Many people know that in a prior life, I ran a home storage company, providing highly customized closet and garage organization systems. My company’s success was built on designing a custom system to meet each client’s unique organization needs. I still get calls from friends and clients asking for help with a particularly congested closet, garage, or basement. Here is a pic of my garage that got it all started:
My two primary recommendations for getting organized are get help and purge. Get a friend or a professional to help. Or even swap organization time with a friend. You clean her junk and she will do yours. It is much easier to organize someone else’s stuff than your own. For professional help, I recommend contacting your local chapter of National Association of Professional Organizers, or NAPO.
As for purging, I have an operationally simple yet emotionally agonizing rule: if you have not used it in 12 months, get rid of it. Purging is no longer wasteful. Your local Department of Public Works should have online a list of charities and organizations where you can donate or recycle almost everything.
After purging, the organization process is simple:
- Purge – if not worn or used in 12 months, get rid of it (except for golf clubs)
- Group by seasons and identify less-accessible location for off-season stuff
- Inventory what remains (for all seasons). Includes what, how much space, and what kind of storage required.
- Choose a storage system that meets your budget and efficiently holds your stuff
- Store and label your stuff so you will know where to put it in the future
- Maintain your system, cycling items seasonally and purging on a regular basis.
When I left the home storage business to return to Plexi-Craft, many of my colleagues thought it was to start selling organizing products. That was not the primary reason, although acrylic is an excellent material for organizing systems. Acrylic is clear – so you can see your stuff; strong – so it can support your stuff; and malleable – so it can be built to contain your stuff. Many of the big box retailers feature lines of acrylic containers, shelves and other organizing items. Plexi-Craft offers a variety of products for organizing your office, kitchen, and bath. More importantly, Plexi-Craft can custom manufacture shelving, bins, and containers to exactly fit your storage space and the items your are storing.
I hope these tips get you on the clear path to organization.