BY MARILYN WILSON, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN September 3, 2015When space is at a premium, a higher degree of organization becomes important. With the changing of the season, now is the perfect time to get organized: As the seasons change, so does your wardrobe, so take the opportunity to swap things out.
You may not think you have clutter, but you most likely do have areas to improve. Here are some tips to help you think clearer and cleaner.
1. Work from the inside out
When guests come over, we tend to clear surfaces by dumping contents into drawers or closets. Rooms appear clutter-free, but their nooks and crannies are where we must really search to find out if organization reigns.
Purging drawers and closets of contents is a great place to start. Begin with frequently used closets and stick to one a day, especially if it is a principal, and very cluttered, one. This will keep you from getting overwhelmed.
Keep in mind: When cleaning a master closet you share, make sure your partner is onboard. Will they also make a commitment to new order? And will they clean their side of the closet? Don’t reorder someone’s things without permission, as some prefer grouping by colour while others opt for order by clothing item.
Linen closets seem like they would be easy to organize but, in households with differing bed sizes, finding your dream sleep can be a true nightmare. If this is the case, consider shaking sheets out and labeling them by size. It might take a while, but it will save both time and aggravation when you are making beds later.
2. Pick out what’s most important to you
The best place to start when decluttering is in predominately used spaces, says personal organizer Sylvia Buccione. If you are often in your bedroom, start there. If the kitchen is your main hangout, make that the first place you organize. This makes perfect sense, as you will immediately feel the effects of your efforts.
3. The pile proposition
Going through old items and considering their staying power can be exhausting and overwhelming. Buccione’s advice for managing this hurdle is to create three piles: one to keep, one to toss and one for items you may want to keep.
When in doubt or ambivalent, add articles to the maybe pile. Then revisit this pile in a few months and redivide it into keep and toss.
“Decluttering is a very personal thing because there are so many attachments,” says Buccione. That is why the keep, toss, maybe idea is so ingenious. It gives you an out when you’re not sure about something.
4. Donate according to your values
There are a host of places where you can donate, Buccione says. Choose based on what you believe in.
You can donate locally or internationally. If you want to send books to a school in Africa, by all means, but also consider the many worthwhile places to help nearby such as women’s shelters, Value Village, the Salvation Army. If you would like to turn a profit on lightly worn or recently purchased items, visit a consignment store, where you’ll likely get 40 per cent of the price for which your item is sold.
Buccione stresses that when you need to declutter, you know. And you can’t force someone to do it if they’re not ready. “Take it one step at a time and look at it as a small project,” she says. “It’s overwhelming if you try to tackle it all at once.”
Marilyn Wilson has been selling real estate for more than 25 years and owns Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties Inc. Christie’s International Real Estate. Reach her through dreamproperties.com.
© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen