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Simplifying Home | Week 7: Storage + Organization
Clean + DeclutterDepending on the size of your home, you may not be able to address all of your remaining storage and closet areas this week. Just choose one or two manageable areas. This could be a laundry space, an attic or basement, or even a garage. Try to pay a little attention to an area that holds seasonal items (holiday decor, outdoor gear, etc.) that tends to get neglected. Go through the usual process of removing everything (or as much as possible), clean the surfaces and floors, and carefully consider what is returned and what can be let go of.
What to Keep: I've mentioned this before, but it's worth mentioning again and again until you get the hang of it. When deciding what should go back into a space after it has been cleaned out, keep and return only those items that are loved, needed, used frequently, and belong. Anything else can be returned to its proper location or dealt with as described below.
What to Get Rid Of: Anything that is unloved, not needed, or not used in last 6-12 mos can be added to the outbox, immediately donated, or trashed as appropriate. The 6-12 month time span is actually very generous and helps account for seasonal items like outdoor gear. But really, most things kept should be used frequently and at least within the last month.
OrganizationSometimes we look at a space and think it needs organized to be more attractive and more functional. But I have found over and over, decluttering makes the biggest impact. The simple act of getting rid of those things that are unloved, unused, unneeded often clears up space, makes things easy to put away. And it always makes the space more attractive and functional.
At this point, hopefully you've decluttered a lot of your home and cleared up a lot of free space. And after doing so, you might notice a couple spaces that still need a good organization solution. Maybe a bathroom cabinet that needs a couple bins to separate family member's cosmetics and make them easy to pull out and put away. Or maybe a hall closet that needs a shoe organizer on the door to hold all those little items that are easy to lose.
Now is a good time to consider organization solutions that might be needed throughout home--in drawers, closets, etc. But remember, this should always be done after decluttering. No need to buy a new tub or bin if the things in it are no longer needed!
Cleaning RoutineWere you able to print a weekly cleaning schedule or come up with your own last week? This week is the time to try out that routine. Hopefully you'll have tasks spread out throughout the week to break it done into smaller, more manageable chunks. Then, as you go, adjust the list as necessary. If you're in a busy or sick season with no energy or time, then focus on the essentials. If you can manage a little more, then work in more detailed tasks. It's important to keep the list updated for this season. Otherwise you won't use it and won't be able to keep on track with what's important.
WindowsWindows tend to be a pretty neglected in routine cleaning, so it's a good thing to keep in mind for a good seasonal cleaning. Use some watered-down vinegar or Windex and a paper towel or newspaper to clean the glass. Use the vacuum to suck up any bugs, dust bunnies, or spider webs. Then wipe down the sill and frame. If you keep windows up on mild days, then this might need to be done a few times through the season.
Shop AroundAs you have worked through the various areas of your home over the last couple months, have you noticed anything missing or an item that needs replaced? Add these to the list on from Week 2. Maybe frames you want for a collage, a rug that needs replaced or kitchenware that needs updated. It's always good to leave these on the list for at least a couple days, or depending on the item even a couple weeks to make sure you're not rushing into purchases that will ultimately end up in your outbox.
As you decide an item is necessary or really will add value to your space and improve it, slowly start shopping for the items on your list. If you can, especially consider looking into secondhand options or repurposing. Search sites like Craigslist or check your local Facebook consignment group. Also take your list to a secondhand store or garage sales. Depending on what you're looking for and how quickly you need it, you can likely find a great used option that will serve your purpose well, while being better for your wallet and the environment.
Purpose-Driven GoalsIn Week 1, we started a list of repairs/need improvements for the home, and in Week 2 we started a style board for the home. These things focus on the structure and decorations and the surface appearance of our homes. While they can influence our feelings and productivity, it's a good idea to put a little more intentional thought into deeper goals for the home.
Beyond decorating and nesting, what do you hope to use your home for? Do you want to entertain or host parties? Do you hope to start a small group or invite neighbors in? Are you toying with the idea of being a foster parent? Would you like more quality family time at home?
Put together a list of purpose-driven goals for your home. These are a deeper motivator to finish up the decluttering and simplifying so you can focus on what really matters.
Our excessive use of technology and involvement in media can lead to comparisons, distracts us from our "real" lives, and a host of other joy-stealing habits. Consider taking twenty-four hours (or a weekend or full week) to break this cycle. Use this time to focus on growing in your own life. Read, spend time with family, try something new, catch up on a list, or rest.
Just try unplugging from all of it for a bit and see what you think. Pay attention to how you spend your free time. You just might like it and make it a recurring tradition.
For more on reducing media, checkout:
Less Technology, More Life
100 Things to Do Instead of Watch TV
Replace Gazing with Growing
Trifecta of Joy-Stealers
Taking a Break
Checkout Joshua Becker's 10 Reasons to Watch Less Television on Becoming Minimalist.
Alysa's Erasing Loneliness challenge is so good on addressing the root of why we might so easily resort to TV to fill our time. It can especially be helpful to pay attention to how we embrace alone time and destress.
Your Home ProjectsWhat's on your home project list this week? You need your home needs extra TLC, so these tasks trump the other things on the list!
simplifying home: 8-week checklist
week 8: wrapping-up
purpose-driven goals for the home
simplicity starts here