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Ye of Little Space

Posted by SimplifyMe on June 1, 2012 in Decluttering, Organizing |

Storage space, or lack thereof, is always a problem. We think of space as being infinite (or the final frontier). But while outer space may be limitless, the space in your home and office is not.

The most crucial part of organizing is the ability to let go of some things. For some, this is easy, and they eliminate things from their space on a regular basis. I recently worked with a client who managed to fill up two big garbage cans and three donation bags in the span of 4 hours, so purging was no sweat for her! For others it is much more difficult. I had another client who had a story to tell about each item and needed some convincing to part with these items. We talked about how even if these things leave her home the memories of them would remain, but consume much less space than the physical items. For a segment of the population, letting go of possessions is impossible as anyone who has seen the show Hoarders knows. While the term ‘Hoarder’ has become commonplace, most people are not hoarders (trust me!). Hoarding is a rare psychological disorder. Most people don’t have this disorder and are just disorganized or busy, or both. So if you find yourself with too many clothes or books (or fly swatters) and not enough space, this blog for you!

#1 Purge:

– Go through your home/office and get rid of duplicates and anything you no longer use or need. I assure you that, unless you live in a place that has outlawed the purchase of staplers, you do not need to own more than one of them at a time.

– Keep a donation basket for things that haven’t been used in a while, and plan a monthly trip to the charity of your choice to drop off the items. I’m a big fan of Goodwill since the drop-off process is quick and easy, they have many donation centers, and they do a lot of good in the community (I volunteer for their Youth Services Programs, so I’m kinda biased).

– If you’re not sure you will need something “someday”, consider when the last time is that you used that item and consider the cost of keeping it vs. the cost of getting rid of it. I talked about the emotional costs of keeping unnecessary items in my “How To Love Organizing” blog, so I won’t give you the spiel again. Just know that the space an item takes up in your mind ‘costs’ more than possibly having to buy that item again later.

#2 Group Like Items:

– Things that naturally go together should be kept in the same location. For example, all camping equipment should be housed in one spot, so when you’re ready to go camping you don’t have to look all over to pull together the things you need (or get to your campsite and realize you forgot your sleeping bag…talk about roughing it!). Another example is cookware; all pots and pans should be together in one area. If your kitchen area is limited on space, find a spot where they will all fit, even if it’s not be the most logical spot, or get rid of some stuff. Some people put things out of sight that they don’t use very often. The saying “out of sight, out of mind” rings true. If you don’t use it enough that you need to have it easily accessible, how much do you really need it (discuss)?

#3 Give it Time to Take Hold:

– According to the UK Health Behaviore Research Centre (they’re British so they must be right!) it takes about 66 days for something to become a habit. That’s a long time! And if you’re trying to go from being a couch potato to a marathoner, it might take longer. But, if you’re trying to get in the habit of putting things back in a new place after you’ve reorganized and think the new place isn’t that great, give yourself some time to get used to the new location before you decide it’s not working for you. If you constantly move things around, you will have a much harder time remembering what goes where and always feel like you’re searching for things (so just chill out).

Organizing in a limited amount of space is about using the space you have in the best way. You want to make sure you can access the things you need easily. You want to have a mental map of where everything is, and you want to feel like everything is in its rightful spot. If you follow those easy steps, you will always feel like the amount of space you have is just right (Goldilocks). In order to make sure you’re making the best use of your space, consult with a Professional Organizer. We can help determine how to best use your existing space as well as recommend storage options to help maximize that space.

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