At the end of the day, there’s nothing better than relaxing in a clean well-organized home. The problem? It doesn’t currently look like that. If you are overwhelmed at the thought of taking on a large organization project, then read on for my step by step guide on how to efficiently and methodically organize a room. This is also a great process to follow if you are packing in preparation for a move or estate sale.
Take all of your belongings out of their current locations. Remove items from bookshelves, tables, closets, mantles, window sills, and even drawers. It may seem like you’re creating a bigger mess, but if you really want the room to have a fresh look, you will need to start from scratch.
Sort your belongings using the box method. Before you begin sorting your items, obtain 5 boxes and label them as below.
- Keep –The items that you keep will be items that you use on a regular basis. If you’ve used the Item in the last month, place it in this box. These items will be used to re-organize the room.
- Store – These are things that you will most likely use within the next 6 months to a year. Typically these items hold sentimental value or are seasonal in nature.
- Donate or Sell – These are items that may benefit someone or could be sold, but which you don’t need any more. You may have a nice sweater that you don’t fit into anymore that you can donate, or an old textbook that you can sell.
- Throw Out – These are items that no one needs. If you have to spend time wondering what something is, or trying to remember the last time you used it, it’s time to toss it. You may want to put these items directly into a waste basket instead.
- Recycle – These are items that may be recycled through local or state programs. As you are sorting through each of your rooms, you will find that each room may produce its own reusable material. For example, home offices may produce a lot of paper whereas you may have a lot of plastic bottles in the laundry room. Place recycling receptacles in each room whenever possible.
Get rid of as many items as possible. You may feel temptation to keep those jeans you’ve had for 10 years or the vase that no longer holds water because you’ve glued it together too many times but you must be bold and purge the old.
Put the contents of all the boxes except the “Keep” box in their place. Now that you’ve sorted through the room, you can get rid of all the things you don’t need. The sooner you get rid of or store the other boxes, the easier it will be to finish your project. For each box, complete the following:
- Keep – Place these boxes to the side for use later.
- Store – Immediately move your boxes to their storage location whether it be a closet, garage, or storage unit. Remember to label them carefully so you know where your things are when the time comes.
- Donate And Sell – Find a local church, Goodwill, or another organization that is taking donations, and bring all of your donated items there. Also start selling your “Sell” items. Have a garage sale or put them on Craigslist or Ebay.
- Throw Out – Discard everything in the “Throw Out” box.
- Recycle – If possible, merge everything from these box into an outside recycle receptacle and put back in its previous location. Coordinate your project with recycling programs in your area and be sure to set the containers out for pick up on a regular basis.
Re-Organize your room. Using the items in the “Keep” box, re-arrange the room as desired. You may even want to take this opportunity to re-arrange furniture, closets and drawers as needed.
Clean the room. Now that you’ve put all of your items in their place, you should have a well-organized area. However before a room is truly organized, it has to be cleaned. Take the time now to clean the room and give it a polished feel. Cleaning the room from top down is always best to prevent the re-accumulation of dirt and dust. Check out our comprehensive two part cleaning primer here.
Make a game plan to stay organized and clean. You don’t want all the hard work you put into cleaning and organizing your room to go to waste. Create a plan to tackle cleaning and organizing tasks a little each day. By dedicating 15-30 minutes per day, you can help keep your home immaculate and still have time for a social life!