Learn to purge first and then arrange what’s left
So you’ve finally decided it’s time to organize the closet in your bedroom, or your garage, storage room, pantry, basement, etc. But it seems so daunting. There’s just so much. Where do you even start?
Start with taking a deep breath, says Tami Doling, owner of Silver Lining Organizers. Then prepare to dive right into the project. “Commit to making a change in your life for the better,” says Doling.
That commitment means being able to get rid of items, she says. And that starts with taking everything out of the space you want to organize and then deciding whether to keep each item or “purge” it by donating it or throwing it in the trash, says Doling.
“You just don’t want to keep moving things from one building to another,” she says. “You want to purge first and then only organize what you want to keep and use.”
When she is hired to help someone organize deciding what to keep is the one part of the process that only the client can do, she says. “That’s all they do, they just sit there and decide what they want to keep and not keep,” Doling says. “Then I take away the donations and the trash.”
While the client is deciding what to keep and what to purge Doling also works on organizing what’s left by asking the client how they actually use the space. “And then I give them tips so that they can maintain that space when I’m gone.”
Although it’s difficult in the beginning, she says that deciding what to get rid of actually gets easier as the process goes along. “There’s no use having something in your closet or wherever that you don’t use and so many other people can use it,” she says. “And you make space in your room and in your life for what really matters.”
Although Doling doesn’t make the final decision on whether to get rid of an item or not she does help clients make that decision easier. “I always ask them, ‘When’s the last time you used it?’ And they just look at me, and then we put it in the donations.”
A good tip to help people decide if they use items like clothes frequently is to put all the clothes on hangers on the rod backward. “Then every time you wear something put it back correctly so then in six months whatever is still hanging backwards on the rod you haven’t worn.”
Doling is also a big fan of using vertical space. One tip to keep countertops clear in the kitchen is to hang a bathroom shower caddy on the side of a kitchen cabinet and use it to store produce, she says.
Organizing a space can be truly uplifting, she says. “I have a lot of clients and they just literally bloom when their space is organized,” Doling says. “Not only do they have a place to come home to, but they feel like this huge weight has been lifted because we often don’t know the costs of what we’re carrying until it’s gone.”