One Small Change at a Time

You’ve finally jumped on board: You’re ready to get more organized and stop letting clutter disrupt your life (That’s amazing!), but where do you even begin? I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who feel like a deer in headlights when they finally decide to tackle their messy demons.

The first thing I tell clients is to take it one step at a time. You don’t have to tackle the whole house at once. In fact, I sincerely discourage you from trying to do that. It’ll will only lead you to become even more overwhelmed. The best approach is to take things slow. One room. One drawer, cabinet, or corner at a time.

Here are some easy places you can start:

  • Expired food items (pantry/fridge)
  • Plastic grocery bags
  • Expired/unused medications
  • Chipped dishes, mugs, or glassware
  • Clothing that no longer fits (or hasn’t been worn in 6-12 months)
  • Worn out clothing, blankets, and towels
  • Expired cosmetics
  • Damaged (or neglected) toys

Evaluate what’s in your home and figure out which things are no longer serving you properly. Do they really need to continue taking up space in your?


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Causes of Clutter

Last week I talked a little bit about the steps of organizing on social media. The first step (and most important!) is to simplify, purge, edit, sort, etc. Whichever term you want to use for it, the principle is the same: Pare down the excess. Having extra stuff, that you typically don’t need, makes the rest of the organizing process difficult. Technically, you can organize and store said stuff, but why would you want to? Isn’t the whole point of getting organized to make your life easier and to get rid of the things weighing you down?

After making my post about simplifying, I started to think about the reasons so many people let clutter accumulate in the first place. It’s important for people to understand their behavior and the underlying causes if they want to make true changes in their lives. So, let’s discuss some of the possible causes for all that extra stuff that’s been piling up.

  • Sentimentality – Some people have a hard time letting go of sentimental items. But those drawings your kids made in first grade, the dress you wore on your first date, the tattered cookbooks that belonged to your grandmother add up over time. There’s nothing wrong with having a few keepsakes around if they have personal significance to you, but it’s important to keep them to a minimum and just hang on to those few really special ones.
  • FOMO – “But what if I need it later?” We hear it over and over again. Lots of people hang on to items that they no longer need or use due to fear that they might change their mind later. In this case, a good rule of thumb to follow is this: If you haven’t used/worn it in 6-12 months, it’s not serving an important role in your life and you don’t need it.
  • Being overwhelmed – If you’re battling a lot of clutter, trying to tackle everything at one time can be incredibly overwhelming. For some, those feelings of stress and being overwhelmed can make them feel helpless, so, rather than organize at all, they just put the task off until later. But if it’s stressing you out that much now, is it really going to be different later? Rather than try to organize your entire home at one time, it’s best to start small and chip away at it. Doing a little at a time is better than nothing at all!
  • Fear of change – A lot of people simply hate change! Even if their current system (or lack of) isn’t working, the thought of changing things feels even more daunting.
  • Habits – It’s always easier to continue doing things we’ve done for a long time. It’s instinctual and doesn’t require much effort, right? Once you start creating good habits (like putting your shoes away, rather than leaving them on the floor), they will become just as easy to keep up with.

‘Tis the Season

Now that Halloween is over (*sniff sniff* 😥 ) it’s only a matter of days until everyone starts talking about Christmas. Regardless of which holidays you celebrate, there is no denying that all those decorations, festive table linens, wrappings, and other seasonal goods can take up quite a bit of storage. Here are a few storage ideas that may come in handy later, when it’s time to take the tree down and stuff if back in the garage:

  • Large storage bags are quite handy for storing all types of seasonal items: Out of season clothing, extra linens or blankets, holiday lights, larger decorations, etc. They even make storage bags with small compartments, specifically for keeping ornaments safe.
  • Worried that artificial tree is going to get ruined out in the garage? Try storing it in a waterproof bag or inside a large trash can to protect it from the elements.
  • Clear plastic tubs are great for larger seasonal decorations and fragile items. They work well for ornaments, string lights, strands of garland, your collection of Halloween skulls (or regular skulls. I’m not here to judge.), and candles.
  • Create a wrapping station. If you’re one of those people who loves to wrap presents, why not create a designated spot for all your paper, ribbons, and cards? A cute little rolling cart could help keep your items transportable and easy-to-access. You could also repurpose an old dresser and keep your supplies hidden in the drawers. If you don’t want to create a special station, you can still make sure to keep your supplies well organized with a compartmentalized bag that you can tuck away in the closet.
  • Wrap those string lights around recycled cardboard tubes (from your wrapping paper station!) or pieces of cardboard so they don’t get tangled in a ball.

What seasonal items do you find most difficult to store/organize?

Linen Closet Makeover Tips

I put a question out to my Instagram followers recently, asking what types of organization topics they might like to learn more about. One of the most common answers was linen closets.

Closets can be challenging to organize, especially linen closets. Items stored in linen closets tend to be on the bulkier side, meaning they take up a lot of physical space. That’s okay though! No space is too impossible to organize. Follow some of these tips and tricks the next time your linen closet is in need of a makeover.

-Get rid of old towels/linens – Say goodbye to items that are faded, frayed, or have holes in them. Step one of the remake process is to discard (or repurpose) things that are no longer serving you properly.

-Roll/fold towels to save space – Larger towels and hand towels can be rolled and stacked horizontally, or stored vertically inside baskets, to optimize storage space. (The only time I avoid doing this is when towels are really thick. In this case, it is typically more efficient to fold.)

-Group by category – Keep matching towels and linens together. This not only makes it easier to find things when you’re looking for them, but it’s also more aesthetically pleasing.

-Leave wiggle room – This goes for most organization projects. Stuffing any cabinet/closet to the gills won’t look neat, nor will it be efficient when you need to take something out. (The goal is to simplify!)

-Contain small items – Put small items and cleaning supplies together in bins or baskets. Over-the-door storage racks can be great for this, as well.

– Contain large, bulky items (like comforters and pillows) in storage bags or laundry baskets so they aren’t spilling off your shelves.

– Fold sheets and matching pillowcases together into bundles

-Remove packaging from toiletries and store in clear canisters or wire bins for a neater, more stylish look.

Don’t forget to hit the “Follow” button or find me on social media (@theremakestudio) for more ideas on home organizing!