Another holiday season has come and gone. Hard to believe. Now it’s time to think about what you’re going to do with the extra socks, sweaters, dish towels, coffee mugs, scarves, books, Santa money clips and other items that were not on your Christmas wish list.
Chris Villa-Giroux, general manager at The Container Store at Town Square Las Vegas, said that when the house or any room feel uncomfortable with clutter and too much stuff, give him a call and he’ll help get you organized. He knows clutter is causing unnecessary stress and that your real Christmas wish is that it would all just go away.
Organizing and clutter go together so it’s helpful to find a working definition of clutter to aid in organizing. Clutter can be defined as: too much stuff in too small a space, anything that is no longer used or loved, or anything that leads to a feeling of disorganization. With those three rules as a guide, move from room to room removing everything that may fit the above definitions. But first, Villa-Giroux wants you to ask yourself a few questions.
“A person needs to determine what he or she wants as an end result,” he said. “Are you looking to organize what you have? Are you looking to toss things you don’t use anymore? What are you trying to accomplish and how will you do this in a way that it stays organized and is not just a quick fix?”
According to Villa-Giroux, closets and garages are typically the most challenging and difficult to organize as these are where most people store things they want out of sight.
“We can close a closet or garage door and make all the clutter disappear,” he said. “But that only works if you have no intention of using said space ever again. Figure out what the end goal is, come up with a game plan for everything that needs to be accomplished, and figure out who will be helping out and what their roles will be. Turn it into a family project and let everyone pitch in and make decisions on the things that stay or the things that go.
“When everyone contributes, there is more ownership in the project and everyone will want to stay organized because they played a part in cleaning it up. Have a goal and see how quickly you can hit that goal. And, if possible, make it fun.”
Begin by working from the to-do list. The hardest part is getting started, but even organizing one small closet is an accomplishment.
Villa-Giroux emphasizes that organizing does not need to become complicated. Getting started may depend on what area needs the most attention or how many people are working on the organization. As you build up small victories, the motivation becomes greater to begin tackling the harder cases of clutter in the home.
Villa-Giroux has these suggestions for the kitchen.
“The things you use most frequently should be the easiest to get to,” he said. “The things you rarely touch but want to keep should be back on a shelf or higher up in a pantry. Don’t think too heavily, or you may find yourself in a position where you can’t find the items you just organized.
“Clear, see-through containers are great for cereals and household ingredients you always have on hand like flour and sugar. This way you can quickly look in the pantry to see what you need when cooking or what you might need to pick up at the grocery store.”
At the same time, simply tossing or donating items that are broken, stained, ripped, outdated or have missing parts is paramount to the organization project. This might include broken kids’ toys, worn clothing and linens, old craft supplies, expired food, old makeup and broken jewelry, broken electronics and appliances, and all those expired coupons, restaurant menus, rubber bands and old keys that sit in the kitchen drawer.
“Whatever goals are set, make them realistic,” Villa-Giroux said. “What’s important is making sure everything has a home. Label items so everything always gets put back where it belongs.
“One smart plan is to go through your things once a year. If you haven’t used it, toss it except for things you keep for sentimental reasons. Always have an organized approach to your spaces so you don’t have to go in and do a formal deep clean every three or five years.”
Some of these habits will recur daily such as cleaning the kitchen after each meal or simply placing daily-use items (clothes, books, toys) back in their designated spaces. Developing a daily 15-minute routine brings on physical and mental freedom and ensures that the home does not slip back into the home it used to be.