Today, I have some organizing tips to help you bring order to some of the most disorganized spaces in your home. Garages, attics and basements are often last on the list to be organized — if they even make the list at all. You can also include storage sheds, off-site storage, utility rooms and cleaning closets in this category. These spaces tend to be a dumping ground for all sorts of things. They’re basically the land of lost stuff that piles up over time. When you need something that’s been stored in them (somewhere), it’s time consuming and frustrating to try to find it.
It can be overwhelming to think about tackling the job of organizing storage areas. If you’ve been putting off the task for a while, that’s probably the reason. (I know it has been for me in the past.) To make it easier for you, I’ve put together some organizing tips that will help get you get the job done.
I also have some previous posts that would be helpful in this area, too: 10 Questions to Speed Up the Declutter Process will help you decide what you should keep and what to toss, so you can more easily eliminate the clutter. 8 Daily Routines to Keep You Organized will help you keep things organized once you’ve gone through the hard work of getting them that way.
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ORGANIZING STORAGE AREAS
1 Be prepared for the job. The day before organizing, get prepared by making a list of the things that need to be done in the space. Also, make a list of the tools or items you’ll need to do it. Some things you may want to include are:
- Boxes for donations or garage sale items (Clearly mark them, then set them up so they’re ready for you.)
- Markers for the labeling the boxes
- A supply of extra large, durable trash bags
- Cleaning supplies
- Extra lighting if the area isn’t well lit
- A portable fan if the area is outside and the weather is hot
2 Allow yourself enough time to do the job. It would probably be a good idea to plan to spend the entire day in each space. If it’s a really big job, it may take more than one day so set aside that time before you start. You don’t want to get halfway through on the first day and not be able to get to the rest for several months, allowing more things to accumulate in the meantime. During those months you could easily undo all that you’ve done. If you’re not finished by the end of the day, you should be able to determine how long it will take you to finish the job. Mark it down as a task for those days you set aside before you started.
3 Dress for the job. You’ll be on your feet and moving around on cleaning day, so wear comfortable clothes and shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. And nothing too warm, as you can heat up quickly when working. I recommend layers.
4 Work in one section at a time. Breaking it up into sections makes it easier to tackle large jobs. In areas that have lots of rooms, only focus on one room at a time.
5 Go through everything in the space. Open up all the boxes and take everything off the shelves. Once you’ve sorted through what you want to keep and what gets tossed, donated or sold, start putting things back. Before you do, make sure you wipe down the shelves and sweep or vacuum the floor. Put like items together and label all storage boxes. To help identify what is in each box, tape an inventory list to the outside or number the boxes and create a master inventory list that includes each box number and the contents.
It seems like it takes less time to get storage areas cluttered than it does getting them uncluttered, doesn’t it? These tips for organizing storage areas will help you to bring order to those spaces. By doing so, it will save you a lot time and frustration in the future. It could also save you money because you won’t have to buying something you already have but just couldn’t find!
Once you get it all organized, establish a regular decluttering routine at least a few times a year. This will help you stay on top of things you no longer need and make sure that the storage space doesn’t get out of hand again.
Do you have any tips for organizing storage areas that you’d like to share? If so, please share them with us in the comments!
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