For weeks in the spring you dusted shelves, scrubbed sinks, and polished floors to a sparkling shine – and it shows. Yet, no matter how much cleaning solution you spray around your home, no matter how many sponges you use to pulp, your home won’t feel light and free until you get organized.
Just after cold, dark winter, spring is the ideal season for cleaning dirt and grime, but summer is superior for tidying and organizing. In most places, you are forced indoors in June, July, and August due to heat and humidity, so you’ll have plenty of time to sift through closets and drawers and create systems to keep everything in their place. If you are ready to wrap up spring cleaning and start summer tidying, here are a few helpful tips.
Get Everything out
You can’t organize if you don’t know what you have. To begin your tidying crusade, you must start by pulling every item out of every hidey hole, so you better understand what you must work with. Because doing this is a major chore, it is best to confine your efforts to one room at a time. Though it disagrees with the famous KonMari Method, going room by room is an easier and more efficient way to contain your mess and ensure ultimate organization. Plus, it means you won’t accidentally put things that belong in your kitchen into your bathroom.
It is best to start with your messiest room – which is probably your garage. Taking advantage of the gorgeous summer weather, you can bring everything tucked into the dark corners of your garage into the light and space of your yard. From there, you can see what you had stashed away, and you can make informed and important tidying decisions.
Combine Like With Like
Either as you are removing items or after you can survey what you have to work with, you should start moving things into groups. Separating your belongings into different categories gives you an even better picture of what items you need to tidy and organize, so you can begin developing a plan for purging and replacing what you will keep.
If we stick with the garage example, you might try to form these distinct groups:
- Tools and equipment
- Recreation gear
- Holiday decorations
- Seasonal clothing
Depending on what you are storing in your garage, you might have other categories, but these are typical essentials for the average garage.
Purge Baby Purge
Purging is the hardest part – but with the right mindset, it can also be the most fun part. Getting rid of stuff is difficult at first, but once you get a taste for the space and freedom purging affords, you might find it difficult to stop. The best way to start your purge is to further separate your belongings into three piles: keep, give away, and throw away. Obviously, you will keep the items you place in the first pile; these should be items you use regularly or items that bring you unique joy. You can give away items that are functional or valuable, and you can toss stuff that no one has any use for.
Though the garage is a first-choice storage space for some items – like tools – usually, things get relegated to the garage when they no longer serve a purpose in your house. Thus, purging is of utmost importance in this room. However, it is important to remember that you can probably give away more stuff from your garage than you expect; for example, some charities eagerly accept boat donations, regardless of the condition of the watercraft. Donating big items like your old boat will create enormous amounts of space – not to mention cut your expenses dramatically.
Label Like You Mean It
Once you have pared your belongings down to a manageable amount, you can start organizing. A professional strategy might be to draw up a blueprint of your room, marking where and how you will store different categories of stuff. Often, this means purchasing organizing tools, like cabinets, baskets, boxes, and the like. Any time you hide your belongings inside a container, you must label that container and perhaps provide a detailed list of its contents.
Storage in garages is usually in desperate need of labels. While you are repacking, it is easy to take a marker and jot down what is where. Then, when you begin searching for autumn decorations in a few months, you can pull down the right boxes on your first try. In other rooms, you can use more aesthetically pleasing labels; there are hundreds of templates available for free online.