Sort, Purge, Assign, Contain, Equalize
After you have determined where and what to de-clutter, and have begun what can sometimes be a very emotional process of letting go, then it is time to figure out what to do with the unwanted stuff. You must get it out of your space as soon as possible. Don’t start “new” clutter by keeping bags of clothes you are meaning to donate, or boxes of unwanted possessions waiting to be passed on to someone else.
Most people are just at a loss at what to do with their unwanted belongings, and they feel guilty just throwing stuff away. To solve this problem, you first need to have a system as you de-clutter, then secondly, a plan to get it out of your life for good. S-P-A-C-E, which stands for: Sort, Purge, Assign, Contain, and Equalize is one process you can utilize to help with the de-cluttering process. How to use SPACE-- in your space:
Get 5 basic boxes or totes labeled: Trash, Repairs, Recycling, Transit, and Dilemma. You may feel you need to add: Gifts, Charity, Return (if you have a receipt), and Selling. Take the time to touch and reflect upon each possession you are considering letting go. Place unwanted possessions as you de-clutter. For Repairs be sure you are willing to the do repair soon, or don’t keep the item. Try to keep the Dilemma box small; however, this box does come in handy so that you don’t get hung up on one item too long and stop the process. The Transit box is used for those items you want to keep, but is being moved to another place in your house. At the end of the day (or when the timer goes off) put supplies or possessions that still need to be evaluated away neatly. Start fresh each time you work on the clutter instead of when you are feeling tired or overwhelmed. Sometimes you will get more done when you walk away and take a break.
Remove the unwanted possessions right away. Schedule a pick-up from a local charity, or set a date for a garage sale (within 30 days). If you let it just sit in your space, you are starting new clutter towards which you may assign new feelings of guilt. Pass It On: A Resource-full Guide to Donating Usable Stuff, lists almost every conceivable item that could be donated and who will take it. To get a copy, call, 216-443-3749. If you want to sell or trade items try, clevelandfreecycle.com, craigslist.com, or ebay. Throw a trading party in your neighborhood, and never underestimate the power of the Lakewood tree lawn for passing on stuff you don’t want.
Now is the time to start organizing the possessions you are keeping and to make decisions about where they will go in the room, or space. Try clearing out the room completely so that it is empty like the day you moved into your home. Many times new ideas will come to you, such as, paint color or how you want the room to feel. You might even decide that the room has a new, better function than what you originally intended.
Notice that this step is almost the last thing you do, not the first. So many people, after deciding to de-clutter and get organized, run out and buy a bunch of containers before they even know what they are going to keep. This is really the fun step because now you get to put your new room together. Explore creative ways to contain your possessions while still maintaining a sense of style, especially if your space is small. Nowadays, there are tons of resources and ways that you can create a room that is functional, clutter-free, and beautiful.
This last step is about you maintaining your space and staying in control of your clutter! There should be no stress involved when it is time to clean-up at the end of your day, because now everything you have kept should have a place. Set de-cluttering dates, done monthly, seasonally, or weekly, to revisit areas in your home prone to attracting clutter. Curbing impulsive shopping and buying will help you avoid clutter build-up while saving you money. Ask yourself, before you buy it, where will it go once I get it home? If you don’t know, don’t buy it.