It’s a still a relatively new year. Do you really want to go through 2014 with the detritus of 2013 still scattered all around you? Heck no — it’s time to make a fresh start, and it’s tough to do that when you have nary a place to set down your laptop because every available surface is covered in old magazines and dusty knickknacks. Let’s make some room.
Five ways to create more space right now
1.) Bag it. Look at all of the extra stuff in your closets. Extra clothes, linens, towels — all of that bulky material is taking up valuable real estate. Gather as many of these items as possible — saving only what you actually need — and pack all of into storage bags. You can condense these bags in your closet, or ship them right over to self storage. No muss, no fuss.
Ziploc actually has products called Space Bags — basically, these are clear plastic sacks that allow for all air to be removed from the bag once your items are placed inside. The air removal means more items are able to be stored within each bag and the bag itself easily packed away into a closet or self-storage unit once zipped.
If you want to invest in Space Bags, go for it. Otherwise, your run-of-the-mill garbage bag or even old duffles or athletic bags will probably work just fine.
2). Pair like items together. Here’s a helpful exercise: when deciding which items to use, store, donate, or discard, put everything from the same clutter family together. That means put all books together, all office supplies together, all shoes, etc.
Placing similar items together when clearing space provides a reliable mental picture of just how much of an item you own. It can also be a little shocking to realize how much stuff you’re not actually using.
3). Mount your television onto the wall. Very important, particularly if you live in a small space. Stop looking at your walls as — well, walls. Walls provide valuable storage space if used properly.
Mounting your television not only adds stylish ambiance to your den or living room but opens up a great deal of space once a television table or cabinet is gone. It also keeps you from a.) having to clean another surface and b.) takes away an additional clutter-collector. If you haven’t mounted your TV, do it this weekend. And if your TV isn’t a flat-screen…well, what are you waiting for?
4). Don’t ignore your basement. Look, we aren’t kids anymore (I assume no children are reading a home organization blog. If you are, good for you!). You don’t get to jam everything in the closet and say, “Look, mom! Cleaned my room!” As an adult, you don’t get to shove everything in the basement and claim, “Look, Jenny! Cleaned my house!” (Yes, you’re answering to me now.)
Are you saving furniture you once loved but don’t have a place for it? Have your kids dragged home boxes of “valuables” from their college apartments and forgotten about them? That’s the type of stuff that needs to be in self storage — not in the basement where something truly valuable could go, like a new ping pong table.
Go through and tag what you like, what you want to save, and what you have no use for. If you or your family still shows interest in an item, dedicate these to self storage — the “holding” unit while new homes are found. Set a time limit. If time expires and no new home is found, these items get donated. End of story.
5) Declutter, declutter, declutter. Nothing zaps a room’s style more than too many trinkets lying around. Let me be clear: there is nothing sentimental, delightful, pleasant, or attractive about a bunch of dusty, out-of-date photos, tchotchkes, souvenir mugs, stuffed animals, or miniatures covering your walls and flat surfaces. These things are messy and make your home look like it was decorated by a 13-year-old girl (with all due respect to 13-year-old girls. I was one once!).
One easy way to streamline your home is to invest in multi-photo frames or shadow boxes to be hung on the wall rather than allowing countless frames and souvenirs to clutter surface area and collect dust. Or, better, yet, store these items in closets or self storage. It’s nice to occasionally reflect upon the past. To live in it? Not so much.
A more streamlined home means more space with which to show off your personal style. More time to spend with your family. Less time cleaning. Less time worrying about so much stuff.
So let’s raise a commemorative drinking glass together…and then throw it in the trash. Here’s to an organized 2014!