When I go into a client’s home to completely overhaul and organize a closet, the average time is normally around 3-4 hours, and that is with at least two of us working, the client(s) and myself. It is quite understandable that a job like this can become very overwhelming and inevitably a major procrastination issue. How can you tackle this job in 10 minutes a day? You may not achieve perfection, and may need to spend additional time on this project one day this week where you have a little extra time, but 10 minutes a day can be quite surprisingly productive!
Set the timer for 10 minutes and attack as many drawers as you can, using the following system.
Grab 3 bags and label each one the following 3 categories:
- Donate/Give Away
- Throw out
Attack one drawer or small section in your closet at a time and toss the items into the appropriate bag. Once you have cleared out the drawer, place the keep items neatly back.
What to Keep?
I have heard all different strategies on how to decide what to keep. My system is quite simple. If I would not buy the item TODAY it does not get kept. Try to not think about how much (or how little) you paid for the item. It’s time to take the emotions out of the things around you! Also, do not keep items that no longer fit you. I clearly remember hanging onto a dream size wardrobe. What I discovered is when I hit my dream size, the clothes were not as spectacular as I had envisioned. If you are trying to fit into a certain dream size, tear out a picture of an outfit from a catalog. When you reach your goal, try the outfit on before you buy it. This is especially true if you are a woman holding onto clothes that fit you before children…5 + years ago!
What to Sell?
Prior to trying to sell your item(s), it is best to research what is the current market price. If you choose to use an online auctions site (such as eBay) it is very easy to find out the current market price by looking at what final prices similar items have successfully sold. Next you need to decide if you want to sell it or donate it. One thing to keep in mind when selling your item(s) on online auction sites is that there are no guaranties your item will sell at the price you would like it to, or will sell at all, even if similar items have sold.
What to Donate/Give Away?
If you plan on donating your items to a non-profit charity make sure you keep a good record of what was donated and have the charitable organization sign your receipt. When you donate to a non-profit organization that is accepted by the federal government as such, you can claim each item for its fair market value. A good rule of thumb to use when trying to come up with a fair market value would be 25% of the retail price. For more information, check out the IRS publication for charitable giving. http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p526.pdf
Another suggestion is to give your items to someone, perhaps a friend or family member. My only request is that you contact this person first and ask if they would like your items. You do not want to make your good intentions become their clutter.
Throw away overly used and damaged undergarments, shoes and clothing. If it is no longer of any use to you, or anyone else, it is garbage.
It’s time to evaluate what areas of your closet and drawers were the most cluttered. If it was your shoes, place a shoe shelf in the bottom of your closet, or an under the bed storage unit. Perhaps it was the shelf above the closet that was overwhelmed with stuff. Measure the area and place bins or baskets and designate each; purses, belts, etc. Before you run right out to your nearest “mart” store to get bins, baskets, etc. make sure that you don’t already have something in your home that would work just fine.
I promise you that it feels amazing to let go of those items that you don’t need, meanwhile gaining more appreciation for the things that are left. As I mentioned last week, if you find great sadness and an inability to attack the clutter yourself, contact someone for help. You owe it to your family, but more importantly yourself, to have a bedroom in which you can rest.