Organization: Desiring Order and Freshness

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” -William Morris

It’s January, a time when I come up with a plan of getting organized in my home. I seem to let things get over-cluttered, partly because I end up with so much “stuff” or things that I want to display.

And then there is entertaining supplies. How much do I really need? How much do I want to store? I’m constantly having to thin out and let go of stuff and to figure out what I want to use, and then figure out an organized storage system.

I will admit, organization is the KEY!

Where to begin – start small!
Choose a room that needs to be de-cluttered, or if that is too overwhelming, pick a drawer or a cupboard to start with!

Separate your trash from your treasures!
Have 4 containers nearby.
– Garbage
– Recyclable
– Giveaway
– Store

Things given to you!
After a gracious thank you, gifts do not necessarily require a lifetime home. If you think of the amount of gifts that we’ve received over the years, our homes would be filled to the ceiling with clutter.

– sort out what are prized possessions
– either display them or store them
– reuse or recycle (meaning – can it be given away as a gift?)
– give it away or toss it

Give each item a home!
Group like things together. For example, since our kitchen remodel I’ve had several junk drawers to go through (yes, one year later I have one more to go). When I tackled them, I had a garbage can nearby. Some things had sentimental value, but I really did not need to keep them, so they got tossed. You can do the same in your closet, your bathroom drawers, your book shelves, your kids’ toys, even with your entertaining supplies.

Staying on top of an organized system takes determination. Even though I sometimes lack in this area, there is just something about the NEW YEAR that sparks my creativity, my desire for order and a certain freshness.

Paperwork?
Now this lady scares me! I am NOT the expert on paperwork, for sure. But I do have a goal this year … again, to be a bit more organized than I was last year and to stay on top of my paperwork.

Katie gives some great tips: 10 Ways to Declutter Your House! The less you need the freer you become! She also wrote a post on “never handle a piece of paper more than once.” Check it out! Also last year AnNicole shared about stuff that brings great sentimental value to you – and what to do with it!

My 2 good friends Tsh and Laura each have a brand new book out, both available on Amazon.

Clutter Rehab: 101 Tips and Tricks to Become an Organization Junkie and Love It by Laura Whittmann.

Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living by Tsh Oxenreider.

If you had to pick one room or one drawer to start thinning out, which would it be?

20 comments on “Organization: Desiring Order and Freshness”

  1. Just wanna say that this is very useful , Thanks for taking your time to write this.

  2. Repentance is never something to be ashamed of.

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  4. We have a new thrift shop here in Smithfield, VA called Gimme Shelter. It’s run by all volunteers and all proceeds go to help the animals in our county shelter, Isle of Wight County Humane Society, Equine Rescue, etc. It’s great motivation knowing when you donate to this shop, you’re helping the animals. We moved into our house 4 years ago and are working on cleaning out our attic space, donating anything we haven’t used to Gimme Shelter.

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  6. We sold our house and moved 6 months ago, and in the process, got rid of a LOT of stuff (including big furniture.) Now, we’re about ready to move into our new house (we’ve been renting in the meantime.) I would still like to get rid of a lot of things before we take residence.

    I can’t stand clutter.

    Have you ever heard of the book, Throw Out Fifty Things? It’s really, really good. Admittedly, I enjoy a good challenge!

  7. I recently took on my “tupperware” drawer…..and if I do say so myself, I think I won that battle! I was really surprised by how great I felt, and how little time it really took!
    http://girlfriendlifeline.blogspot.com/2011/01/organizing-10-minutes-of-worka-weekend.html

  8. Great tips! Starting small is so key because piles can be so overwhelming and when we are overwhelmed it’s so easy to procrastinate. Making detail lists really helps, trust me I know from experience. Gotta love a good brain dump!

    Thanks for linking to my book :)
    Laura

  9. The Laundry Room is at the top of my list, although Lord knows there are plenty of other areas that need it too. It’s the room everyone walks in to when they come in the house. I don’t have a basement, so this is where everything gets dumped. My cousin actually once said to me that the room looks like it threw up on itself. I’d love to be able to have an organized peaceful area to walk in to, that would be a place to work on crafts too. That’s my home goal for 2011.

