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This post is long overdue, and I already shared the website, Home Storage Solutions, on my Facebook page. In case you missed it, they came up with a fantastic organization calendar for FREE that helps you organize your home in small, manageable chunks. In just 15 minutes a day, you can have an organized home by the end of the year! But wait, there’s more!
I signed up for the email list, printed out the calendar, and started working on it to see just how manageable it is. I have found that many areas I could already cross off because I already keep them organized (my kitchen is already pretty well-organized). But there are still some places that need organizing in my own home. I admit that I cheated because I enjoy organizing, so I spent more than 15 minutes and crossed off a few more days off the calendar.
One thing that did strike me as odd was the suggestion to keep a pantry inventory. I disagree. If your pantry is organized in a way that you know where to find things, you don’t need to keep an inventory. When you run out of something (or come close to it), add it to your shopping list. I would find it more difficult to maintain an inventory – crossing things off as they’re used and adding as they’re purchased – than to just keep my pantry organized. But everyone is different; perhaps that will help you.
I am excited about weekly meal planning. If you read my other blog, Diet Slowly, you can see that meal planning is my biggest weakness. My husband and I are working through that, and I will likely try one of the websites mentioned in Week 8: Healthy Meal Planning to help keep us on plan. This week seems to be going well.
Have you printed out the organization calendar yet? How has it helped you? Is there anything I can help you work through?
Congratulations on taking your first steps in making your space more livable and organized! Now you need to decide how to get rid of things without putting everything in a landfill. There are actually a few things you can do: Sell it, Give it away, Recycle it, Trash it.
You can sell some of your things for extra cash. It does take some extra effort and time to sell things, but it might be worth the time if you have things worth more than just a few dollars, or if you have a lot of things to get out of your house. Here are just a few things you can do to sell your excess things.
- Hold a Garage Sale! If you have enough things to sell, it might be worthwhile to hold a garage sale to get rid of things in a day or two. You won’t necessarily get rid of everything, but it can be faster than listing each item online.
- If you haven’t already tried out CraigsList, now might be a good time to start. You may have heard some bad press about people getting robbed, but those are extremely rare cases. In general, you can meet people at a public place (a personal favorite is Starbucks) and make the exchange (money for your stuff). Not sure how to price something? Do a search for your item first on CraigsList and price it competitively.
- eBay is another place you can list things for sale, but it does take an extra effort to ship the item once someone purchases it.
- Amazon.com – List all kinds of items, and pay a fee once the item sells
- eStarland – Takes video games at great prices! Opt to get store credit or cash.
Give it away
If you tried to sell things and they just didn’t sell (or perhaps you just want to get them out right away), you can give things away. The list below is by no means comprehensive, but they are a few places that I have used to get rid of my own excess stuff.
- Freecycle – give your items to other people in the local area.
- GoodDonor.org – Donate small items including clothing and books to a charity that will pick things up from your door. Charities include the Lupus Foundation, Multiple Sclerosis Association, and the Vietnam Veterans Association.
- Habitat for Humanity ReStore – Donate home items, including some furniture. They will also pick up in some areas.
- Goodwill – Donate things, big and small. Contact your local Goodwill to find out what they will accept.
If your local trash company won’t take it as a recyclable item, you can’t sell it, and you can’t give it away, you might still be able to recycle it.
- Earth 911 has a great recycling search so you can find places to recycle things
If you can’t sell it, give it away or recycle it, consider trashing it. What is trash is not always obvious, and it can sometimes be difficult to admit something is just trash. But you will feel so much lighter and free of clutter if you can let go!
If you need help with any of these areas or decisions, consider hiring a professional. How else have you gotten rid of your excess stuff so you can get organized?
Legos are a great way to let kids be creative, learn to follow directions, and learn about architecture and engineering. However, if you don’t have a place to store them, they can take over a room or even a house! That’s why there’s no “before” picture on this post. Legos were everywhere. My client found an empty plastic bin, and then we got started.
A pile of Christmas presents was still on the family room floor, which included several Lego boxes. Those were put into the bin first, with the caveat that when the boxes are opened, the pieces will get stored in zipper bags with the correct instructions. Then we focused on the Legos in the boys’ room.
Tip: When storing Lego kits, keep the pieces together in a single zipper bag along with the instructions. The boxes take up more room than necessary and are not resealable.
As we searched for Legos, we cleared other clutter from book cases, the top of the dresser, and the floor. Open Lego kits were placed in zipper bags with their instructions, and loose Lego pieces were placed in the blue bin that’s pictured. Two assembled kits that were moved for display on top of book cases (not pictured here), and many other things were relocated to their proper place in the house.
How much was trashed?
- One full paper grocery bag for recycling
- Half a kitchen trash bag for trash
- One full paper grocery bag contained things that belonged elsewhere
How much needed to be purchased?
Nothing. We only used what we had on hand to store and reorganize.
How long did it take?
This area took 1.5 hours to complete.
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