If you’re moving from a small town to a city like Olympia, Washington, before you start packing everything you own, you’ll make your life easier if you get organized first. Why move years worth of magazines, or mismatched Tupperware lids with you to your new home if you don’t have to? These items are going to take up crucial real estate in your moving boxes and the storage spaces of your new home. If you have a lot of stuff, you might easily become overwhelmed. While there are professional organizers who can help you declutter, we’ve outlined a few DIY tips to help you focus on the essentials, and get rid of the rest.
Before you get started on a serious home purge, doing a quick pass of each room will help you get focused. Sort the mail on your kitchen table. Fold clothes lying around the bedroom. Put away the dishes. If most items are where they belong, then you will be better prepared to see what needs to stay or go.
Get on board with Marie Kondo
If you haven’t already jumped on the organization master’s bandwagon, then now is the time. You can read her book, or watch her TV show, but the concept you need to understand is this: Working through items by category — for example: mugs, T-shirts, and socks — see if the object sparks joy, and if it does keep it. If the object doesn’t spark joy, toss it. For clothing, if an item doesn’t fit, is stained, or is out of fashion, toss it.
Start with the smallest room
If you start with books in your living room, or clothing in your wardrobe, you may get discouraged before you get deep into decluttering. Take it easy, and start small, like with a bathroom. You can celebrate the small victory of emptying a drawer of expired cold medicine, or makeup, and then move on to something more complicated, like your shoe cabinet.
Follow the “Donate, Keep, Throw Away, Later” method
The fastest way to slow down your organization and decluttering effort, is by getting stuck in the trap of asking: “Should I keep this?” For example, a T-shirt from high school. One one hand, you want to keep it because your first boyfriend gave it to you, but on the other, you haven’t worn it in 20 years, so it should be donated according to Marie Kondo. If you have a “Later” box you can quickly toss those items there and move on. Boxes for “Keep,” “Trash,” and “Donate,” will also help keep you moving and out of the “Should I keep this?” vortex.
If you don’t follow anything else, using this four box method is the fastest way to help you get the job done.