  10. Oh, ladies, I REALLY need to ‘swamp out’ my computer corner. I have printed recipes that I have yet to try, let alone put in the notebook. I have bills from 3 month that are marked paid, but not filed. Do I really need 4 bottles of hand lotion on my computer desk?
    Just a note to Shelley. With all that make up and hotel size beauty products, would you consider giving it to a homeless shelter or battered women’s shelter? So many ladies could put it to good use.
    Once again, I am inspired to do something.

  11. Timely post, Sandy! I have two perpetual trouble spots: my kitchen (main thoroughfare for my home, no mudroom or other dumping ground) and my home office. With three teenagers and my husband and I working mostly from home, we’re often drowning in stuff– paperwork, school work, work work. You get the picture! I’ve done a good job of decluttering over the holidays, but can I/we maintain it? Hmmm.

  12. I am so with you, Sandy! I haven’t done a major decluttering/organizing since our last child was born, almost 4 years ago. And while I do try to keep the clutter at a minimum on a daily basis, it always seems to accumulate. I have vowed to get thru every closet, drawer, and shelf in the entire house in January and February. I started last weekend, and am currently working on Room #3. Alot has gone in the garbage, and there’s a big pile in our basement, ready for Goodwill and passing along to others. It feels so good!!!

  13. I don’t know that I have a room that would need thinning. We did quite a bit of thinning a when we sold our old house and haven’t really added a lot to it. However, I do have drawers and files that could use thinning (C: And I need to get on top of paperwork.

  14. Our kitchen is now organized, but the office could use some work! I better get on it. Thanks for this post!

  15. I absolutely LOVE organization. You are right, it is something you have to be determined to do. It is a process and a lifestyle. I’m doing a series on Organized Living on my blog this year. Tuesdays is the day for readers to share their favorite Tips & Tricks & Projects. I hope you’ll come by and share some of your great ideas!

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  17. Thanks for the reminder! My office needs a good tackling in the organization department. It’s full of “maybe on day to sell on Craig’s list” stuff. That needs to be taken care of. Soon. You’re being featured today over at Living Graciously!

  18. I think I would start in the bathroom. I won’t live long enough to use all the eye make-up that is in the top drawer. There are a million hotel samples of shampoo, lotion, etc. that if they were organised I could use in my gym bag. At 54, I don’t think most of those fancy hair clippy things suit me very well. If I had a good clear out I might actually get the towels and face cloths into those drawers and give a much fresher, more spacious feel to that room.

  19. I hate clutter- especially since we move so often. We are constantly purging- I miss having the base thrift shop or craigslist, etc. to get it out of the house more easily, but we have been able to donate to orphans while we’ve been here. The area that gets the most cluttered is in our school area where the kids keep their “projects” from their free time. I can only stand it so long before they’re told to put them in the trash!

  20. This fits in so well with my aims this year, I choose MINIMISE to be my word of 2011. I have been hoarding so much stuff and moving a few times over the past couple of years has really made me realise this. I don’t need it all and much of it I couldn’t even list!

    Recently I’ve had quite a few friends who have had their houses very badly damaged by water or even by theft. My sister recently had to list everything missing for insurance purposes and I though, how easily would I be able to list everything in each room of my house?

    The clutter is more than just unnecessary it’s contributing to a messy house and not the sanctuary we should be living in, letting go of stuff makes it easier to maintain and keep to a decent standard. We want out friends to just be able to drop in for a coffee and always tell people to pop round whenever they are nearby. I’m happy for people to see that my house is lived in and not a show home but it would be nice to always have enough places to sit!

    One of the main things in terms of paperwork I managed last year was to change over everything possible to paper free – utility bills, bank statements etc. The past few years of paper that I need to keep track of are in the process of being scanned and then shredded.

    Good luck with your decluttering!
    Jade

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