Linda asked: I want to get organized, but how do I begin the decluttering process?
Good question, Linda. Remember that it took years to accumulate all your present day possessions and it will take time to declutter. If you think this is merely an afternoon project you are only heading for frustration.
Take your time. In fact, take all year, if needed, and I will be with you every step of the way. Do not be afraid to email me with any questions you might have or difficult hurtles you cannot seem to get over. The task is less daunting if you have a friend along the way.
Look around you and become aware of what is visible on the flat surfaces first before tackling the excess nesting in those hidden storage areas. Few of us are aware of just how much stuff we have or for how long we have had it. So, start by clearing all the horizontal areas, like your desk, counter tops, tables, chairs, etc. When you have all the visible areas decluttered, now you will start to tackle the closets, drawers, storage areas, etc.
The easiest way to fully appreciate how much you own is to take a household inventory (a very good idea for insurance purposes as well). List and take pictures of everything you have that is taking up space in your home. When you come across something you do not use or do not love, consider passing it along — donate or toss.
You do not need to do this process all at once. Pick one room a day or take even a week or a month, whatever is needed to complete the entire area. Open all the drawers, closets, cabinets and catchalls. Look under the bed, count your shoes, ties and belts, scan the walls and scrutinize the linen closet. Don’t forget to inventory your car, wallet, garden tools and self-storage units as well.
A written or digital inventory list will have more impact on your decision-making process than just a visual scan of your home. The reality of what you own will leap off those pages and become a strong catalyst to continue the decluttering process.
A home inventory is a valuable tool for your peace of mind. It is a list of your personal possessions along with their estimated financial value. To make your home inventory more valuable, declutter as you go along from room to room. Remove the excess, broken, unloved, unused items and clear your spaces. Give yourself a bit of breathing room!
“The complete inventory, including photos, may be one of the most valuable investments for peace of mind we will ever make for ourselves and our families,” said Gail Haubrich, FEMA individual assistance housing supervisor. “If a catastrophic event disrupts our homes and surroundings, a home inventory will eliminate the need to piece that information together in the aftermath of the event.”
Declutter, get organized and be prepared for whatever life throws your way.