I am a very organized person. I worked out of the house and had to be. I think I was always organized and have just become better and better at it. I love it! It makes me feel so good when things are in their place and the area looks nice. (Just like in life. Everything in its place).
Here are some tips that I find helpful when I am organizing and purging:
1. Start small. If it is overwhelming, start with a small area and then move on from there.
2. Do I really need this item? Whether it's clothes or a kitchen item or whatever. If you haven't worn an item, I say for 1 year, put it into the sale pile. First, try it on. You may not like how it looks now. It may not match anything that you have. If it is stained or ripped, throw it away or use it for a rag. Don't keep too many rags unless you want to have to go through that area to get rid of too many rags. Do it right the first time and you will be done with it. If you are not sure if you want to keep an item, put it into the discard/sale pile and see if you miss it in 1 week. If not, get rid of it. Organize your closet by color and type of clothes. For example: black sweaters together, white shirts together, etc. Then you will know what you need and won't duplicate an item when you go shopping.
3. I believe in having 2 piles to start with. A garage sale pile and a throw away pile. After I have my garage sale, then I donate whatever is left. I like to make money first for my future treasure hunting and then I donate to a few thrift stores. (I like to donate to Goodwill and The Sparrows Nest mostly). If you would rather not have a garage sale, then your other pile would be to donate.
4. Make sure any electronic item works. If you are going to sell it for parts, make sure that you let the person buying it know that. Otherwise, find a location that takes electronics and have it recycled.
5. Make sure that the items to be sold or donated are clean.
6. After you have completely gone through an area, really look at it. Can you use some more shelves or unique storage boxes to hold some items? Don't leave small items just strewn around. There are always nice containers or trays to hold them. Be creative. If you have too many books, take them to Half Price Books (look online for locations. They are scheduled to open a store on Randall Road in Algonquin sometime after February) and sell them for money. Then, use those shelves to hold knick knacks that you didn't want to part with. Sometimes its hard to part with something if it has sentimental value. I know! Find a unique way to display it and rotate it periodically. You may find that it lacks that sentimental value you once attached to it and are ready to part with it. Someone else may have been looking for that item. It will find a good new home.
7. Your taste changes. When this happens, take advantage of it and purge. Update your wardrobe or room or whatever you are working on. Less clutter is less distraction. You will need to enlist the help of your family (if you have kids, get them involved). If everyone pitches in then the work is easier. I sell items on Ebay that my kids no longer want and I give them the money. If I sell their item at my garage sale, I give them the money. It is a great incentive to clean up their rooms.
8. Clean the area that is now decluttered. Don't wait to dust or vaccum. Get the room/area looking good right away so that you feel like you accomplished something. Some heavily cluttered areas may take more than 1 day to clean up. You will begin to do a little everyday and it will get easier. Here's a tip: Go through the mail the day it arrives. It only takes a few minutes. Shred the junk mail, recycle the unwanted papers/catalogs and put the magazines to be read in a spot where you usually read them. I have a magazine rack attached to my front hallway and I keep the recent issue on it. When the new issue arrives, I change it with the past issue. The past issues are donated to a Senior Center and some I put in a box to sell to Half Price Books. If I want to keep an article from it, I tear out the page and put it into a binder. I do keep some magazines and I put them into a decorative magazine holder. I periodically go through those and will recycle what is outdated or what I no longer want to keep.
9. Always look for ways to clean up/reorganize an area. Everyday. I am always looking for ways to make a space better. When I am out garage saleing, I will look for creative items for storage. It's fun. When I bring home something new, like a piece of clothing, I like to get rid of an item. It helps me to keep things neat and organized.
10. Have fun with it! It takes work, but when you see the results, you'll be motivated to start on the next area. If it is too overwhelming, you can always call an estate sale company to do the work or a professional organizer.