Truth be told....I am a planner. The most fun in a job I ever had was when I was told to plan an event. I had no experience, no social clout (trust me...it is necessary) and no idea what I was doing....and yet I was an integral part of putting together the highest raising fundraiser the non-profit had ever held. It was so much fun and it put me in touch with a social side that I really never knew (outside my immediate friends) that I had. In a way it taught me a lot about how to plan and organize. However where the event left off....Pinterest picked up and ran with it.
Part of my previous problem in organizing not only my own hoard, the hoard of my children and the hoard of my late mother......was the not knowing where to start. In fact...if you watch any of the hoarding shows.....that is usually the problem with the hoarding victim. They have no idea where to begin. Well, that and they continue to add to the hoard. Now before you conjure visuals of me living in piles of trash with only smalls pathways to navigate through....no it was never that bad. However....for years, I had every closet and every drawer full to capacity and never until lately have I lived in a house that at least one room wasn't a dedicated junk room. It was the catch all room for anything I didn't know what to do with. This included new garage sale finds and the junk from other rooms that I really had no purpose for....but found difficult to get rid of.
I am almost positive that the downfall of many a hoarder is the "I am going to fix that up," notion. You know the notion I am talking about. The one where you find that beat up chair with the stuffing falling out, the springs sagging but in your vision.....with a little work and TLC it can actually be a beautiful addition to your home. Problem is....it stays a sagging, stuffingless mess in your junk room because either something else shiny and brimming with possibility has caught your eye or you simply never find the time to put your fixer upper skills into action. Also in that room are those pieces that you have absolutely no place to put them, but in time....you know they will be a lovely focal point in your house....as soon as you clear out the rest of your clutter. It can be a vicious cycle and if not careful....can spill over into the rest of your house. This sort of happened to me as I had drawers and closets full of stuff just thrown in them with no organization and no idea as how to begin sifting through it all.
Even after being organized right down to the last penny and the last balloon with my fundraiser....I still had difficulty carrying it over to my home. My desk at work was immaculate. Everything fundraiser related was carefully and meticulously put in organized binders. At the snap of my fingers I could find anything within seconds but back at home....I couldn't even find matching shoes. It made no sense. I had one co-worker say to me, "I bet your home is beyond clean." All I could think to say was...."You will never visit my home!" She just smiled not knowing if I was joking or insulting her. I was just protecting my image.
Since I have begun the huge cleanup and clean out, I have realized that you can really never be organized enough. I have made probably six sweeps of my house in the last few months purging, cleaning and organizing and I can still open a closet, drawer or even simply walk into a room and see things that can and should go.....along with getting new ideas about how to better organize. It probably is my obsessive compulsive defense to keep me from looking at the big picture such as walls that need painted, windows that need redone and floors that need stripped.....all which cost money I don't have. By only focusing on the purging and organizing.....the floor stains barely phase me.
One thing I learned about organizing is that all you need to do is take that first step. Go through that first pile, drawer or closet. Don't give yourself a lot of time to think or reminisce. Simply ask yourself "Do I use it? Do I need it? Do I have a place for it right now?" and most of all...."Does it bring anything to my life but clutter?" If you can't answer Yes to the first three questions....the answer to the fourth is then a definite No....which means it is time to purge.
Don't overwhelm yourself by setting your goals too high and planning to go through too much at once. That is of course....unless you are about to be condemned. Then by all means....just let the trash crew take it all. Otherwise....just plan on a couple of drawers or one big closet at a time. Make sure you sort into piles for Goodwill, keep and trash. There should only be three piles when you are through and the Goodwill and trash piles should be larger than the keep one. Also....don't give Goodwill trash. If it is not clean and in good shape....then discard it. No one wants your actual trash. Once you have taken care of the Goodwill and trash piles (get the Goodwill pile in your car and delivered ASAP), then begin to organize your "keep" pile. If it is a drawer, get some Dollar Tree drawer organizers and go to town putting each thing in its place. If it is a closet....get some Dollar Tree shoe box containers and organize away. Shoes, gloves, scarves and socks can all have a new and organized home....not to mention an easily accessible one.
If it is an entire junk room....as I had, get real about things. Nothing should be kept because you "think" you might someday fix it or find a place for it. Only things that you can use this very minute and that are in usable shape should be kept. Everything else (usable) either needs to go on Ebay, Craigslist or to Goodwill. You will be surprised how quickly that room is decluttered and actually becomes a livable part of your home again.
You will find that once your home is decluttered, the other occupants will also enjoy the new found accessibility and usability of things and with just a couple of extra seconds of returning things to their proper place.....your home stays much cleaner. I have found that it is much easier to clean an organized home because 1) you can actually find your cleaning products and 2) you are not cleaning around clutter. You don't have to move clutter from room to room and everything has a place and with a little work....is already in its place. You don't have to spend the time picking up and you can then get to the business of real cleaning.
Okay....so truth be told....it is Monday and it is much easier to blog about cleaning and organizing than it is to actually put it into practice. Sharing the wisdom is much more fun than living it....at least today. If it makes you feel better though....I will probably get to that kitchen drawer that is driving me crazy and my fridge might even get a good once over. Happy now?
So.....it is spring somewhere and there is no better time to start that cleaning and organizing than now. Pick a pile and get busy and soon you too will be able to say...."I organized my hoard!"