowly, changing habits and not feeling overwhelmed by any of the steps.  Best of all, her daily coaching can come straight to your inbox.

Here are some of my favorite tips from her.  
15 minutes a day - set a timer and pick up one dedicated room in your space.
2 minutes on a hot spot - devote two minutes to working on your biggest problem area
1 hour rule - If you're in for a cleaning marathon, only take out so much so that everything can be put away in an hour.  This is a big one for me.  I always want things done NOW, and when I take on too much it often looks worse than when I began.  ugh.   

If you have any other tips I would love to hear them.  Clutter is something I have always struggled with and I'm determined to lighten my load before my move. 

Happy Cleaning,

p.s. and since this is a blog about personal finance I have to add that cleaning is FREE entertainment.  F-R-E-E!  Bahahaha


  1. Ahhh, the thrill of cleaning!

  2. Awesome tips Snowball. I like the one about "...would you wear this in front of a crush or an ex?" And thanks for the shout out! :-)

  3. I thought I remember someone once telling me that I don't own my things, they own me. So true, so true. Love frugals von savingsworth in this photo.