Organizing and Decluttering

storingMore than one way to stash away

Finding a way to store items not in season can be a dilemma – especially when there are many “things” and seasons for which to store items. Especially frustrating is the problem of knowing you have an item, but not knowing where it is stored. Therefore, it can’t be easily retrieved. That’s when organizing your stuff is a game-changer.

I’m not the best at getting rid of stuff, but I have found a way to organize my stuff. It was a process, and I learned by trial and error. I still need to get rid of stuff, but for the most part, I know where it is hidden.

Here are the tips I accumulated over the years of raising a half-dozen kids and being married to a sometimes hoarder. Tweek them for your family and storage space. Make it work for you. Do your own organizing, and do it your way.

Declutter

In the Bedroom

We had six kids in ten years, and we re-used clothing.  Closets were small, so seasonal clothes had to be stored. If you’re not using it now, pack it away, but know where you put it! That’s part of organizing!

Out of Size and Out of Season clothing. Use storage containers – moisture and mouse proof! For storage under beds,  purchase long containers that fit under beds, preferably those with wheels. For storage in an out-building, garage, or attic, use hefty containers that can be stacked and easily transported.

Finding What is Stored.  Label containers by numbers or by letters, and not by content. It’s easier for someone to look for Box J than “boys clothing size 6-12 months”. Plus, storing containers by letter order makes it a breeze finding a particular box.

Master Key. Make a master key of containers and contents. Using letters is easier than making new labels at each season change or crossing out words on a container and writing the latest content. It’s also neater and easier on the eyes!

Storage Locations. For multiple storage locations, include where containers are stored (i.e., the attic, the garage, under-the-eaves, etc.) It’s better to group them together: A-E in the attic, F-J in the garage, etc.

My kids are grown and gone, but I still use this method for storing seasonal and nostalgic items. I’m still working at organizing because it’s easy for me to think I’ll-take-care-of-this-later and later never comes.

Decluttering and Storing Decorations

We own 75 Christmas houses because of my hubby. 😉 [Yes, we do. Bought on clearance, of course.] The bottom of each house and its box is numbered with a bold marker. Numbers 1-20 (blue boxes) go to the living room.  Those numbered 21-40 (red boxes) go to the dining room. Numbers 41-60 are miscellaneous for bedrooms and hallways. When it’s time to pack up the boxes, we look at numbers instead of pictures of houses on the boxes. We store them by colors, which includes keeping the right numbers together.

For seasonal decorations, use this method: Valentine containers  labeled #14; Christmas, #25. St. Patrick’s, #17.  Income Tax? #15. When I sent my kids to the attic for Christmas decorations, they knew to bring down everything with the number 25 on it (stored in the same section, but this kept boxes from being missed).

Winter or summer clothing can be labeled the same way. Use a W for winter and S for summer – or come up with your own lettering. The key is organizing in a way that works for you. Find a way that’s easy to remember.  It will be a cinch to send kids or hubby for a container in the attic rather than going yourself. Maintain it consistently and you’ll find it an easy recall.

The master is the key!

The key, of course, is not to lose your Master Key! Store it on your computer; make copies and put one in your files. Keep a copy on your cell phone. Post it inside the doors or closets where containers are kept. If you know the costumes you want are in a certain spot, just go to that room and look at the Master Key inside the door. Send an email to yourself with an attached file of your Master Key. It will hang there in cyber space for you for as long as you need it. Then store it in your email folders.

Win-Win

Organizing by using letters and numbers saved my sanity when my kids were small. Streamlining storage saves time and energy.

Storing by numbers or letters is a win-win for everyone!

organizing

This information in this blog was first posted by Amber Fox at Blue Eyed Chica Designs. She has great organization ideas. Be sure to check out her blog!

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